How to Plan Your Commute Route: A Guest Post

A guest post by our Bike Ambassadors member, Marieke! 

Route planning tips for bike commuting

Planning your bike commuting route can be challenging. When commuting, you want to get to work or home as fast as possible and you don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time on a longer detour. Of course, you would like to be safe too. Fortunately, there are different tools and websites available to help you out.

Just like a car route, Google Maps is a great way to start: identify your home and your destination and GO! Make sure to look at the bicycle overlay, which will show green (or brown) lines as bike friendly streets and trails, and use the bike search option, versus the standard car search. Google bike routes are considered in beta version, but the data behind the maps are usually directly fed by municipalities and do give a great first approach of the route to tackle… After a first result, I often check the satellite images for bike lane signs or use streetview to get a lay of the land. It is always good to know if you are on the street, if there is a bike lane, or if you are directed to a poorly-maintained sidewalk that only in name has just been upgraded to bike route. Would you be better off in the street in that case, or should you reroute? Another great way to get an idea where others ride is via Strava heatmaps, which is free and can be accessed without an account. It is fun to see what other riders prefer, and maybe you can optimize your route.

Image 1_bike lane ends.jpeg

Be aware and prepared, a bike lane or trail can unexpectedly end.

There is a personal touch to each bike route. Not everyone likes or is comfortable riding in the same streets. Some people wish to avoid bike lanes at all cost and are willing to take longer routes to be completely off street on a bike path. Some quirks, like unfriendly intersections, you will only find out by trying your route, which is done best when you are not in a hurry for a 9 am meeting. I usually keep optimizing my routes to be faster and safer for a long time after my first attempt. Bike infrastructure in Colorado keeps improving rapidly, and new bike lanes or trails show up all the time. I also like to ride with colleagues and friends, just to learn new ways. I even have different routes depending on the time of year. In winter, I will partly use a bike trail that is nicely plowed after each storm, has no cars, and is safer and off-street in the dark. In summer, I won't dwindle and go the shortest route, which is unfortunately along a busy highway. A bonus gravel trail along the way makes up for it and is a shortcut and quiet.

Image 2_.jpeg.jpg

If you have the luxury, trails are a wonderful and safe way to commute off street.

Denver, as most other Front Range municipalities, has a network of designated bike trails across town. In Denver these are labelled as D-routes and they are a great way to start plotting your commute. It will be worth to check out what your own city or county has listed as bike trails and routes. Bicycle Colorado has a nice list to get you started for most communities (link below).

A GPS, your smartphone or just a plain old map can be handy to take a peak when you are lost, have an unexpected flat and need the nearest bus stop, etc. And.. rule number one when riding your route for the first few times is to give yourself enough room before your first morning meeting.

Happy pedaling!

Useful websites:

  My summer morning commute is unfortunately on the shoulder of a busy highway. It is very scenic and by far the quickest way to work, but I try not to ride here in the dark.

My summer morning commute is unfortunately on the shoulder of a busy highway. It is very scenic and by far the quickest way to work, but I try not to ride here in the dark.

#10000milesin2018: Month Two Update

Total Miles to Date: 1298.4

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 264 members – 13 more people joined since our last update at the end of January.



After a strong January, February was rough.  Between snow and strong winds, the weather made many days unfavorable for riding outside, my motivation was plain-and-simple lacking to bundle up, and so indoor rides were usually the go-to for me- often in the evenings.  One weekend that was unseasonably warm was really windy, and another one was spent caring for an injured dog.  One week I was at a 3-day conference and I opted for treadmill runs vs the hotel exercise bike (to get a bit more calorie-bang-for-the-buck).  That week -for the entire WEEK- I only logged 27 miles- which is supposed to be my daily target. Ooftah.  But hey - that's life! I fell behind on my miles, no question about it.  (I should be around 1,666 miles so I'm about 368 behind!).


I figured out how to build custom workouts on Zwift, which means the program walks you through your target efforts both in time and in power goals, taking all of the math and self-guidance out of the equation.  It's awesome -and really helps a rider nail their workout! 

