Up Here We Spin Our Wheels
By Christina Freeman
Three local riders, sporting their Moots jerseys, stop during a road ride above the valley. Photo courtesy Jamie Kripke/Moots Cycles.
Road Riding and Cruising Around Steamboat
When it comes to wide-open spaces, the Yampa Valley has few rivals. Miles and miles of paved roads offer abundant road biking opportunities. Afternoon outings, quick lunch-hour rides and daylong adventures await bicyclists in Steamboat Springs, a gold-certified Bicycle Friendly Community.
A few favorite roads for riding include River Road (CR14), which starts in the Brooklyn neighborhood (access via Fifth Street from Lincoln Avenue) and continues south to the intersection with RCR 35, where riders veer left and continue on to RCR 14E to Colorado 131. This short out-and-back ride gives bicyclists a brief taste of road-riding in the high country.
Twentymile Road (RCR 33) offers a scenic and hilly rural route that starts the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and 13th Street, near the Bud Werner Memorial Library. The road continues to Twenty Mile Mine (about 20 miles), but riders can make it an out-and-back ride of a shorter distance of their choosing. Twentymile Road crosses through open range.
Elk River Road (RCR 129) takes riders alongside the meandering river, past historic ranches and into Clark, where a stop for ice cream at the Clark Store is a Steamboat tradition. This 40-mile round trip has a significant elevation gain (more than 3,500 feet). Shoulders are narrow in spots, and CR129 leads to Steamboat Lake State Park and other popular camping sites, so traffic can be heavy, especially on weekends.
Cruisin’ with the Family
Steamboat Springs loves cruisers and the 7.5-mile Yampa River Core Trail makes an ideal family outing. Begin at the park across from Walton Creek Road and U.S. 40 and cruise through town to the skateboard park in West Steamboat. Along the way, pass Rotary Park (an ADA accessible park with boardwalks, fishing platforms, interpretive signage and picnic spots), ponds, public art, the Yampa River Botanic Park, Howelsen Hill Sports Complex, kayaking play holes and access to downtown shops and riverside dining.
Share the Road....and Other Helpful Hints
1. Wear a helmet; do not use headphones or a cell phone.
2. Ride no more than two abreast; move to single file when traffic is impeded.
3. Be respectful of horseback riders, hikers and vehicular traffic. Do not assume motorists see you or that you have the right of way.
4. Beware of livestock. Remain quiet and still to let cattle, horses or sheep move around you or away from you. If you encounter cowboys moving a herd of livestock, they will direct your movements.
5. Obey all traffic laws and use approved hand signals to signify your intentions.
6. Wear reflective clothing and use a headlight at night.
7. Ride on the right side of the road, paved shoulders or bike lanes if available.
8. Do not stop in the traffic lane; choose your stopping place to avoid blind spots.
9. Do not ride against traffic.