Whether you bike roads or trails, the Springs will satisfy 

Cycling through

So, you like traveling on two wheels? You've come to the right place.

Colorado Springs is famous for its abundance of challenging roads and open space. And almost all of our open-space trails welcome cyclists (with Garden of the Gods a notable exception; see the bike trail map at tiny.cc/bhr4cx).

To get acquainted with both road and trail options, you may want to look for the city-created Bike Colorado Springs Bicycle Map, which will help you pick the best routes within the Springs. While an enormous PDF is available for free at tiny.cc/llq4cx, you can find a more manageable version that includes additional useful information (bike parking options, how to take your bike on a city bus, etc.) for $7.95 at many of the bike shops below.

Shop around

There are chain shops in the area, but also plenty of independent ones. For starters:

Downtowners will love perennial Best Of Colorado Springs winner Old Town Bike Shop (426 S. Tejon St., oldtownbikeshop.com), which as much as any other local shop, serves as a community hub of sorts. Bicycle Experience (1601 S. Tejon St., 473-1015) just expanded its local footprint, opening a second location within the Ivywild School at 1604 S. Cascade Ave. — meaning you've got a one-stop shop, so to speak, for bikes, baristas and local beer.

A short distance to the west, you'll find ProCycling (600 S. 21st St. #120, procyclingwarehouse.com), which caters more to high-end customers, and Colorado Springs Bike Shop (622 W. Colorado Ave., coloradospringsbikeshop.com), which in 2013 celebrated its 40th birthday. To the east, there's Colorado Cyclist (3970 E. Bijou St., coloradocyclist.com), which does a lot of catalog and online business in addition to making sales and repairs in its retail shop.

In the north-central area, you'll find the venerable Ted's Bicycles (3016 N. Hancock Ave., tedsbicycles.com) and The Hub (1519 N. Union Blvd., thehubbicycleshops.com). Farther north is Criterium Bicycles (6150 Corporate Drive, criterium.com), where in addition to a large selection, you'll find classes on basic maintenance and repairs. (Disclosure: My husband works there.) There's also two-year-old Cafe Velo (11550 Ridgeline Drive, #102, coloradospringscycling.com), which offers coffee and tasty food (see tiny.cc/qr62cx) in addition to a higher-end selection of bikes.

And then there are the specialty shops. Rocky Mountain High Wheels (2845 Ore Mill Road, #2, rmhwonline.com) will sell you one of those classic rides with the huge front wheel and the tiny back wheel. Timberline Cycles (2201 W. Colorado Ave., timberlinecycles.com) specializes in bikes that are sourced domestically. Only interested in mountain biking? Try Ascent Cycling (5928 Stetson Hills Blvd., ascentcycling.net).

Angletech (1483 Garden of the Gods Road, angletechcycles.com) is the place to go if you want an adaptive bike that can accommodate a disability. (By the way, if you're looking for accessible group rides, check out the city's Therapeutic Recreation Programs at tiny.cc/q5s4cx.)

If you don't find your perfect shop the first time, keep trying. Bicycle Experience owner Bubba Hayes says most customers are looking for shops that carry their favorite brand of bikes, competent mechanics, and also something less tangible — shops tend to have their own personalities that may or may not resonate with you.

Bicycle Experience, for instance, tends to attract BMX riders, commuters and people who are looking for something a little different. The shop sets itself apart by selling not only new equipment, but also used bikes and parts, including some rare items. Hayes has also opened a BMX track that draws many area kids; you can learn more about it at pikespeakbmx.org.

By the way, if you want to work for one of these bike shops, Colorado Springs also has a school for bike mechanics: Barnett Bicycle Institute, at 2725 Ore Mill Road and bbinstitute.com.

Pack up

Looking for someone to ride with? That shouldn't be a problem, as the Springs is crawling with bike clubs and group rides.

One of the most popular local groups for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes is UpaDowna (upadowna.org), which hosts all sorts of biking adventures, as well as Wednesday night "Pedal Parties" from March to Labor Day. Skill levels run the range. Another group that's beginner-friendly is Colorado Springs Cycling Club (bikesprings.org). Search meetup.com and you'll find at least a handful of other groups locally, including Colorado Springs Mountain Biking Club and Club Cafe Velo, organized by, yes, Cafe Velo.

Ladies who love dirt should hook up with the Women's Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs (wmbacos.org), which hosts weekly rides in the warm months. Its members range from beginners to experts, so you'll have buddies no matter your skill level.

Those looking for more of a challenge should check with their favorite shop. Many shops hold group rides, which tend to cater more to serious riders. And if you really want to push yourself, check out the state's many rides and races, including the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle (coppertriangle.com), the Triple Bypass (triplebypass.org), the Leadville Trail 100 (leadvilleraceseries.com) or the Denver Post Ride the Rockies (ridetherockies.com). Or you could just bike up the Pikes Peak Highway, which recently opened to bicycles.

Good places to check for races, rides and activities are pikespeaksports.us and peakregioncyclist.com. Bike shops also have guides to events and races.

As for true community events, locals love the Trails and Open Space Coalition's Starlight Spectacular ride (trailsandopenspaces.org/starlight-spectacular). The 20th annual nighttime road ride will happen June 14, and locals will be outfitting their bikes with crazy lights and wearing costumes in honor of the event's quirky heritage. Ted's Bicycles will be giving away two cruisers there, too.

Also look into the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts' 10th annual Roll Bike Arts Festival, featuring bike-related art and events between June and August. Find out more about it at tiny.cc/7qu4cx. And consider coming out to support the USA Pro Challenge (usaprocyclingchallenge.com), America's chaser to the Tour de France that runs annually through Colorado. This year, it will be in Colorado Springs for Stage 4, a circuit stage, on Aug. 21. The route wasn't determined as of press time, but in years past racers have finished in the heart of downtown — which brings out thousands of onlookers and makes for a pretty lively atmosphere.

As you ride ...

A few tips for pedaling locally:

• On the trails, hikers have the right-of-way. Be aware and considerate, especially on curves and switchbacks.

• Off trails, kids under 10 are expected to ride their bikes on the sidewalk; the rest of us should be as far right on the road as possible.

• On the road, bicyclists are expected to follow traffic rules, including stopping at red lights.

• In Colorado, drivers are expected to respect bicyclists, too: The law requires that drivers give bikes at least three feet of room when passing, or face a fine. But as local bicycle advocate Al Brody points out, the law most likely would be enforced only after a cyclist is hit. "What the law does, if somebody does get hit by a car, obviously they were violating," he says. "I think the benefit is it would make someone think, 'I really should give somebody on a bicycle a little bit of room.'"

— J. Adrian Stanley


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