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  1. #1
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    Commuting Denver to Boulder: route critique?

    I just got an amazing job on the CU Boulder campus and I'm thinking I might like to commute from my apartment in Denver a few times a week (up to 5 times). I asked Google Maps for a route and then modified it to suit my preference for roads over paths. Here's the route: http://goo.gl/maps/TMl2W

    What do you guys think? I'm not familiar with the trail options on the NW side of Denver-metro, nor in Boulder, so I'm kind of groping around on this one. I'd rather take a direct route with timed lights I can keep up with (e.g., 13th/14th ave through Cap Hill) than a designated bike route with stop signs every two blocks or a path with pedestrians and posted 15mph speed limits. I'd also rather take a lane on a multi-lane road than get honked at on a single-lane road because I refuse to ride in the door zone and I'm only doing 20mph (e.g., 12th ave through Cap Hill). Basically I'm an assertive cyclist capable of sustaining a decent pace and unafraid of riding on arterials.

    Particular areas of concern to me are getting through Westminster/Broomfield (I'd prefer a simpler route than the one currently shown. Longer is okay so long as it's faster); and from Broomfield to Boulder. I'm aware it's legal to ride on US 36 for some of that, and I wonder what that's like. I'm also aware the current construction might make that unreasonable, but thoughts are appreciated.

    Finally, Google Maps is claiming 3+ hours. That seems ridiculous to me. I'd expect to be able to do 32 miles in 2 hours, tops. Am I missing something? I typically average 18+ moving speed over that sort of distance, so I don't think my estimate is unreasonable.

    I did a search here and turned up a few routes, but the posts all seemed to be 5+ years old, so I figure it's time for a new thread. I probably missed the definitive post (for surely this topic's been beaten into the ground). A gentle pointer to that post would be appreciated.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. #2
    mje
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    I'm impressed that you have the time to spare 4 hours a day commuting, and that you'd choose to spend that time riding in traffic. I'd prefer to take my bike on the bus to Boulder and ride outside of Boulder before or after work.

    Sorry, I'm unfamiliar with your route, so I can't offer any feedback regarding your actual request.
    Last edited by mje; 08-27-13 at 12:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    I am in Broomfield.
    Right now the Hwy 36 construction project is in full swing.
    I am avoiding driving 36 in my *car*, let alone on a bike.
    It is a gawdawful mess.
    Once this mess is over, there is supposed to be a bike lane on the revamped Hwy 36.

    I need to head out for an appointment right now, but I'll check later for the links to the Hwy 36 plans.


    Here is a description of what will be, once the construction is completed: http://fierce-summer-1730.herokuapp.com/#bike

    Useful site for Hwy 36 bike commuting: http://36commutingsolutions.org/comm...ions/bikewalk/
    Last edited by Shimagnolo; 08-27-13 at 03:25 PM.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by immunizer View Post
    I just got an amazing job on the CU Boulder campus and I'm thinking I might like to commute from my apartment in Denver a few times a week (up to 5 times). I asked Google Maps for a route and then modified it to suit my preference for roads over paths. Here's the route: http://goo.gl/maps/TMl2W

    What do you guys think? I'm not familiar with the trail options on the NW side of Denver-metro, nor in Boulder, so I'm kind of groping around on this one. I'd rather take a direct route with timed lights I can keep up with (e.g., 13th/14th ave through Cap Hill) than a designated bike route with stop signs every two blocks or a path with pedestrians and posted 15mph speed limits. I'd also rather take a lane on a multi-lane road than get honked at on a single-lane road because I refuse to ride in the door zone and I'm only doing 20mph (e.g., 12th ave through Cap Hill). Basically I'm an assertive cyclist capable of sustaining a decent pace and unafraid of riding on arterials.

    Particular areas of concern to me are getting through Westminster/Broomfield (I'd prefer a simpler route than the one currently shown. Longer is okay so long as it's faster); and from Broomfield to Boulder. I'm aware it's legal to ride on US 36 for some of that, and I wonder what that's like. I'm also aware the current construction might make that unreasonable, but thoughts are appreciated.

    Finally, Google Maps is claiming 3+ hours. That seems ridiculous to me. I'd expect to be able to do 32 miles in 2 hours, tops. Am I missing something? I typically average 18+ moving speed over that sort of distance, so I don't think my estimate is unreasonable.

    I did a search here and turned up a few routes, but the posts all seemed to be 5+ years old, so I figure it's time for a new thread. I probably missed the definitive post (for surely this topic's been beaten into the ground). A gentle pointer to that post would be appreciated.

