Thanks to a tip from Terrance (fellow cyclist and avid DDublog reader), I have a new route to and from my home in Castle Rock and my office in Centennial that helps me avoid more of our four-wheeled friends by utilizing the Cherry Creek Trail system (at left: view of the front range from the trail). Turns out that there was a more bike-friendly way to commute from south Denver. If only it went to Castle Rock...
The Cherry Creek Trail definitely helps me avoid some of the "exhaust from Hummers, Explorers, diesel-burning duelies and garbage trucks hauling our daily discard to the landfill" (see Colorado...The Green State?) but there are trade-offs. For one, I must have swallowed a dozen gnats. I think of Colorado as a bug-free zone, but found out today that they just all live in that low-lying area along Cherry Creek. I kept telling myself, "It's just protein" but I definitely prefer to get my muscle-building protein from a great-tasting steak!
The other trade-off is the trail takes me a couple of miles further east before hitting the E-470 trail that takes me back west towards my office. But I'll leave 10 minutes earlier to avoid the aggravation of the drivers who refuse to move a little closer to the center line to give me a wider berth.
Truth be told, though, they are the exception to the rule. Most drivers are very courteous and go well out of their way to make room for cyclists. I even had one guy pull up beside me at a stop light say, "That's what I should be doing...have a great ride" (probably a fellow cyclist).
And as I was reminded by a colleague this week, just like those few bad drivers, there are plenty of rude cyclists who give everyone else a bad name. Apparently one of them yelled "WAKE UP" at him as he stood at the corner, on a sidewalk, reading an e-mail on his Crackberry while he waited for the light to change.
One of my pet peeves as a cyclist is riders who don't ride single file when there is traffic in the area. I'm sure I'll have to remind several fellow cyclists to follow this basic rule of the road on Ride the Rockies this year. It's just common courtesy. I sure wouldn't want to be the poor sap in a car trying to drive up Cottonwood Pass (at left) behind 2,000 cyclists grinding along at 10 mph!
We're supposed to traverse Cottonwood Pass on Day 6 of RTR08, cresting at 12,126 ft. above sea level (see elevation profile below). But as of today there is some question as to whether they will have all the snow cleared in time! Apparently the pass is currently buried under 18 feet of snow after receiving an additional six inches on May 13.
So if you encounter a rude cyclist, please don't assume all cyclists are the same and I'll try not to stereotype pick-up truck drivers (in my experience, the biggest cyclist haters on the road). And please, if you approach a rider frantically pedaling their way to work, or just out for a joyride, give us brake (literally, slow down) and move left to pass.
Share the road goes both ways.