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The Great Outdoors

By Meghan Godby

While avid cyclists have been hitting the pavement all year long, warmer weather often inspires beginners to get outdoors as well. There’s no question that Colorado is a cyclist’s paradise, but you don’t have to travel far to get some fresh air. In fact, whether you’re an old pro or just learning the ropes, Wheat Ridge has something for everyone.

Just starting out? Stop by Wheat Ridge Cyclery, located at 7805 W. 38th Ave. Not only do they sell a variety of bikes and accessories for all ages, but they’ll also help fit you to a bike and service it when it needs some attention. Their website is a great place to start if you’re looking to learn more about the cycling community in Colorado; be sure to check out their calendar for information on group rides and maintenance clinics (www.wheatridgecyclery.com).

As you venture out, don’t be surprised if you see lots of other cyclists on the road. According to the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Wheat Ridge had the highest rate of increase for bicycle commuters among other Denver metro area cities (from 2010 to 2015). While the statistics are compelling, the bigger message is that the number of bikes on the road is on the rise.

With so much traffic on two wheels, safety is a priority. If you could use a safety refresher, you might want to check out the Bike Safety Rodeo at the Wheat Ridge Library on Saturday, May 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. The free event is appropriate for all ages - learn about the importance of wearing a helmet, safety skills, and ways to keep your bike running smoothly.

Once you feel comfortable, you may be wondering where to go. If you’re a beginner, consider a park, like Crown Hill (26th and Kipling), where you won’t have to worry about vehicles and other dangerous road hazards. The paved trail around the lake is just over a mile long, making it perfect for a leisurely afternoon ride. Ready to step it up a notch? The 20-mile Clear Creek trail also passes through Wheat Ridge and the new trailhead near Kipling and 44th makes a convenient access point.

Cycling is a great way to improve your physical fitness, explore nature, and get some fresh Colorado air. As the temperature keeps rising and the days get sunnier, don’t be afraid to get out there. There are miles and miles of trails to explore and a friendly community of cyclists who would be more than willing to show you the ropes. (Or should we say spokes?)