Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mile High Base Miles

Bridget and I had a wonderful time visiting with her Brothers and Sisters in Denver. Everyone has a baby now and it is so cool to see these little people forming their personalities. Bridget and I got a few rides in between awkward neck-craddling and card games with funny five-year-olds. The weather was perfect, the mid to upper-sixties and pretty sunny.

Actually the whole fam drove up to Fort Collins one day to visit a few breweries. We visited Coopersmith and New Belgium — a brewer who loves cycling so much they not only have a bike as their logo but named a beer Fat Tire Ale. Man, there were fixies everywhere. What I appreciate about fixie culture is the attention to detail with part selection on the bike. I really dig the old Peugeot and Bianchi track bikes. It was interesting to see bull horns versus mustache bars versus drops.

After the brewery we went to an awesome coffee shop to wait out the rush hour traffic. It was called The Bean Cycle and I could tell immediately that it was my kind of place. There was a sweet wooden frame and wheel bike from the 1890s hanging on the wall. There was a lot of very excited fixie kids milling about — seeming to get ready for some kind of group ride/bar hop. It turns out they were celebrating the publication of their Boneshaker Bicycling Almanac, a very cool little cycling journal. I bought a copy and it has kept me company on many sad and long nights since, the rain tapping at my bedroom windows while Bridget practices symmetric dancing to corporate jazz. There were also some eye-catching posters at the coffee shop that educated (in a fun exagerated manner) the public about bicycling safety.

The next day was also about 58 degrees. I prepared my sister and brother-in-laws' mountain bikes and we met up with my other brother-in-law Darin for a sweet ride. Denver has many bike paths running through it, some of these converted canal tow paths that wind through the suburbs. I believe we took the Cherry Creek north path — it became crowded as we approached downtown. Since this was Denver's first nice day in awhile riders were out and the trail was insane.

I was really put off by the amount of "race facing" and lack of safe etiquette. I am trying to teach myself to be a professional on the bike, respecting others' safety and acknowledging the right for the entire public to ride a bike path. However we were constantly dealing with riders passing us or riding our wheel without alerting us. And then snubbing us. People on mountain bikes with low saddles and cadences of 110 rpm — acting like a we were a pack of grandmas in Cadillacs with the tail lights signaling a left turn to be taken in the distant future.

Once Downtown there is a lovely canal with little locks. Very scenic. This canal eventually flows into a river — and at delta there is a REI with a Starbucks. I know it kills a good long ride but sometimes it's fun to take coffee break mid-ride. Darin, Bridget and I had a nice coffee and pastry refuel and headed home. At the end of the path we encountered a rider who obviously raced for a local shop. Denver's reputation was saved as we exchanged pleasantries and no one was trying to prove anything — just a few people getting in a good ride between races.

Over the next couple days Bridget and I had a couple of great rides together. One explored the High Line Canal Path for four hours where we took a small break in Cherry Creek at a hip little coffee shop. Our last ride was a fun jaunt down to the Cherry Creek reservoir south of the City. It was lovely to get out there and see the city under the orange sun as white capped mountains filled the horizon. It was also cute to see little prairie dogs along the way.

Sorry for the novel but the trip was such a great break! Thank you fam! Always incredible hosts. Much love!

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