Coffeeneuring – Edgewater, Colorado

First day in a new town and first day of the Coffeeneuring Challenge 2015!

Coda Coffee Co

 

Unpacked my bike from the Honda and got out on my ride before the predicted rains. My route took me from Golden towards Sloan Lake just outside of downtown Denver.

The sky was clearing so I indulged in a spin around the lake with stops to enjoy some public art.

My original destination was a strip mall Starbucks but I answered the siren’s call of a cute looking business district in Edgewater. So glad I detoured. Enjoyed an apricot pastry and a tasty cappuccino at Coda Coffee – a local shop that is relatively new to the area. Spent some time chatting with a woman about biking in the area getting good tips on local restaurants and a wine bar with free tastings.

A great way to spend a lazy Saturday morning on a cloudy day!

 

Stats for the Trip

Total mileage: 15 miles

Shop: Coda Coffee in Edgewater, Colorado

Bike: 29er Mountain Bike

 

Observation on Bike Friendliness

Good for the coffee shop. For the route, generally OK – bear in mind that I have pretty high standards with my engineering background and I teach bike safety classes.

Being that I am in a foreign-to-me suburban area, I had to carefully plan my route since I would be without way finding or other obvious aids to cyclists.

Drivers were well-behaved but there are a lot of wide pick-up trucks in Colorado! I did come across four areas with traffic calming on the route leading me to believe speeding is a problem.

I am a bit too knowledgeable on technical aspects of infrastructure to just enjoy my ride:

  • The bike lanes had long stretches with sub-standard widths. (Extra concerning in the construction zone with the asphalt ground down leaving a 2 inch lip to the cement gutter pan and sewer covers.)
  • Narrow lanes were also close to drainage ditches. (Be careful after dark!)
  • One traffic-calmed area with an oversized center median directed cyclists to use the narrow sidewalk. (Which was overgrown with shrubbery.) I stayed on the road, taking the lane.
  • Final section of bike lane after rounding a blind curve was filled with debris and overgrown plants.

On the plus side:

  • At Sloan Lake there were way finding signs for Denver bike routes.
  • Nice, new bike racks along the Edgewater sidewalks.

I would ride this route again. I hope to use it for a trip all the way into downtown Denver before we leave Colorado. I also would take a newbie on the route but would rethink taking the lane through the pinch-point based on their experience and traffic levels.

 

Exploration Theme

For the 2015 Challenge, my theme will be Exploration – right now we are scheduled to be in at least 5 different cities during the 7 weeks. That means it’ll be mostly different bikes as well. What will be fun is using the Coffeeneuring Challenge as an excuse to include cycling in our travels even when it’s not super convenient.

 

For the Bike Curious – How I Planned My Route

Street riding can be intimidating even when you know a city. How do I get the gumption to explore new towns? I usually need some kind of destination in mind and I pre-plan so I have a general idea of where I can ride safely while still seeing interesting neighborhoods.

Here’s a peek into my route planning in unfamiliar locations.

We just arrived in Golden for a few days stop on our fall migration south to Texas. People keep recommending mountain bike trails nearby but these won’t get me coffee. It seems like there are a lot of bike routes and mixed use trails. The trick is to get them to connect to a destination.

A google search for coffee turned up several chain options in the nearby Colorado Mills Mall complex – 1.5 miles away so it meets the minimum distance of 2 miles for the Challenge but not very appealing since even navigating this area in a car is horrible. I left Caribou Coffee as my backup if I couldn’t find a better option (my sister-in-law works there so at least I’d be supporting family.)

Coffee Search

Search for “Coffee” in google maps

 

Next I looked up the official Golden, Colorado bike map on the city’s website. Not super helpful if you aren’t a local – there aren’t many street names on the map and I don’t know the reference spots.

 

BikeMap2013

Search for bike map and the city’s name should get any official map put together by a city’s transportation department

 

Google maps has bike route information so I check the route options for Caribou and some shops in downtown Golden. No clear, easy ways to cross I-70 are showing up so I start looking to the east. I see a couple of long-ish bike routes that interest me and decide to take 20th Ave towards Denver.

 

Long Route

Google has bike route information – it’s best seen on a computer but can also be accessed via the mobile apps

 

I was actually excited to try this since I didn’t realize we were within biking distance to downtown Denver. Rain is in the forecast so my goal is to reach the endpoint of this route at Sloan Lake. A Starbucks comes up on a search of the area so I have my target destination.

Plugging Starbucks in as my destination, google gives me a route with some turns through the neighborhood before hitting 20th Ave.

 

Routes on Offer

 

It looks like there is a closer bike route on Youngfield with fewer turns at the start and I use the street view to check out a major intersection crossing – bike lane looks good.

Ta-dah! I have a route ready for action.

Overall, the route worked out great. Only surprise I got was this ridiculous hill climb! The original route google offered would have missed this. I guess I should have looked at the route profile – we are in the Front Range of the Rockies, after all. Turned out it wasn’t that bad in the end, I shifted into my granny gear and settled in to a slow grind.

 

Big Hill

This big hill was a surprise! The road has center medians filled with trees to slow traffic down – problem is that cyclists are forced to merge with drivers or ride on narrow sidewalks overgrown with shrubs before the bike lanes reappear for the uphill climb.

 

 

Is getting a morning coffee an adventure for you?

 

 

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