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:  What strengths are you drawing on to meet your goal?

Self-discipline was a big one ...  getting ON the trainer at 9 or 930pm a few times took every ounce of self-discipline I possess.  Getting on the trainer workout after workout (thankful for my Feedback Sports Omnium every single time!) without the chance to ride outside took some self-discipline.  Also -perspective.  Knowing that there were just days I wasn't up to riding and giving myself the "ok" to skip those days.  Looking at the year as a whole and not panicking about falling too far behind on miles kept me sane ;) 

Strava Group Member Feature: 

Daniel Payne_February.jpg

If you’re in Portland, Oregon, join Daniel Payne, one of our #10000milesin2018 members, for a ride. He is planning on riding around 11,000 miles in 2018. In 2017, he rode 13,000 miles. Way to go, Daniel! 

My Bike Trip Around the World: A Guest Blog

My name is Sarah Welle - I live in Longmont, CO and I'm an entrepreneur (I run a gifting company called Colorado Crafted that specializes in Colorado-made products). I'm writing to tell you about the time I spent a year cycling around the world for my honeymoon!

It all started when, in my mid 20s, I got the book Miles from Nowhere as a gift. It's about a couple in the 70s who drops everything and rides their bikes around the world. I had never HEARD of such a thing, but I was completely captivated. Less than a year later, I got married to my longtime boyfriend and somehow convinced him that we should quit our cushy Microsoft jobs, sell everything we owned, and cycle around the world for a year as our unconventional honeymoon. I still can't believe I convinced him it was a good idea, but I did! In 2007 we sold literally everything, packed up our bikes and camping gear, flew to New Zealand, and started cycling. I still remember the feeling of standing in a parking lot right before we left and just dropping my purse into a garbage can because I didn't need it anymore. 

How did you decide where to ride?

We wanted to see SO much of the world. We started off with really ambitious plans, not really having any idea how fast we'd make any progress on our route. We decided to start with New Zealand because we wanted an "easy" country to start in - English speaking, cycle touring is popular there, lots of places to get spare parts in the case of a breakdown, etc. So that's where we started! From there we wanted to check out Southeast Asia, so we booked tickets to Singapore and cycled north through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. After that we didn't really have any concrete plans, but what ended up happening was a big crash in the jungles of Laos, forced skipping of China, and a change of plans that brought us to Eastern Europe where we cycled through Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, etc, etc -- finally ending our trip in Istanbul, Turkey! We'd considered flying to Argentina and riding south but after a year on the road we missed family and friends and were ready to end the big trip.

What was the best part of traveling by bike?

There were SO many things to love. We loved the quiet peacefulness of cycling through the countryside: we could hear birds singing, cows chewing grass, locals chatting and going about their business. It also gave us so many opportunities to meet people and really experience the local culture. When you're resting in the shade and eating a snack you'd be surprised how many kind invitations you get to join people for tea, etc. We were overwhelmed by the general goodness of humanity, which was wonderful. We also loved seeing the landscape slowly change as we cycled across whole countries, and it was a treat to actually see the sunrise and sunset every single day for a whole year.

What was the hardest part?

The reality of being stuck outside in terrible weather, the worst was freezing rain or days & days of windy weather, was much harder in practice than I'd expected. We were also surprised by the difference in our physical abilities; I would feel tired and worn out after far fewer miles than James which caused a few pesky conflicts! ;)

How did you experience the cycling-motorist relationship in different countries? 
This was fascinating to experience - there was a huge range in this relationship. In more third-world countries, where cars are less common, cars and trucks on the road were perfectly accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists (and walkers and mopeds and cows)! We felt very safe cycling in countries like Thailand and Laos. In some Eastern European countries - Serbia stands out in my mind - car owners were unbelievably aggressive and frightening at times. We learned to take back roads as much as possible, as well as avoid riding through major cities, and that did a lot to make day to day cycling more fun.

