Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring is here! And bad cyclists!

DPD Twitter

A cyclist died last night after colliding with an automobile. I used to live near the intersection in question. It's one of the more trafficky spots in an otherwise very calm, residential area.

According to the Denver Post article, the collision happened at about 8:30 PM, by which time it would have been mostly dark.

I don't know any of the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event, but I choose to see it as a symptom of a certain trend I've been noticing. During the last several days, as the weather gets nicer, there has been a considerable increase in the number of cyclists out on the roads. Many of whom, since they weren't out on the roads during winter, are fair-weather pleasure-cruisers. And a large percentage of this group is doing it just plain wrong.

I've become more and more annoyed at cyclists as the temperatures approach 70 degrees. Come 8:30 PM, I am seeing tons of cyclists in dark clothing, with no lights and no helmets, often riding down roads so busy that I avoid them whenever I can.

There is scientific evidence of the presence of these idiot cyclists.

It's a graph. It must be true. That's science!

I had been lulled into complacency this winter by the fact that the majority of cyclists I encountered were careful, safety-conscious, and responsible riders. But now that it's getting nice outside, there are all these ninjas, salmons, scofflaws, and imbeciles. They're clogging up the tubes! I remember now feeling the same frustration last spring.

Well! This I guess is the season to do some Pirating!

I need to prepare some give-away packs.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Clear Creek Trail

click through for to see traildenver's maps

I got a chance to go for a long ride this weekend, which included the leg of Clear Creek Trail between the South Platte River and Ralston Creek Trails.

There are three confluences along this section of trail. From northeast to southwest—
  1. Clear Creek and South Platte River

  2. Clear Creek and Little Dry Creek

  3. Clear Creek and Ralston Creek

I am going to address these confluences in order, not geographic order, but in order of Nicety and Usefulness.

1. Ralston Creek Trail

This is the most intuitively navigable confluence of trails I've seen in Denver. I've taken the wrong turn at, or have at least hesitated at nearly all of them except this one. The first time I tried to take the South Platte River to work, I accidentally took Cherry Creek Trail at the confluence. Which is totally my fault because I am easily disoriented. I don't get that way here though. It's idiot proof.

Trail marker and Helpful Graffiti

I'm a fan of helpful graffiti. Especially in situations like this when you're out on the trail and don't necessarily have access to landmarks and cross-streets for reference.

This three way intersection is labeled "Arvada" for Ralston Creek Trail, "Denver" for eastbound Clear Creek, and "Golden" for westbound Clear Creek. Straightforward enough.

And the Ralston bridge is just pretty.

2. South Platte River

An A-OK juncture. Platte runs north/south, and Clear Creek runs east/west.

Eastbound on Clear Creek, there's a natural flow in the trail that usually suckers me into continuing north for a beat before I realize it, and that I wanted to take that wooden bridge back there on the right in order to continue on to Denver. So I have to stop and turn around.

It's a nice enough little rest stop, complete with benches and a small bathroom. I usually stop to stretch my legs.

There is a big trails map posted, but no markers by the intersections so you'll have to keep your direction clear in your head. There is a trail that I think just loops around the little confluence park, but I haven't ventured around it.

3. Little Dry Creek

Okay. This is my Bermuda Triangle. I have ridden past this lake half a dozen times and I continue to get completely disoriented every time I do. My motivation for making this post is the hope that if I write this down I will be able to proceed with confidence next time.

It's not the trails intersection so much as it is the lake just before it. Clear Creek seems to dead end at this lake, for when you come around to the other side of it, there's a hard left at the spill-over, and a sign informs you that you are getting on Little Dry Creek Trail.

Which always throws me because I always want to continue on Clear Creek. I don't want to go on Little Dry Creek. So I backtrack thinking I must have absentmindedly missed a fork. And when I don't see one, I waste a few more minutes looking at the trails map posted near the lake's street entrance, which is too large to offer any real detail and which has no "You Are Here" and which is just not helpful. So then I might surface to the street so I can see what my nearest cross streets are, thinking that the map might then be more useful.

Eventually, in desperation I just take the damn Little Dry Creek Trail. Which, ironically has been flooded every time I've ridden it.

And then a couple beats up the trail, I come to an intersection well marked with Helpful Graffiti. "Arvada" for westbound Clear Creek, "Westminster" for northbound Little Dry Creek, and "Denver" for eastbound Clear Creek.

So the point that I need to remember is that the "Little Dry Creek" marker at the lake is premature, or at least it does not signify the termination of Clear Creek. The trail fork lies past this misleading marker.