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Bicycle commuting in Denver, Co

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Bicycle commuting in Denver, Co

Old 01-28-11, 06:19 PM
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Top Gunner
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Bicycle commuting in Denver, Co

I was wondering if anyone has anything to say about bicycle commuting in Denver. I'm thinking of moving there, and though I've heard loads about how it's a great place for recreational cycling, I haven't heard as much about specifically commuting throughout the city. How effective are the bike paths? Are there plenty of bike lanes? Is the public transportation (bus, light rail) helpful? Basically, how bike-able a city is Denver?

I know this is a relative question, depending on how long and far one wants to bike, but any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-11, 10:38 PM
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I live in a suburb and ride to downtown Denver for kicks. You're going to love it here. There's a great path system and plenty of cycling lanes throughout. The traffic on the whole actually respects cyclists. I don't commute to Denver myself, but on weekends I ride paths down to the 16th street mall hangout for awhile and ride back. Denver is just plain a great cycling city. Once you get here you may not want to leave.
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Old 01-28-11, 10:55 PM
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Where in Denver will you be living and working? It's a big city, so a lot of that depends. I live on the southeast side of Denver in Aurora and commute about 10 miles north of me, I've found some nice routes in which I can avoid traffic if I want to. Whenever I go downtown I always see tons of cyclists, mostly hipster kids on fixed gear bikes (maybe UC Denver students?) but there are bike lanes and trails throughout the metro area.

I was going to say things aren't in nice in winter as some places but coming from Maine I think you will find winters mild. Today I commuted to and from work and it hit 66 degrees this afternoon! I did read an article that Denver is the big city in the US with the most snow but it generally melts fast as we have lots of nice days.
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Old 01-28-11, 11:12 PM
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Denver area maps: http://bicyclecolo.org/articles/colo...line-pg626.htm

I commuted a 15 mile round trip for years before I began working from home.
In general, winter snow storms begin mid-afternoon and riding home at 5pm in 4" of fresh snow is rather fun.
(Assuming mtn tires).

Then the next morning you need to deal with all the frozen footsteps in the paths, and frozen crap thrown to the side of the road by the plows, which is not so fun.
By noon the snow will usually be gone.

Note this is the *general* case.
A couple weeks ago we had sustained temps low enough to keep my street snowpacked for a week.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:05 PM
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Thanks everyone, for your input. I'm not sure where, or if I'll be moving quite yet. Sounds like Denver is a good spot. I haven't yet spoken to anyone who didn't love it. Knowing I'll be able to get around by bike makes me want to go even more.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Top Gunner View Post
Thanks everyone, for your input. I'm not sure where, or if I'll be moving quite yet. Sounds like Denver is a good spot. I haven't yet spoken to anyone who didn't love it. Knowing I'll be able to get around by bike makes me want to go even more.
Denver is great, I love it. But let's be honest. It won't compete with California or Florida for year-round riding. Take today and tomorrow, for instance. Freezing fog this morning created a layer of ice, snow the rest of the day, and a HIGH tomorrow of -2 degrees (Fahrenheit, not Celsius). It does get hot in summer too, but it's dry and cool in the shade so summers are not bad.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:15 PM
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It's all about location, location, location! I lived in the Park Hill area of Denver (fairfax & colfax). Nice streetcar-grid neighborhoods, good bus service, and a great place to bike. However, many of the outer areas of the city suck eggs.
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Old 01-31-11, 09:03 PM
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Denver is great. Colorado is great. Just make it after this week.

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Old 01-31-11, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
I was going to say things aren't in nice in winter as some places but coming from Maine I think you will find winters mild. Today I commuted to and from work and it hit 66 degrees this afternoon! I did read an article that Denver is the big city in the US with the most snow but it generally melts fast as we have lots of nice days.
And tomorrow we are looking at a high of 5.

They are getting more bicycle friendly every month. They've added a bunch of new bicycle lanes in LoDo recently, with plans(I hear) to add more.
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Old 01-31-11, 09:47 PM
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Where in Denver you moving to? City and County of Denver is fine. Suburbs are hit and miss.
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Old 01-31-11, 11:54 PM
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I live in one of the western suburbs and commute into Denver. It's about 8 miles one-way. Generally speaking, it's great. I almost never have issues with cars and there's lots of options for bike lanes/routes/paths. They're even pretty good about plowing the bike paths!