We kept a blog along the way which is super outdated looking at this point, but the stories are still there! It's at  

Two of my favorite blog posts are:

  • This roundup, about 6 months into the trip, of our favorite & least favorite things, scariest moments, and our most common arguments:
  • Looking back on our trip, our top pieces of advice if you're thinking of a similar trip:


Cycling Deaths: I Have Something I Need To Say

This morning started off well enough - coffee, some social media-ing, breakfast ... 

And then the news of Andrew Tilin’s death popped up on my feed in an article posted by Outside Magazine.  He was hit and killed by a car on his bike ride yesterday.

I met Andrew in 2014 after he reached out, saying he wanted to do a piece about me and my law firm. We talked by phone numerous times, exchanged plentiful emails, and he traveled to Golden that summer to meet me in person, see the office, and do a long bike ride together.  He also sat in on a bike law briefing I provided to the Boulder County Sheriffs Department. 

 Andrew's bright pink DORA the EXPLORER backpack, which he wore on our ride and carried with him everywhere we went (for his notebook, recorder, etc) was a source of laughs and humor during his entire visit. ;)

Andrew's bright pink DORA the EXPLORER backpack, which he wore on our ride and carried with him everywhere we went (for his notebook, recorder, etc) was a source of laughs and humor during his entire visit. ;)

His article was titled “Bikes v Cars, the War No One is Winning,” and when it hit the press in 2015, I was overwhelmed with emails and calls - mostly positive. Bryant Gumbel’s team at HBO Real Sports reached out, indicating they wanted to include me in a bike wars episode they were compiling.    

As you might imagine, the call from HBO was a game-changer for me and I immediately contacted Andrew and thanked him (for about the 100th time) for choosing me as the subject of his article.  I regularly expressed my gratitude to Andrew for the way his article opened up new doors for me - we stayed in touch on bike issues as well as personal life developments.  He was a cyclist and a writer I respected.  I considered him a friend and enjoyed our conversations.  

{Off-topic but I want to say this right now: is there someone who did something for you and it really made a difference in your life?  And you haven’t thanked them for it?  Go -do it now.  Seriously.  I’ll wait… I can’t tell you how glad I am that I made the time to tell Andrew -thank you - as often as I did. People who do meaningful things for us deserve to hear from us.  Make the time}. 

Today, I learned he was hit by a car while he was on the side of the road changing a flat tire on his ride yesterday.  It really affected me- as all cycling deaths do - but perhaps more so because I considered Andrew “one of us,” as in, one of the cycling advocates trying to make cycling better- and safer- and more well-known and well-understood. I also knew Andrew to be a very safe and skilled rider -a dad -who wouldn’t take needless risks on rides.  But of course as is often the case, rider skill wasn’t the issue here. 

Alongside the seeming randomness of the collision that took his life (a car skidding in fog into another car which struck him as he changed his tire on the side of the road) - I was consoled by the fact that Andrew went out doing what he loved to do: ride his bike.  

Allow me to back up here for a moment before going forward with the true grit of this article and the reason for writing it. 

May of 2017- I was on a charity ride, when a rider ahead of me rode over a stick which randomly shot under my front wheel.  I crashed instantaneously, and 2 riders behind me then crashed into me/landed on me.  Result: bike broken in 8 places, fractured sacrum (pelvis), torn labrum (hip), concussion (brain) and left side thoroughly road-rashed.  While I’ve crashed before, and broken bones before, this one was different.  Whereas my previous injuries all stemmed from racing, this one felt random -out of my control entirely-and it made me feel very vulnerable.  

It was during this timeframe that I was hired by a woman whose husband left for a morning bike ride and never made it home - he was hit and killed by a car on his training ride.  CSP released his bike and helmet to me and there it sat in our office.

