Trying to Follow D-10 and D-12
0 comment Thursday, May 22, 2014 |
I had an interesting conversation the other day where I was pretty harsh on Denver's bike route system. For those not familiar, those routes are marked with signs, D-1 through D-24, and they typically plot a meandering course along city streets. My beef with them is that they are hard to follow, drivers don't see them, and they aren't very direct. I decided that I would try and take one of these routes on my ride today to make sure I wasn't being too hard on them.
Nope, they suck worse than I remember.

Here is my route. Note the Westbound route has a lot of "Noise", that is because I took the D-10 and D-12 bike paths, which zig zag wantonly North and South on a route that is supposed to go East / West. The return trip was all on Jewell, a narrow four lane road with no bike paths that is one of my favorites to ride on since it is straight and slopes West to East.
While the meandering took extra time, it did take me near some great civic features of Lakewood. This is Big Tops, a club which caters to Juggalos.

For those of you who know me, you probably remember that of all the troubling social movements in this world, the Juggalo movement disturbs me more than all the others.
Across the street from Big Tops is the Vitamin Cottage historical site. For non-Coloradoans, Vitamin Cottage is a chain of natural food and vitamin stores (our own Sam H. works there). I presume this is the original, now home to a yoga studio, I don't know quite what to make of it.

Shortly after zigzagging back onto the bike route, I noticed some green plants growing across the path:

and then I looked up to see a field of "puncture vine", and my heart started to palpitate as I realized that there were probably thorns all over the path.

My tubes made it through, but shortly after the path detoured:

because of this:

That is a bridge for the upcoming Lakewood light rail line, once completed, the line will take over the right of way I had just been riding on, so expect future disruptions to the D-10 bike route. Shortly after this point, I lost track of the bike route entirely, and just started riding on familiar streets, and shooting for the gap between Green Mountain and South Table Mountain to get into Golden. I did find one gem, Wide Acres Road which goes from Simms to the back of Colorado Mills mall with nary a stop sign, and a lot of nice up and down rollers and pleasant curves under overhanging trees.
After a swim in Clear Creek, Mother Nature let me know it was time to go:

I have one more thing to report, there is a new bike lane on Alameda Parkway starting at the bottom of Dinosaur Ridge and going all the way around the South of Green Mountain, it's lovely:

Check this out, this is why it's fun to ride in Colorado; this scary storm was hanging over the mountains, threatening with blasts of wind and lightning:

Scary! But off to the East, blue skies welcomed:

and since almost all rides originating in Denver go uphill, your return will be downhill, which helps when you are trying to outrun the leading edge of a thunderstorm. I hit 45 mph on Jewell, and made it home without getting wet (aside from Clear Creek).
The moral of the story, the official "bike routes" are a disappointment, I recommend avoiding most of them in favor of riding on the roads.

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