Colorado summers are geared toward bike lovers — but not all events are cut from the same spandex.
With parades, costumes, beer and music, plenty of Colorado bike events offer something different for those who prefer an unorthodox take on summer entertainment.
Matt Kowal, impresario of Tour de Fat — the annual New Belgium Brewing bike festival — said running the event gives him a sense of how diverse cycling culture is in the state.
“Whether you like fixies, mountain biking, bar crawling, or you’re a dad pulling kids in a Burley trailer, all those different subcultures can come together and feel welcome,” he said.
Celebrations of all things bike continue to grow, whether cruising mountain paths or city sidewalks. Kowal said communities are often drawn together by a love of bikes, which, for the most part, begins at a young age.
“It’s a very whimsical thing,” he said. “Most of us got a bike as a kid and it was our first taste of freedom, of individuality. It remains that for us as adults — rediscovering how good it feels to power yourself around, how good it feels to have a bike.”
Spend the summer in the company of bikes, brews and bands at these events, all coming up just around the bend:
Rock the ride
CRUISER ROCKS: Landlubbers rejoice — this booze cruise sticks to solid ground. Late-morning risers will be greeted with music and food at registration, followed by a group photo shoot. Then the costumes come on, the kickstands come up and riders bike to the park for a party with free adult beverages from Oskar Blues Brewery, games and raffles galore. Barbecue comes next at Ogden St. South, with a quick zip to the Candlelight for drinks, followed by the Pub on Pearl for, yes, more drinks. Registration fees benefit the nonprofit Love Hope Strength, which will be on site to sign up participants for the National Bone Marrow Registry. Wash down a cold one, or three, during this rockin’ event.
When: Noon-8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Washington Park
Cost: $35 single rider, $60 rider pair. 21 and older
Best for: Beer buffs 303-257-1660, cruiserrocks.org
Night ride rises
G’KNIGHT RIDE: Training wheel tykes will have plenty to do at theCruiser Rocks stopped in Washington Park in 2011. (Provided by Crusier Rocks)Kids Festival here, which boasts a bounce house, face painting, bike decorating and routes designed with younger riders in mind. The Roof Check mini ride clocks in at less than one hour, and the Yellow Scene micro ride is for those 5 and under. For the adults, there’s the 10-mile night cruise through Longmont with the option of a Tasty Weasel detour; check out where Dale’s Pale Ale is made at the Oskar Blues Brewery. The Samples headline an evening of live music, and a beer garden and other activities keep the night great.
When: 3-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Prospect Park, Longmont
Cost: $18-$20 individual, $42-$45 family
Best for: Wheelin’ families 303-319-9882, gknightride.org
TERMINAL VELOCITY: Typography is the star of this urban challenge celebrating Denver’s vibrant downtown. Teams will bike around the city, leaving no sign unturned as they race to locate and photograph all 26 letters of the alphabet. Riders document their progress using Twitter and Instagram as each key location is revealed. No art degree is needed to participate in this design-based tour of the city, just a sense of direction and a smartphone. Ads, store signs, murals and landmarks are all fair game, and the winners get to take home some locally designed Denver gear.
When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 23
Where: I h Denver store, Denver Pavilions
Cost: $10 per team member; teams of two to four people. 21 and older
Best for: Social media-savvy hipsters 720-257-4619, eiseverywhere.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=42673&
A marathon of a different color
BRIDGES OF THE BUTTE: With 86,400 seconds in a day, stamina is the name of the game on this 24-hour townie tour. Bikers can participate in teams or as individuals, crossing five bridges through the town on a 2½-mile loop. Try to top last year’s solo record of 106 laps, or go after the prizes for best costume or team theme. The ride benefits the Adaptive Sports Center, which provides scholarships for outdoor activities for people with disabilities. Since it’s not a race, riders can bike for as long as they like, at least until sleep deprivation takes over.