The only issue I have is that they don't really do any snowplowing on a lot of streets. I usually end up having about a half-dozen days a winter that I drive instead of riding on ice/slick snow.
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Old 02-01-11, 05:06 PM
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Not sure where I'd be moving specifically. I'm no stranger to the snow/cold. I've heard time and again that the temps in Denver fluctuate so much that the snow melts relatively quickly. In Maine, we've barely been above freezing for 2 months. The snow just sits there, with a constant, slow melt, keeping the roads full of water/ice/salt.

I lived in Florida for 6 years, so I'm familiar with year-round cycling weather. It's definitely fun, but eventually I found the flatness of it boring. I came to Maine for the outdoor diversity that I was missing in Florida. I'll take 7-9 months of good cycling through the hills of Maine vs. year round cycling in Florida anytime. I'd love to bike in California one day though.

I hear Denver is a pretty flat city, so it's easy to get around, but the surrounding area (obviously) has pretty varied terrain, making for great rides. Not to digress from a bicycle commuting discussion, but with the comments about the surrounding area, any suggestions on neighborhoods to avoid?

Thanks again everyone for the info!
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Old 02-01-11, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RTDub View Post
Denver is great. Colorado is great. Just make it after this week.
What he means is that it is blistering cold and snows all the time (even in July). Colorado is a horrible place to live. At least that is what we tell the Texans.

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Old 02-01-11, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by paul2432 View Post
What he means is that it is blistering cold and snows all the time (even in July). Colorado is a horrible place to live. At least that is what we tell the Texans.

Paul
We don't have to tell that to the Texans, they have so much pride in Texas they call it God's country. Personally I think they must be delusional, maybe there is something in the water that induces insanity. Why anyone chooses to live in Texas when they have a choice is beyond me.

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Old 02-01-11, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Top Gunner View Post
Not to digress from a bicycle commuting discussion, but with the comments about the surrounding area, any suggestions on neighborhoods to avoid?
North Aurora. I live in the south end of Aurora, which is fine.
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Old 02-02-11, 01:42 PM
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Pueblo isn't anything like Denver as far as bike paths, bike commuter concentration, or traffic, but this may give you some idea about weather, elevation and such. Hundreds of commuting related posts specifically about Pueblo, Colorado.
http://www.alternativecommutepueblo.com/
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Old 02-02-11, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
We don't have to tell that to the Texans, they have so much pride in Texas they call it God's country. Personally I think they must be delusional, maybe there is something in the water that induces insanity. Why anyone chooses to live in Texas when they have a choice is beyond me.
Then why is southern Colorado infested with the buggers? They may think that Texas is God's country but they think Colorado is heaven

We even have the perfect state bird, the lark bunting...winters in Texas and summers in southern Colorado!

Top Gunner: Denver...even most of the suburbs...is an excellent place for commuting. Unless you get way out into the suburbs, where the developers let cows decide on the street structure, the Metro area is a grid system. You can almost always find some alternative route that parallels the major streets. Add in a vast network of bike paths and you can travel just about anywhere without having to deal with too much traffic.

Our winters, and summers, are relatively mild. I commute an average of 123 days per year (high 180, low 71) and seldom do I have to deal with bad weather. The hottest I've ever ridden in is 103F (~15% humidity) and the coldest I've ever ridden is ~13F (also 15% humidity). Snow and cold don't linger long...although the temperature swings take some getting used to. The high last Saturday (1/29) was 68F and yesterday (2/1) was -2F

To give you some indication of how mild our winter and fall can be, I rode 71 days our of 85 workdays from 9/1/10 to 12/31/10. None of those were particularly cold or snowy. I think we had two dustings of snow over that entire 4 month period.
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Old 02-02-11, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Our winters, and summers, are relatively mild. I commute an average of 123 days per year (high 180, low 71) and seldom do I have to deal with bad weather.
This. This week is an aberration, for sure.
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Old 02-02-11, 06:04 PM
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I live about 70 miles north of Denver, and have ridden with groups all up and down the front range (a 200-mile strip of towns that run north and south of Denver at the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the prairie).