As I was struggling with the concussion and pain I was personally experiencing -I saw his bike every single day.  (I'd think about how he left for his ride that morning fully intending to come back home, walk through the door, drop his cycling stuff and get on with his day).  And although I’ve been handling hard cycling cases for awhile now- this one, perhaps because of what I was dealing with in my own life-  it changed me.  I began to question cycling.  I began to question my work as an advocate, constantly trying to get MORE people out there riding their bikes.  I began to question why we do this - why do we ride our bikes on roads, and then act surprised when bad things happen?  What makes me different?  Why do I perceive my bike rides, and my riding behavior as safe, when clearly things can change in a split second - as a fluke, or as a result of negligence, or a myriad of other reasons?  

I found myself for the first time ever, afraid on my rides. My concussed mindset wasn’t helping me- but I also realized I was at a crossroads I couldn’t avoid anymore- I needed to decide what was what for myself when it came to cycling. 

And then the most amazing, wonderful thing happened: I made a choice.  (And now to the point of this article -thanks for bearing with me in getting here): 

I acknowledged that riding bikes is my most favorite thing in the entire world, for so many reasons (exercise, health, mental happiness, sunshine, seeing the scenery, using my body to get places, social aspects, and more).  I acknowledged that it makes me happy -and it makes most people I know who also ride - happy.  It makes me healthy.  It plugs me into my surroundings.  We don’t contribute to pollution or road wear-and-tear.  We DO contribute to our bodies’ health and our mental well-being.  I did acknowledge that riding carries with it some risks.  And then I recognized that most things we do involve risk. 

Here’s what this very specific, very purposeful decision did for me:

I don’t take my rides for granted anymore.  Every time I exit my garage door to leave my house, this image (taped to my door) reminds me that I am choosing to live my life- and that this ride could also be my last: 


And I celebrate that.  What a gift of clarity.  I am firmly dedicated to making every ride- and every day -amazing.  When I ride to work and roll the bike into my office, there’s a moment of gratitude- “whew, I made it, and that ride was glorious!”  The same happens when I return home from a ride.  I roll the bike into my garage and as I put my hand on the doorknob to walk into the house, there’s a pause, a “thank you for letting me come home today” whisper to the universe.  And a question: "now, what can I do next, to make this day amazing? Whose life can I touch? How can I make a difference?"  My intimate awareness of life's brevity motivates me to take action.

The clarity this has provided me cannot be overstated.  It prompted me to streamline my life, consolidate financial stuff, sell off vehicles and possessions that were not serving me (and worse- weighing me down), assess relationships in my life, and yes- I got my will/estate documents in order.  My neighbors know how to get into my house to take care of my dogs, should I ever fail to make it home. 

My family knows how I want to be celebrated at the end of my life :

  1. no funeral, just a big raging, insane party!  DJ!  Drinks! Bikes! Sunshine! No burial, just a cremation (after all organs are donated of course) and my ashes sprinkled somewhere incredible! 
  2. go spend my money on amazingly fun adventures!! 

The point is this: this recognition that each day -each ride - could be my last -has made me a really grateful, organized, simple, inspired human.  Little stuff doesn’t matter anymore.  I’m locking down things that I once said, “some day I’d like to…” and I’m doing them NOW.  Not later, not when I’m older, not when I retire.  NOW.  (Example: I’m not waiting for a 40th birthday or a mid-life crisis or retirement or ___(insert your impetus here)____to take an epic bike trip.  Nope.  I’m doing it NOW.  This year.  It’s happening). I've always wanted to become a keynote speaker. Boom- done.  

I’m also committing more of my resources to people and organizations I can help NOW -while I’m alive -so I can experience the impact we are making as individuals and organizations.  So we can inspire others to come alongside us. (For example: HERE). 

NOW NOW NOW.  (Are you hearing me on this?).  

So yes- I know there are risks, but I chose to continue cycling.  And not only that- I vow to continue asking others to ride their bikes - because I do truly believe that the more cyclists there are out there, the more normalized cycling becomes, the more accepted it becomes, and the safer it will be.  

