Where the mountains meet the plains. Where the Old West meets the Brave New World. Where the ghosts of our ancestors gather on the ridges at dusk, gaze down and wonder, "Is there now some kind of requirement to drive only while speaking into a wafer-like communication device?"

I've spent pretty much my entire life on the Front Strange (in Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver) and from the seats of various steel-framed bicycles I've seen this area go through some dramatic changes. Frankly, this place is not nearly as user-friendly for cyclists as it was twenty years ago. But with the addition of x million new residents and their increasingly behemoth vehicles over that time, what else would we expect? Riding the Range is a whole different ballgame now, but it's still great riding if you know how and where to do it.

This guide takes a slightly unconventional approach as to what exactly constitutes a 'road ride.' There is a lot of dirt on the Front Range and there is a lot of dirt in this book. Part of that is due to the constraints of the publisher's guidelines -- they really wanted loops. And who doesn't love loops, right? I know I do. Well, to make loops out of many of the area's classic paved road sections, riding on dirt is unavoidable. Flagstaff, Magnolia, Four Mile, Sugarloaf, N. Cheyenne Canyon...these are just a few of the classic FR climbs that sprout 'Pavement Ends' signs from the sides of their occasionally brutal inclines. That was fine with me, as I had always enjoyed riding road bikes on these dirt roads in the past. My belief is that most skeptics who try these incredible loops will soon be stuffing their dirt road qualms into their jersey pockets and forgetting about them, as they'll be having way too much fun. Don't be afraid of a little dirt, brothers and sisters. On the Front Range, the dirt shall set you free.

That's not to say it's all dirt-involved loops in here by any means. This is a road bike guide. There is a lot of smooth pavement, and even a lot of flat pavement, for cool cruising. There are even several routes that feature the Denver area's extensive and useful multi-use trail system. All in all, I tried to put together a pretty balanced mix of 32 different adventures.

In addition to ride information, you'll find numerous diversions into Colorado's relatively short, bloody history and stories about some of its most colorful characters, from Chief Left Hand to Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy, Bredo Morstel. The introduction includes a bonus section on riding in traffic that is derived from the advice in my book The Art of Cycling (formerly The Art of Urban Cycling).

On the cover: Riders pick up the pace past Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods Park, west Colorado Springs (see Chapter 3 for a ride incorporating the Garden and its awesome cycling roads). Locals know that Balanced Rock is shored up at its base with a healthy dose of concrete, or it would have de-balanced long ago onto a passing Impala.

Unfortunately I can't offer this book for sale directly, but I can point you to some authorized on-line retailers. In addition, this book should be in stock at any local bike shop or book store; and if it's not, find the manager, grab that sucker by the collar, give a good shake and demand to know what is going on. I find that it helps a great deal if you hold a rusty chainring up to his/her gullet when you do this, and use a Mr. T voice.

Thank you for your interest in Road Biking Colorado's Front Range. I hope you like it.



Shop for this book: Amazon, the publisher ,Tattered Cover (Denver), Powell's (Portland) , and Barnes & Noble , among other places.


Photo by Jerry Hurst