Finding the Right Bike Route
When it comes to choosing a bike route, Denver has multiple choices - it all just depends on your comfort level. There are routes with a mix of car-free bike paths, bike lanes (both protected and not), and relatively low-traffic, low-speed streets. How do you choose? Roads with designated bike lanes are an obvious choice but even if you are riding in bike lanes, it’s important to remember that you’re still on a road and still interacting with automobile traffic, particularly at intersections. Bike lanes in Denver can vary from protected bike lanes (where there is a concrete barrier or a line of parked cars between bike and automobile traffic) to a lane painted off the side of the road. Below are the different types of bike lanes you'll find in Denver, provided by the City & County of Denver.
Most riders will agree that off-street bike paths are the safest and often most pleasant places to ride bikes. While Denver has an extensive network of these, odds are you will not be able to ride entirely from point A to point B without some portion of your ride happening on a road. If you want to plan a route that consists primarily of dedicated bike ways, the City & County of Denver has compiled a map that indicates where different types of bike paths and lanes are located. You can find the map here: Denver Bike Map (2017). (Please note this map is current as of 2017, but an updated one will be released this year!)
Some cyclists even say they prefer to ride on roads without bike lanes or outside the bikes lanes because they feel more visible as motorists' attention are focused in areas where other cars are driving. Also, not all bike lanes are created equal as some are on relatively busy, fast moving roads. When riding, you may feel safer riding on less busy roads, regardless if they are marked as a bike route. To help cyclists choose routes based on these considerations, Bike Streets has created a map of suggested routes for riders who prefer riding on quieter neighborhood roads, even though many of these roads do not have any dedicated bike infrastructure. The interactive map can be found here: Bike Streets Map.
No matter which route you choose, it's important to plan ahead and choose the route you feel comfortable riding. Both of these resources are useful to identify bike lanes and paths, but there are plenty of GPS-based apps that can help you plan routes. If you want specific bike routes to and from B-cycle stations, you can download the BCycle app, which gives directions based on dedicated bike routes only.