If you, like me, believe in the environment and protecting it -by doing things like recycling, boycotting factory-farmed animal products, buying organic and sustainable and ethically-raised and sourced; if you, like me, use reusable shopping bags to avoid plastic, and you make the efforts you can make to preserve our air, resources, and land -well then, I think cycling has its logical place in your list of things you believe in, to save not just our environment but also our economy

If you, like me, believe that life is more fun, and more full, when your mind and heart and body feel good/are exercised/breathe fresh air/have sunshine on your face, then cycling has its logical place in your life and your daily activities.  

If you, like me, believe that standing up for issues that matter to us, no matter how challenging it is or how much opposition we face, then cycling on public roads and having more cycling infrastructure, has its place in your list of causes to fight for.  

And hey listen - if you feel that riding roads is just too risky for your liking, I get it.  I know a lot of people who’ve traded in their road bikes for gravel and mountain bikes and they are steering clear of roads and traffic and cars.  I honor that choice and I don’t fault it one bit.  Everyone must make decisions based on their beliefs and their family, legacy and perspectives.  

Cycling safety is making strides, but it takes time.  I will keep working tirelessly at it, just like the folks at People for Bikes and Bike Denver and all the other amazing advocacy groups do, to make it safer. To raise money for separate infrastructure and to work on new laws that protect us, or punish people who harm us.  My big push is- and always has been -on education.  Teaching cyclists, motorists, and law enforcement what our current laws say and mean.  We may never be the next Copenhagen but we can make changes which will have large and positive impact.  

I believe cycling can save lives.  I see people losing weight, ditching antidepressants, soaking up sunshine, riding, exercising, sleeping better, making better food choices, having better relationships…  I see them sitting less, moving more.  I see us as cyclists, generally interacting with others around us more.  I’m not anti-car, I’m just pro-bike and all the benefits that bikes provide us.  

So- Andrew Tilin- if you’re up there reading this, I hope you’ll approve. I know you were never one to mince words or choose the path most popular -but instead, you wrote what you believed, and you articulated your reasons and that’s what made you a wonderful writer and human. You inspired me to write this. Thank you. 

I believe in bikes.  And I know Andrew and many of our other fallen cycling friends did too.  And while we mourn the loss of their lives, let us respect the fact that they rode their bikes because they loved to ride.  So let’s keep riding -in their honor.  

Dressing for Winter Riding & Commuting in the Dark

Our lovely Bike Ambassadors have been busy writing instructive blogs to help everyone tackle those cold, and sometimes dark, commutes this time of year.  Please click on the links below to read Sue and Laura's tips and tricks! 



#10000milesin2018: Month One update!

By Maureen & Megan 


Total Miles to Date: 884

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 251 members -from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, England, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, USA. 

I am SO excited to see this many people jump in on the challenge! 

Challenges?: I've had a raging head cold since Christmas eve.  It's made it nearly impossible to ride hard on the trainer, or to ride outside in the cold, because that just makes it worse.  I confirmed I don't have the flu, and have just been dealing with the stuffy nose and cough with hot tea and cough drops.  We also got some snow in Colorado which made riding outside nearly impossible (nearly - fat bikes make it possible!) .  

Highlights?: I have been fortunate this month to spend some time in warm, sunny AZ and also CA, where it was easier to log bigger miles.  I've also been really thankful for Zwift for indoor trainer rides, it keeps it fun and engaging! 

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: How has your daily schedule/routine changed to meet this goal? 

Every day I wake up knowing that somehow, I need to average 27 miles/day.  If I miss a day, I know I'll need to make those miles up.  I went to see family for a weekend in Omaha, where the weather outside was atrocious (and I also didn't have a bike) and so I committed myself to riding miles on the hotel exercise bike each morning.  Sometimes I wait until the evening and do a two hour trainer ride. A few times this month, those rides weren't starting until 9 or 930pm at night because the day was just too jam-packed.  And it was totally ok.  Making it happen is what it takes.  Sometimes I use the commute to work for some miles and then add on.  I was also looking forward to the Trek Travel bike camp I'm on this week (in Solvang) to add some miles -which will hopefully bring up my averages and give me a headstart for February.  

