Photos: Ten Best of Denver bike rides

Back in June, we shared a collection of the ten best Colorado hikes, culled from our Best of Denver archive. Now, for those of you who prefer two wheels to two feet (at least some of the time), here's a batch of best bike rides selected by our writers over the years, featuring links and the original text from the awards. Check out our top ten below — and then start pedaling.
10: Washington Park

The Washington Park neighborhood offers one of the best assets to urban cyclists looking for a good workout: a 2.27-mile perimeter around its lush, lake-filled recreation area. The two-lane track, bordered by the picturesque 'hood, works for all skill levels of cyclists, from the extreme amateur looking for an afternoon jaunt on a cruiser to the seasoned veteran looking to increase stamina and endurance. For safety's sake, speed is limited to fifteen miles per hour (although it's often ignored), as the park also packs in walking families, runners and rentable pedal-powered cars. And for those biking in, Wash Park is easily accessible from the Platte River path coming from the south or the Cherry Creek path that runs along Speer Boulevard.

Best Park for Cycling — 2012 9: High Grade Road, Littleton to Conifer

Serious road bikers ride a fine line between simple masochism and insanity. Colorado hosts several full-day rides for the certifiable (the Triple Bypass, or Denver to Aspen), but if you are simply looking for a three-hour (or so) ride that will cause you acute pain, this one can't be beat. Begin at Chatfield State Park on South Wadsworth Boulevard. Head west into the foothills on Deer Creek Canyon Road. Turn left at Phillipsburg (which consists of an abandoned gas station). The road starts out easy enough, but soon turns into a series of killer switchbacks, climbing up what will seem to you like a sheer cliff. When you reach the top of this, you're not even close to done. Stay straight as the road turns into Pleasant Park Road. This climbs steadily (and, apparently, forever) into Conifer. From there it's finally all downhill: Barrel down Route 73, fly down North Turkey Creek Road to South Turkey Creek Road, and complete the vicious circle with a left turn back onto Deer Creek Canyon Road.

Best road-bike ride on which to burst your lungs — 2000

8: Dakota Ridge, Jefferson County

Some "rides" on the Front Range are so grueling that they are little more than paths for you to walk your bike on. We're talking rides that, with enough skill, sweat and stupidity, are still possible to navigate. Dakota Ridge begins on the east side of Route 26 outside of Morrison, and traces the hogback separating Rt. 470 from Red Rocks. Climb the path on the north side of the ridge, a challenging but technically simple ride. About halfway along the ridge, though, you'll hit plenty of rocks and enough technical terrain to threaten your equilibrium and dome. Wear a helmet and prepare to rip your shoes out of their clips.

Best mountain-bike ride on which to break your neck — 2000 7: Confluence Park

Photos: Ten Best of Denver bike rides

Heading northwest on the Cherry Creek Bike Path out of the Denver Country Club area, you'll dodge bums, baby strollers and bicyclists, then tackle the impressive rise leading to Confluence Park. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view — which often includes several neophyte kayakers rolling over onto their heads in the South Platte, as well as all the mind-blowing construction in the Platte Valley. Now head across the bridge and over to the Starbucks at REI: You've earned your latte grande.

Best Spot on the Cherry Creek Bike Path — 2003

Continue to see more of our ten Best of Denver bike rides.

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