Colorado: The Best Place in the Nation to Ride a Bike

Cyclists from across the United States and abroad widely recognize Colorado as a premier cycling destination, because of its natural beauty, variety of terrain, notable bike rides and races and soaring elevation. From world-class bike races like the Colorado Classic and the Breck Epic to a cruiser ride along the Fruit & Wine Byway in Palisade or mountain biking the downhill trails at Winter Park (“Mountain Bike Capital, USA”), Colorado offers a variety of cycling offerings for all types of riders. For more information on cycling in Colorado, please visit http://www.colorado.com/articles/6-ways-colorado-biking-best.

What’s NEW for Cycling in Colorado:

At Your Pace Cycling Tours in Loveland. Tap into Colorado’s epic cycling opportunities and taste the flavor of local craft brews on the new Loveland Bike & Brews Guided Day Tour with At Your Pace Cycling. This 3.5 hour long tour will give participants a taste of some of Loveland’s finest craft breweries and cycling offerings.

Boulder Bike Tours’ New Organic Farm Tours. Riders will learn about organic farming and take in sweeping views of the Front Range on the new, weekly Thursday and Sunday Organic Farm Tours. Thursday’s ‘Sunset Tour’ includes a wood-fired pizza dinner featuring veggies picked that day. The Sunday ‘Brunch Tour’ features a four-course farm brunch. These scenic bike rides wind along easy trails, paths and country roads while riders learn about organic farming and lifestyle from local growers.

The Colorado Classic (August 10 – 13). Pro-bicycle racing returns to Colorado with the 2017 Colorado Classic, a four-stage race sanctioned by UCI that will have some of the best men and women’s teams and racers in the world competing. The race begins in Colorado Springs, and heads through Breckenridge before finishing the final two stages in Denver. Denver will host a new companion music, food and crafts festival dubbed “Velorama” to include headliner music, cycling events, craft beer, local food, and a unique marketplace.

Colorado Trail Explorer. As part of his Colorado the Beautiful initiative to get Coloradans outdoors, Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper hatched the idea for a comprehensive online statewide trail map of hiking, biking and motorized trails. The Colorado Trail Explorer launched June 3 and includes more than 39,000 miles of trails managed by more than 225 jurisdictions across the state.

Gunnison County’s TrailQuest Bike Challenge. Gunnison County has designed a new app to track mountain bikers’ unique explored trails and enter users into the ultimate trail biking competition. The CBG Trails App by GoMaps, available for free in iTunes and Google Play, will now track and record rides in the competition: TrailQuest. Each new mile of trail ridden will add up in a race to 75. Prizes will be awarded to those who place on the leader board, though the best prize is trying new trails–exploration.

Outerbike Comes to Crested Butte Mountain Resort (August 18 – 20). “The BEST bike demo in the universe” comes to Crested Butte this August. Featuring some of the most popular brands in mountain biking, including Specialized, Scott and Yeti among many more. Outerbike will offer participants the opportunity to demo as many bikes as the time, and their legs, will allow. This is the first time Outerbike will take advantage of Crested Butte’s world-class mountain biking and gorgeous summer weather.

14erfest in Buena Vista (September 29 – October 1). 14erfest is a new, free, three-day mountain festival happening in Buena Vista this September. The event encompasses a range of trail activities including, but not limited to mountain biking. There will be demos, clinics, bike polo and group rides. In the evening, participants will enjoy live music and libations from Colorado craft breweries and distilleries.

Colorado’s Variety of Bike Experiences:

Bike-friendly Fort Collins. Cycling opportunities prevail in and around Fort Collins, and getting to know the area atop two wheels offers a bounty of benefits. Road cyclists will appreciate the 285+ miles of relatively flat, wide bike lanes, trails and paths, including three main bike trails offering 19 miles of paved surface: the Poudre trail that follows the Cache La Poudre River; Spring Creek trail following the creek; and Fossil Creek trail covering miles of open prairie.

Blue River Trail in Silverthorne. The Blue River Trail is Silverthorne’s link to the county-wide paved trail system. The 3.5-mile, hard surface paved trail begins at the top of the Dillon Dam and ends at North Pond Park. The Blue River Trail offers a meandering, family-friendly paved trail with spectacular views.

High-Desert Biking in Eagle. Eagle is a high-desert town, which means an extended biking season and trails that are open into mid-December. Over 100 miles of single-track mountain biking trails and paved recreational trails are accessible. Riders can start on beginner trails like Haymaker and Eagle Ranch Loop and then advance to the technical Mike’s Night Out. Eagle Ranch Loop is great for families and various skill levels.

Maroon Creek Road in Aspen. Few bike rides in the world can match the drama of this eight-mile road ride. Riders will round a bend and suddenly view the iconic Maroon Bells, two 14,000-foot peaks striped with snow year-round. The trek takes riders 22 miles round-trip through a moderately difficult ride with unparalleled views.

Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville. Biking is a favorite sport on Leadville’s famous Mineral Belt Trail, where riders can see the tops of the towering Sawatch Range and remnants of 1880s silver mines, all on a paved, 11.6-mile loop around town. Portions of the trail follow old railroad grades, making for a pleasant ride around North America’s highest incorporated city, set at 10,152 feet. The trail winds through Leadville’s historic East Side Mining District.

Monarch Crest Trail in Salida. Thanks to the diverse ecosystem in Salida, there’s always great singletrack to be ridden in the middle of winter or during the heat of summer. The Monarch Crest Trail should be included on the Colorado mountain bike bucket list. From the Monarch Crest trailhead at Monarch Pass, riders will encounter singletrack, doubletrack, fire road, smooth and packed trails, rocky and loose trails and great views of nature and wildlife.

Trailheads in Niwot. The town of Niwot in Boulder County is known throughout the cycling community as one of the best spots to begin or end a ride. Home to mammals, birds and amphibians, these trails are perfect for nature-lovers. The 6.4-mile Niwot trail system is composed of easy trails and provides breathtaking mountain views and shady cottonwood-lined paths along irrigation canals.

Winter Park, Aka “Mountain Bike Capital, USA”. With over 600 miles of cross-country trails and two downhill bike parks, Mountain Bike Capital USA™ has it all: mellow rides, heart-thumping singletrack adventures and gravity-fed adrenaline. Winter Park plays host to numerous bike races and events all summer long. For the novice, seasoned cross-country biker, downhill racer or the want-to-learn-more-skills casual biker, there are a variety of events and trails to choose from.

Fruit & Wine Byway in Palisade. Choose from three different loops from five to 25-miles-long through mapped points of interest for those who want to stop and experience the agriculture and industry of the area. Explore historic downtown Palisade, tour along the scenic Colorado River and enjoy some of the best vistas of the Grand Valley, all while savoring fresh fruit from the beautiful orchards, or enjoying the lavender gardens, world class vineyards, premium wineries and fresh farm market fruit stands along the way.

7-Eleven Olympic Velodrome in Colorado Springs. Built in 1983 in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games, the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center Velodrome is the official training venue for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic track cycling and USA Roller Sports. The Velodrome features a 333.3-meter banked cement cycling track, which wraps around a 200-meter track for roller sports. The 1,000-seat facility is open to the public for community racing, and hosts local, national and international events throughout the year.

Upcoming Bike Races and Organized Rides:

The Breck Epic (August 13 – 18). Now in its ninth year, the six-day Breck Epic is North America’s premier mountain bike stage race, and is widely considered to be one of the best races in the world. It is distinctly Colorado and traverses the width and breadth of Summit County. This rapidly growing event attracts pro and amateurs alike to race approximately 40 miles each day for three or six consecutive days.

Moots Biking Opportunity in Steamboat (September 3 – 9). The Home Ranch has partnered with Moots Cycles in Steamboat to offer a unique experience at the Home Ranch. Home Ranch guests will have the opportunity to meet Moots team members, test ride their bikes and tour the Steamboat factory where the handcrafted bikes are manufactured. The visit also includes biking North Routt County on Moots recommended tours and on Moots demo bikes, one complimentary massage and scheduled rides throughout the week with a guide.

Salida Bike Fest (September 14 – 17). The town of Salida will be celebrating all things bikes at the 6th annual Salida Bike Fest. This four day festival will feature everything from free group rides, bike films, a chainless race, a bike parade, the Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race and more.

Pedal the Plains (September 15 – 17). Pedal the Plains is an annual cycling event that celebrates the agricultural roots and frontier heritage of the Eastern Plains of Colorado. The ride creates an opportunity for cyclists to learn about farming and ranching, while experiencing first-hand the culture, history and landscape of Colorado’s high plains. This year, Pedal the Plains brings riders on a tour through Weld and Morgan County, highlighting the towns of Kersey, Keenesbury and Brush– communities that still embody a raw pioneer spirit and a dedication to the land.

Bikes & Brews (September 23). The 5th annual Bikes & Brews festival in Cañon City offers three separate scenic bike races: The Royal Gorge Century (Total ascent 7,900 feet), Metric Mash (Total Ascent 5,300 feet) and the Red Canyon 50k (total ascent 2,400 feet). All races promise beautiful canyon views, and the Royal Gorge Bridge is open and will be a part of the Century and Metric Century Routes—a unique experience as the south entrance is usually closed to general traffic. The Metric Mash will also allow riders to cross the world famous, suspension Royal Gorge Bridge.

Tour of the Moon Grand Cycling Classic (September 30). This ride was made famous by the 1980s Coors Classic, and later in the cycling movie American Flyers. Today, it continues to be considered one of the premier recreational road rides in the western United States. Starting and ending in Grand Junction, this 61.5-mile road ride circles the Colorado National Monument and the town of Fruita, with riders climbing just over 2,873 feet and experiencing a maximum elevation of 6,725 feet.

The above article is courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office

About the Author

Ellen Gray
Ellen is the Editor and Publisher of Colorado Hotel Magazine and Denver Hotel Magazine.