It’s tourist biking season
Some tips for the local and the not-so-local biker
Spring biking in the valley can get crowded.
Out-of-towners head here to get away from the muddy, thawing trails of mountain towns. Locals are just happy to have warm, long days for biking after work.
Both groups flock to Fruita for the Fat Tire Festival, which starts today and goes through Sunday.
Runners and hikers are also all out this time of year enjoying spring. In any case, the trails are busy places this time of year. If you’re a local, here are a few tips for biking during the tourist season:
1. Keep extra maps in your backpack.
This is especially necessary if you’re biking at Lunch Loop. More than once I’ve encountered people asking for directions to Gunny Loop, Holy Cross, etc. Having an extra map to hand out not only helps those biking around Lunch Loop for the first time, it also makes you look super friendly.
2. Speaking of being super friendly, just be that.
Lots of people are here on vacation. They want to have a good time, and we want them to. So, if you’re flying down PBR and come upon someone going at a much slower pace, just say hello and ask politely to pass (not that you’d do anything other than that).
The same goes if you see someone riding up a mostly downhill trail, like PBR or Mojoe. The chances are good that the riders just don’t realize those trails are meant for downhill travel. We should all get in the habit of just politely letting people know the rules of the trail.
3. Use this as a time to make new friends.
You never know who you might meet out there. Strike up a conversation as you’re all heading down the entrance to Horsethief or taking a break after climbing up the Holy Cross hill. Find out where people are from and maybe even recommend a great apres bike destination.
Become a tourist yourself and head to Durango in May or over to Southwestern Utah. If you’re looking to try somewhere different, this is as good a time as any. If you can’t get away, try a new trail. Now is the time to go ride Butterknife.
5. Be a good example for others.
We should all strive to be this on the trails all the time, but when they’re packed with people, it becomes more important. Do your best to stay on the trail; if you’re letting someone pass, make sure to just lean off the trail as much as possible without trampling any plants or cryptobiotic soil.
Most of all, let’s all just show others how awesome the local bikers of Grand Junction are. For me, this means trying to smile more and making an effort to say, “Hi. Have a good ride.”
If you’re a tourist and you happen to have picked up today’s issue of The Daily Sentinel, here are some tips for you, too:
1. Ask questions.
If you’re on an unfamiliar trail, like Rabbit Valley’s Western Rim, or at an unfamiliar area like Lunch Loop, don’t hesitate to ask others for directions. Your day will be much more pleasant if you aren’t just riding in circles. We’re happy to help.
2. Find maps.
Many stores, like REI will hand out issues of our RIDE magazine. It contains maps for all of our major biking areas and also has suggestions on rides. You can also find maps online at various places such as the BLM’s pages (search “BLM 18 Road Maps,” “BLM Lunch Loop Maps,” etc.) and also on bikegjco.com.
3. Try a new trail.
If you’ve always come out and ridden Mary’s and Horsethief, try branching out a bit. Consider adding Steve’s, an intermediate loop that connects to Mary’s Loop, or doing an entirely new trail like Troy Built or Mack Ridge. If you’ve always stuck to Prime Cut as your climbing route at 18 Road, consider heading the other direction toward Zip Off and Western Zippity.
4. Try a new restaurant or brewery.
No Coast Sushi has opened a Fruita location at 229 E. Aspen Avenue. So, when you’re tired of the usual fare, you might check this place out. In town, Edgewater Brewery, 905 Struthers Ave., is a great apres bike choice. It’s down by the Colorado River, and the outdoor patio area includes a grassy place for playing outdoor games.
Not that this would ever happen, but if you need a day off from biking (or if the weather isn’t cooperating), get out and explore some other areas of Grand Junction. Take a drive through Colorado National Monument or head out to Palisade for wine tastings or a visit to the Peach Street distillery.
There are all sort of ways to get out and enjoy the Grand Valley. Spring has sprung! What are you waiting for?