There is no question that every day, I know 1.5-2 hours need to be spent riding.  This has given me a reason to schedule my evenings much lighter, and to minimize my after-hour commitments and social engagements, so that I have time to get those miles in. It's been really nice, actually, to have that daily focus.  I am encouraged to get better/more sleep, to stretch and to take better care of myself knowing I'll be on the bike almost every day.  Overall I am feeling really invigorated and motivated by this goal! 

Here are some photos from my rides in January: 

Just Do the Right Thing!

Client Story- by Maureen 

Distasteful, despicable and unethical! That is how Scott describes his experience dealing with State Farm after his 15-year old son was involved with one of their drivers.

Ian's helmet and Glasses.jpg

A competitive mountain biker and road cyclist, Ian, Scott's son, was out on a ride in his neighborhood in Golden, CO trying to get in 100 miles of training that week. It was just a little after 6:00 pm on May 15, 2016 when Ian was heading north on Washington Avenue. As he was coming down the hill, a car on Washington Avenue and 14th St. made a left hand turn right in front of him.                                  


Ian was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision and ran into the rear passenger door of the car. When Officer Austin Beck from the Golden Police Department arrived, Ian was lying on his back on the roadway. He was incoherent and was not able to tell the officer what had happened.


Ian was transported by ambulance to St. Anthony’s Hospital for possible head injuries. It was determined that Ian had suffered a hairline collarbone fracture and a concussion. He also had a cut near his eye and contusions all over his body.

Scott was notified by the hospital... “It’s a sinking feeling when you get a call from the ER to say that your son has been hit by a car.”

The driver was cited for failing to yield the right of way. He was driving his girlfriend’s car; she was riding in the front passenger seat.

Following the collision, Ian experienced memory loss, and his cognitive functions were not as strong as normal.

On behalf of Ian and Scott, we filed a claim with the car owner’s insurance company. GEICO readily paid policy limits (minimal). However, due to Ian’s high medical bills and other costs, we also filed a claim with State Farm, the driver’s insurance.  State Farm refused to take responsibility!

The Fromm family decided to pursue litigation and hired us to represent them. State Farm came up with several reasons for denying the claim:

  • They refused to pay because they claimed that the driver was not at fault.
  • They claimed that the driver was not insured with them at the time of the collision.
  • Attorneys for State Farm even suggested that the crash could have occurred in a different way than was stated in the police report.

They went as far as questioning Officer Beck’s qualifications and experience at investigating traffic crashes. The driver and his girlfriend even pushed responsibility on Ian stating that he was riding too fast.

Scott described his family’s experience in their road to get a recovery from the insurance company as a very stereotypical experience: “What happened is what I expected the experience to be. They are going to deny everything. It’s about enriching themselves, not insuring the insured.”

About a year and a half after the crash, the case went to mediation. Scott said that he was in a very uneasy place at that point. All he wanted to do was to settle for Ian’s sake. Ian had come to him before mediation and told his dad that he just wanted to get it over with. “It was the right decision, but we just wanted to be compensated for our losses,” said Scott.

Scott, also a cyclist, strongly believes that bicyclists are treated like second-class citizens even though they have the same rights as motor vehicles. “Your rights will be less. If my son was in a car, (I believe) State Farm would have paid.”

State Farm used tactics that delayed the Fromm’s claim from being paid out. Over 800 emails were exchanged with the clients/opposing counsel/experts during this case.  DENY. DELAY.  “That’s a dodging tactic to not pay out the claim,” said Scott.

Following mediation, State Farm continued to further delay payment by insisting that Scott and Ian’s Social Security numbers had to be provided before the check would be issued- contrary to the CMS rules and forms, and contrary to standard practice. 

Scott encourages bicyclists who have been injured to hire an attorney when dealing with insurance companies. “You could try to fight it yourself, but you would not be successful in recovering for your loss without an attorney.” “If I didn’t have Megan, we would have a different outcome. We would have been worse off.”