    Thank you for your thoughts!
    Try this route instead. You currently can't get across I-70 at Pecos because the bridge is being constructed. Dry Creek Trail from 64th (just west of Pecos) isn't the most pleasant ride either. The trail tends to collect a lot of glass. Wadworth is okay to ride on north of 92nd with a wide shoulder all the way to the US36. You used to be able to sneak under US36 at Interlocken to Midway but I don't know if that tunnel still exists.

    If you want a better, less bikepathy way of riding around Interlocken, you could go west on 120th to McCaslin and ride down the Wall into Superior. If you go that way, go further west just before you cross US36 on Marshal Drive down to Cherryvale. Cherryvale is one of the best rides around for going into Boulder. Pretty road, mostly quiet and fast. This would be preferable to wandering through Louisville.
    Stuart Black
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    If you want a better, less bikepathy way of riding around Interlocken, you could go west on 120th to McCaslin and ride down the Wall into Superior. If you go that way, go further west just before you cross US36 on Marshal Drive down to Cherryvale. Cherryvale is one of the best rides around for going into Boulder. Pretty road, mostly quiet and fast. This would be preferable to wandering through Louisville.
    +1 on Cherryvale!
    I've even thought it would be cool to buy one of the houses in that little addition on the East side of Cherryvale, just South of 36.

    I ride through this area a lot. Just to show some other options, here is a modified version cyccommute's link: http://goo.gl/maps/eU0HK
    This link does half of the Morgul Bismark loop in the reverse direction, skirting the Southern and Western edges of Old Superior, then dumps you onto the Broadway bike path which parallels Broadway/S Foothills Hwy/93.

    Now the Broadway path is kind of confusing at first because part of the path is on the East side of Broadway, part on the West side, (connected with MUP tunnels), and part of it uses a side street that parallels Broadway. Once you get it figured out, you can take the path as far North as Arapahoe where it ends.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    +1 on Cherryvale!
    I've even thought it would be cool to buy one of the houses in that little addition on the East side of Cherryvale, just South of 36.

    I ride through this area a lot. Just to show some other options, here is a modified version cyccommute's link: http://goo.gl/maps/eU0HK
    This link does half of the Morgul Bismark loop in the reverse direction, skirting the Southern and Western edges of Old Superior, then dumps you onto the Broadway bike path which parallels Broadway/S Foothills Hwy/93.

    Now the Broadway path is kind of confusing at first because part of the path is on the East side of Broadway, part on the West side, (connected with MUP tunnels), and part of it uses a side street that parallels Broadway. Once you get it figured out, you can take the path as far North as Arapahoe where it ends.
    In the Metro area, there are 4 roads that I consider to be the prettiest country lane rides around. Cherryvale is one, Valmont is another, Riverdale is a third and Easley in Golden is the fourth. They are all beautiful rides along tree lined curvy roads and most of them are quiet. (Riverdale has some more traffic than it used to.)
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
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    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    I'm impressed that you have the time to spare 4 hours a day commuting, and that you'd choose to spend that time riding in traffic. I'd prefer to take my bike on the bus to Boulder and ride outside of Boulder before or after work.
    The bus may take me 3 hours a day. I'm not necessarily going to ride every single day, but if adding an hour to my commute adds 70 miles to my weekly riding, it will be worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Try this route instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    I ride through this area a lot. Just to show some other options, here is a modified version cyccommute's link: http://goo.gl/maps/eU0HK
    Thank you both for your suggestions. I don't start until the 16th, and it will probably be a while before I actually try the commute, but it's nice to know that good options exist. I'll try to reply again once I've commuted along these routes.

  8. #8
    Fixed Kitty wipekitty's Avatar
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    I'm a bit late to the party here, but this is a route I used to do: http://www.mapmyride.com/us/denver-c...route-10484466

    The main benefit of this route, in my opinion, is that it avoids Wadsworth: others may have different experiences, but I always hated riding on Wadsworth. Once you get to the other side of 36, there are a lot of ways you can go - I liked going up to the airport (it looks really pretty when there's snow in the mountains), and I found Marshall Road to be an enjoyable ride into Boulder, where you can link up with the bike path that goes straight to campus.

    I did this ride several times a week for maybe a year and a half (around 2008-2010), and did not die once. On those days with bad traffic on 36, you can probably beat the BX with this route (and, y'know, not have to sit on the BX for two hours.) Good luck, and let us know which route you like best!

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