DENVER –With more gold and platinum-rated bicycle communities than any other state and exciting cycling events for amateurs to pros, Colorado is the place to visit for fun on two wheels. The 2015 USA Pro Challenge (August 17-23) and the inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge (August 21-23) will welcome spectators to witness the world’s best professional road cyclists and iconic cycling routes through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and Front Range. For different cycling scenery and a group ride atmosphere, the 2015 Pedal The Plains Bicycle Tour returns to the plains of Northeastern Colorado September 18-20.
It is guaranteed the USA Pro Challenge will get spectators amped to do a bit of cycling themselves and participants in Pedal the Plains are sure to leave wanting more rides and views from Colorado’s plains. Below is a sampling of mountain, road and cruiser bike rides to be experienced in the host destinations of these two major cycling events. For more information on cycling in Colorado, visit http://www.colorado.com/
USA Pro Challenge Host Destination Rides:
Arapahoe Basin—The Argentine-North Fork and Lenawee trails allow mountain bikers to go up and over Arapahoe Basin into stunning views of wildflower fields. Road bikers can enjoy the 20-mile loop around Lake Dillon with rolling hills and a climb up Swan Mountain. For a scenic cruiser ride, the Summit County Recreational Pathway System (Rec Path) connects towns and resorts throughout Summit County.
Aspen—Top-rated mountain bike trails on Snowmass Mountain include the Cross Mountain Trail (intermediate), Wilderness Way (intermediate) and Banzai (expert only). The road to Maroon Bells offers road bikers some of the best scenery Aspen has to offer. Although Aspen prides itself on its hardcore mountain and road bike rides, it is also a great place to take a cruiser bike ride. The Rio Grande Trail is a gently sloping, mostly paved surface that runs 40 miles from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.
Breckenridge—Mountain bikers can take advantage of a sprawling trail network of more than 50 miles found right in Breck’s backyard. Road bikers can check out the paved Blue River Recreation Path that follows the Blue River through town limits. Cruiser bikers can join the community for Breckenridge Cruisers every Thursday night in June, July and August for a themed bike crawl.
Copper Mountain—This ski resort offers riders an unlimited amount of bike hauls up the American Eagle chairlift for $15 per day. A wide range of beautiful high-country mountain trail rides lead cyclists of all skill levels through forest of pines and meadows. Road and cruiser cyclists can enjoy an exhilarating downhill descent when traveling from Copper to Frisco on the Rec Path or for those wanting more of a challenge, they can ride uphill in the opposite direction.
Denver—The Mile High City boasts more than 850 miles of paved off-road trails. Road bikers can’t miss the Cherry Creek Bike Path that begins where Denver was first founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. The path runs along the creek for more than 40 miles to Franktown. Cruisers can look forward to summer nights eachWednesday when Denver Cruiser Ride brings the party to downtown Denver with weekly wacky themes.
Fort Collins—With more than 280 miles of bike lanes and trails, Fort Collins caters to every kind of cyclist. Climb up into the foothills via various road rides that travel along Horsetooth Reservoir. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space offers several rides for mountain bikers who are looking for varied terrain and challenges. For paved winding trails that the whole family can enjoy, the Poudre River Trail and Spring Creek Trail both travel along river fronts.
Golden—Situated in between the plains and mountains, Golden provides a great combination of flatlands, gentle slopes and challenging mountain roads. The ultimate challenge for road bikers presents itself at Lookout Mountain. Tony Grampsas Park features the first purpose-built, mountain bike-only trails in Golden. Cruisers can look forward to the last Tuesday of the month until October when the city gets together for a family-friendly bike ride that takes riders through the town.
Loveland—Devil’s Backbone, one of Loveland’s favorite mountain biking trails, is abundant with natural features such as grasslands carpeted with wildflowers that make this a beautiful and adventurous ride. Road cyclists can experience scenic views like Boyd Lake when they travel from Loveland to Drake and Estes Park through Big Thompson Canyon along US 34. For even more scenic landscapes that everyone can enjoy, cyclists can head to the South Shore or North Lake Park along Lake Loveland for a casual cruiser ride.
Steamboat Springs—Set against the western ridge of the Continental Divide this city has all three biking styles covered. Emerald Mountain hovers over downtown and is a local favorite for cross-country mountain bikers. For those looking for downhill thrills Steamboat Bike Park offers 2,200 vertical feet of descending flow trails. The Yampa Valley area provides spectacular scenery for those who are more inclined to road bike. The Yampa River Core Trail allows cruisers to travel alongside the Yampa River across town.
Pedal the Plains Host Destination Rides:
Holyoke—Traveling to Holyoke on Highway 6 or 385 allows riders to see the role that agriculture plays on this small town located 13 miles east of the Colorado/Nebraska border. Riders can expect to see rows of wheat, corn, sugar beets, millet and other fields that line the horizon. Cyclists will also see livestock on their ride across this area.
Julesburg—This gateway to Colorado is a rider’s first eastern greeting when traveling west toward the Rocky Mountains. What was once a city of the Wild West is now a quiet small town that welcomes cyclists who are traveling along the South Platte River. This town is perfect for bird watching and catching a glimpse of the abundant wildlife as you ride by.
Sterling—Located just off Interstate-76, this agricultural community is nestled next to the Overland Trail that runs along the South Platte River. Cyclists will enjoy the serene qualities of Sterling’s natural landscapes. Grasslands and rolling hills make for ideal views of the state’s frontier heritage.
For more information or a copy of the 2015 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Foursquare, Flickr,Tumblr and YouTube.