Just about anywhere BUT downtown downtown Denver is great for commuting. Like any city, there are places to avoid riding on your bike, but bicycling is really big in this area. I've never ridden anywhere else that was this safe for commuters.

Smaller cities like Colorado Springs, Boulder, Longmont, and Fort Collins have bike lanes everywhere. University towns are also more bike friendly. The University of Colorado is in Boulder, Colorado State University is in Fort Collins, Denver University area is nice, the Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs. Lots of race teams are centered in this area as well.
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Old 02-02-11, 06:07 PM
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I am also compelled to add that there is not one place in our fair state that I do not like. I rode from Colorado Springs through Pueblo and out east through the entire southeastern part of the state that everyone thinks is just boring dry plains. Lamar, La Junta, Kim, Springfield, Kit Carson and so on. Small town America, nice paved highway and frontage roads, friendly folks. People look down their nose at Pueblo, but it is not at all that bad, and that goes for the entire southern half of the state.
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Old 02-03-11, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinyon View Post
I live about 70 miles north of Denver, and have ridden with groups all up and down the front range (a 200-mile strip of towns that run north and south of Denver at the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the prairie).

Just about anywhere BUT downtown downtown Denver is great for commuting. Like any city, there are places to avoid riding on your bike, but bicycling is really big in this area. I've never ridden anywhere else that was this safe for commuters.

Smaller cities like Colorado Springs, Boulder, Longmont, and Fort Collins have bike lanes everywhere. University towns are also more bike friendly. The University of Colorado is in Boulder, Colorado State University is in Fort Collins, Denver University area is nice, the Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs. Lots of race teams are centered in this area as well.
You just don't like Denver because you are from Branson...where if anyone is standing within 3 feet of you, it's crowded

Downtown Denver isn't all that bad. Even within the core city where all the streets are goofy, it's easy to ride. Down there you just ride like you own the road, i.e. in the middle of the lane, because you are probably traveling at the same speed as all the cars around you. And you don't even have to venture into that part of Downtown all that often. You can easily bypass it on Cherry Creek, the Platte and on-street routes.
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Old 02-03-11, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RTDub View Post
I am also compelled to add that there is not one place in our fair state that I do not like. I rode from Colorado Springs through Pueblo and out east through the entire southeastern part of the state that everyone thinks is just boring dry plains. Lamar, La Junta, Kim, Springfield, Kit Carson and so on. Small town America, nice paved highway and frontage roads, friendly folks. People look down their nose at Pueblo, but it is not at all that bad, and that goes for the entire southern half of the state.
Pueblo's okay. I'd just stock up on water if you are headed east of there. Ick!* And it's a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there...unless you like busy body neighbors and relatives**.

*I'm from out there. Can't stand the water. Worst on the planet!

**I'm from out there and I have too many relatives.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:00 AM
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Denver is wonderful for commuting. Many suburbs are decent as well.
Heck, I live in Thornton and it is notoriously difficult for commuters. Never stops me from riding my bike wherever and whenever I want. I have a few friends that commute from my city as well.
I expect if one is stubborn enough commuting is possible anywhere you live around here.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by RTDub View Post
People look down their nose at Pueblo, but it is not at all that bad, and that goes for the entire southern half of the state.
It really is a hidden gem. Sure, people are ultra conservative and not many ride bicycles, but that just makes things less crowded for those of us that do ride! Great weather, very wide historic streets, more and more bike lanes are popping up, and in general low car traffic.



www.alternativecommutepueblo.com
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Old 02-03-11, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Pueblo's okay. I'd just stock up on water if you are headed east of there. Ick!* And it's a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there...unless you like busy body neighbors and relatives**.

*I'm from out there. Can't stand the water. Worst on the planet!

**I'm from out there and I have too many relatives.
We are spoiled in Colorado Springs. Best water I've ever tasted. I have made almost 40 road trips to Dallas through this part of the state (by car, one by bike), and the water is fine. Ironically, the Dallas Metro area has the worst water I have tasted, and it ain't rural. Bottled water is stocked en masse in all Targets and grocery stores down there.
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