When: 3 p.m. June 23-3 p.m. June 24
Where: Downtown Crested Butte
Cost: $24 adult solo or team, 17 and under pay their age; doubled day of event
Best for: Night owls 970-349-5075, www.adaptivesports .org
Circus celebration, spandex-free
TOUR DE FAT: Hoopla abounds in this family-friendly festival atmosphere. The colorful, costumed morning bicycle parade kicks off a day chock-full of live entertainment, crazy contests and New Belgium beers. All food, beer and merchandise proceeds go to support local bike nonprofits, which help further cycle safety advocacy. Solar power and trucks running on waste oil also make this event environmentally friendly. With a beer school, circus tent, rideable bike art and diverse music acts, enthusiasts are sure to find something to satisfy their bicycle-related quotas.
When and where: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 1 at Civic Center Park, Fort Collins; Sept. 4 in City Park, Denver
Cost: Suggested $5 donation
Best for: Free spirits 970-221-0524, newbelgium.com/events/tour-de-fat.aspx
TOUR DE VINEYARDS: Pedal 25 miles through some of the most diverse Colorado scenery in one location. There are vineyards left and right, of course, but also views of Grand Mesa National Forest to the east and deserts to the west. With numbers often exceeding 1,000 participants at the tours, clearly seeing Colorado wineries is still somewhat of a novelty, even for locals. A popular ride with women and couples, bikers can get their morning exercise in before stopping at Colorado Winefest. Try to spot Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, along the route as the tour travels past the wineries.
When: 7-11:30 a.m. Sept. 14
Where: Peach Bowl Park, Palisade
Cost: $43 for T-shirt, course map, welcome packet and post-ride pasta; $10 day of event. Admission to Colorado Winefest not included.
Best for: Shutterbugs 303-635-2815, tourdevineyards.com
BIKE TO FARM TOURS: Working up an appetite riding at the base of the foothills is a breeze when the reward is wood-fired pizza from a local farm. This tour harmoniously blends the foodie and cruiser worlds as riders arrive to the farm on bike, not only taking in the views but the freshness of a meal picked that same morning. Live music adds to the evening atmosphere, and riders of all ages and experience levels are welcome. Bikers have the opportunity to learn about produce and operations from farmers first-hand, then fuel back up for the ride home.
When: 4:30 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Downtown Boulder to 63rd St. Farm
Cost: $25 with own bike, $45 to rent; reservations required.
Best for: Locavores 303-807-6634, awe-struckadventures .com
Kelsey Fowler: 303-954-1211 or email@example.com
Get on a roll
Need a bigger kick? Check out these local cruiser nights to escape the humdrum of the week:
BOULDER bikers kick off between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Thursdays from Scott Carpenter Park (30th Street and Arapahoe Avenue). Grab your wizard cloak and cast a spell for good weather - next week’s theme is Myth and Magic. happythursday.org
COLORADO SPRINGS families - pets included - can bike the Joy Ride from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays starting at McCabe’s Tavern, 520 South Tejon St. Give your legs a rest at the finish line by exercising your brain with the Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz at 8 p.m. mccabestavern.com
DENVER is home to six starting locations, including the Denver Wheel Club (404 Broadway). Nights begin at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, with the bike rides leaving at 8:15 p.m. Break out your finest packing supplies for next week’s theme, the all-encompassing “Bubble Wrap, Duct Tape & Cardboard.” denvercruisers.com
FORT COLLINS takes cruisers from the Fort Collins Bike Library (19 Old Town Square) to Starry Night Cafe for cupcakes and coffee. Rides are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Thursdays. fcbikelibrary.org
PUEBLO riders meet on the second and fourth Fridays of the month, departing at 7 p.m. from Bingo Burger (101 Central Plaza). The next cruise is scheduled for June 22. Enjoy drinks, food and music on the patio before and after the ride. facebook.com/ pages/Pueblo-Cruiser-Bicycle-Rides/142787259127674
- Kelsey Fowler