Megan adds some additional advice in situations like this one: "prepare to dig in for a long fight.  Insurance companies will bully and delay and drag on and on.  Treat this as an endurance sport. They will try to wear you out.  We are here to keep you fueled, motivated, and willing to go the distance. Resilience is key."  

What needs to change so that bicyclists are safer on the roads in Scott's opinion?

  • More legislation needs to be passed to protect bicyclists and their rights.
  • Governments need to make the investment to improve roads for bicyclists.
  • Drivers need to be more patient around bicyclists. Our culture is impatient.

The entire experience has left Scott fearful and has him thinking about switching from road to gravel biking. He wants to know where Ian is at all times now.  He and his family will move on from this experience, but he does have a message to insurance companies. “Just do the right thing!”

Bike Ambassador Team Blog: Commuting Delivers Daily Joy

Guest Blog post by I-Ling Thompson, Bike Ambassador

More than Miles, Bike Commuting Delivers a Daily Dose of Joy

Just shy of two years ago, we decided to move from the trail mecca of Golden, Colo. (complete with across-the-street trail access) to Denver. While I loved having trail access out my front door, I found climbing in a car to go anywhere exhausting and tough on my carbon consciousness. We found a darling, yet woefully dated bungalow in West Highland that offered a #ridemoredriveless daily lifestyle, shaved my daily commute to 15 minutes by bicycle, and served up plenty of renovation projects to keep us busy.

Our first year was hard – city life was dramatically different than rural Golden. The parking hassles, the noise, pavement everywhere…despite my best intentions to ride everywhere, I found the adjustment to city life difficult and old car habits were hard to break. Add to that my work and travel schedule kept me off the saddle and behind a desk more than ever…the days of carefree riding, simply opening my garage door to roll out on canyon roads or dirt felt foreign and beyond distant.

Interestingly, I found a daily dose of sanity by reaching for my bike to make that 15-minute commute to work. I chose between bikes lanes, bike paths and neighborhoods roads to pedal out the day before and behind me. And despite traveling upwards of three weeks a month, I strapped on my helmet to commute 96 times. The simplicity of grabbing my bike to go to work, dinner or the grocery store is indescribable. My commute became my joy and the system of bike paths around Denver, my new stomping grounds. I finally invested in a cruiser bike, complete with rechargeable lights, a rear wheel lock, fenders, a basket and a grocery getter pannier. The neighborhood was an old friend now, and I knew it’s streets. It wasn’t the foothills of Golden, but it was pretty awesome.

When my second spring rolled around, the quiet streets of West Highland blossomed into an entirely new neighborhood. My morning commutes were fragrant with spring flowers, and train of commuters on my route home brought familiar comfort when my days ran into darkness. I was now going days without moving my car. I added Lyft, walking and begging rides from hubby to my commute mix.

Even bigger this year, my hubby and I took our first cycling vacation. Rather than rent a car, we explored Norway by bike for eight days. The experience of riding our bikes in a foreign country, along quiet roads and boarding ferries to cross a fjord was indescribable. Sitting in a fruit stand to have lunch before pedaling to the next town...pure joy.  

I also found peace with merging my professional job + commuting. I don’t have a shower at work, so the struggle with hair + sweat management + outfit selection is real. I embraced the side ponytail to make my new post-helmet hair manageable and slowed my pace to avoid glistening. I tested my “professional” wardrobe and found that most everything was bike-friendliness for the time/distance required for my commute.  Despite my crazy travel schedule, I managed 92 commutes and 331 rather stylish miles by bike, if I do say so!  

If 2017 taught me anything, it’s that a commuter mindset happens in small, every day actions, not just the bold ones. I'm so grateful for my commuter team..this team is comprised of women from all backgrounds...medical, executives, lawyers, nonprofit leaders, small business owners and mathematicians. Despite their full schedules, these ladies stay committed to the bike commuter lifestyles they want to lead and remind me of the possibilities, joy and experiences to be had by bike. It would be very hard to trade in this lifestyle, given the freedom and hours of car-free life I’ve taken back. 

So here's to 2018! I'm ready for the adventures you have in store!