Saturday, April 10, 2010


Yesterday was yet another fantastic day on the road, with all sorts of exploring, interesting people, and great sights.

I arrived in the Denver area midmorning after a delicious breakfast and some stimulating conversation (see Colorado Springs entry) but decided to challenge myself. Instead of heading all the way into town, I parked my "mobile home" in Littleton, some miles outside of the downtown area. Why not? Through no extra effort whatsoever I afforded myself some 20+ miles of additional cycling and exploring. Why not take my bike?

I decided to create a game of my day yesterday. Instead of relying on technology and the mundane precision it provides, I planned my day (in terms of sights and places I wanted to see) and wrote down the cross streets for each location on a piece of paper. I set out from my "base camp" with a bottle of water, a few Clif Bars, my camera, my cell phone, and this piece of paper. In doing so I created an exciting adventure: I'd actually have to explore. I'd have to actually engage local people for insight and direction. In forcing this "predicament" upon myself I opened a world of interaction, which brought an indelible realism to the day's events. The next time you're traveling in an unfamiliar part of the world, I highly recommend trying this exercise.

My first stop was a bike shop (go figure) called Adrenalin Cycles. Stop number 4 on my quest to find a real-life Ridley frame to tangibly experience outside the realm of the internet brought a result I'm used to by now: they don't actually have any bikes on hand. The staff consisted of two very cool racer-types, though, and I stayed and geeked out on bikestuff for over an hour. I'll be attending their "grand opening" today to show my support. Good people. All proceeds from every Adrenalin Cylces shirt they sell benefit, which is a very cool organization. If you're in Denver, stop by and buy one.

From there I set out for Wheat Ridge, CO - some 15 miles away - to go pick up my ticket to today's Rockies game at Coors Field. God bless $10? You've got to be kidding me. Try finding a cooler way to enjoy 3+hours of your day for under $10. I dare you (Seattle residents who can go to Mariners games, you're excused). I arrived at the library only to find out that they're closed, which confused me since I was planning on meeting my vendor at her work (the library). Upon calling her, I realize that in my haste I misread the email, and she works there on Saturday, and that she would be at home on Friday. Where does she live? In the neighborhood less than 200 yards from the bike shop I just left. Irony. You can't make this stuff up.

After about a minute of laughing about my stupidity and kicking myself a bit, I remembered that I thoroughly enjoyed my bike ride there, and that I was now on my bike in a new place, which is the whole goal of the day anyway. Filled with an odd sense of accomplishment, I pressed on.

It of course couldn't be any other way (thus is the essence of travel/exploration) my detour led me to discover some very cool places. Highlands is a suburb/borough of Denver, and a very quaint one at that. Think: Carytown, Richmond, VA or Fremont, Seattle, Washington or Ghent, Norfolk, VA. Probably the coolest little shop I stumbled across was Urbanistic, a combination fixed-gear/commuter bike shop and loose leaf tea lounge. Very cool. The bike mechanic, Ethan, might join the team on our Canada-Mexico tour in September. I'm building an army.

I then hopped on Speer Avenue and cascaded toward downtown with the exuberance that only a winter off the bike could bring and stopped at least a dozen times to take pictures and soak in the city feel. I think that there is a large part of me that is at home in the city; although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the woods at the end of the road (Crested Butte), I am relieved to find myself in a big city again. A summer in Seattle is sure to be invigorating.

I spent at least 2 hours just cruising around downtown, finding bike shops and meeting new people - as a game I pedaled around until I found a local fixie commuter and then followed them to their destination. I got some good exercise, found some cool places (including a coffee shop at the end of a one-way alley, that I would've never found otherwise), and met some cool people. A girl named Veronica has the sexiest single-speed Bianchi in the world. She lives in Denver, and she taught me how to correctly pronouce Biciclette.

My last stop on the downtown tour was Coors Field - site of the Colorado Rockies' home opener. "Zoo" would be an appropriate descriptor.

More to come soon - all of yesterday was excellent, but they're closing the breakfast room at the hotel I'm currently borrowing breakfast, electricity to charge my phone and computer, internet, and I should probably exeunt before they start asking questions. Adventure!

Listen to Jose Gonzalez' "Veneer" record. It's excellent.

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