On Bike to Work Day, denizens of Denver hop on the saddle and sweat their way to the office to celebrate the noble art of bicycle commuting, and businesses reward these one-day-a-year road warriors with free burritos, bagels, beer and even bicycle rides. This year's annual holiday takes place on Wednesday, June 28. Whether you're a seasoned bike commuter who might be unaware of all the free stuff available (you thought you were just doing it for your health and the environment, right?) or a novice, here are ten things you'll want to remember in order to survive and thrive on Bike to Work Day.
1. Bike lanes can be hazardous.
City governments love to tout the wonders of bike lanes, but many drivers still don't know what to do around them: Should drivers turn left in front of bikers? No! Should car passengers open their doors without looking? Hell, no! Should drivers park in the bike lane, just for a minute, of course, to deliver something? Would you park in a traffic lane? For those first-time commuters celebrating Bike to Work Day, head's up: Drivers often don't pay attention, don't know the rules of the road and treat bikers no better than a tumbleweed. Don't let the drivers squish you.
2. Sure, eat some of the free food but not all of it.
On Bike to Work Day, restaurants, rec centers, libraries, bars, law-enforcement agencies, neighborhood groups, nonprofits, bike shops and health-related businesses offer up breakfast to bikers. It's easy to binge. One too many breakfast burritos before you pedal those last blocks to work, and you may be searching for the nearest bathroom – and good luck finding one in downtown Denver. Limit how much you eat – or alternately, pocket a few bagels and burritos to gorge on later.
3. Get off the sidewalk.
Just as drivers treat bikers terribly, bikers treat pedestrians like dirt. One of the worst infractions (and easiest way to get plowed over by a car exiting an alley) is to ride on the sidewalk. Sure, you did that when you were a kid. Mommy's not with you anymore. You're a full-grown adult. Bikes are vehicles. Take to the street.
4. Dance in Spandex.
If the combo of spandex and dancing doesn't turn your stomach, consider stopping by the RiNo Art District Spandex Dance Party, where you can get your groove on to DJ Steeve while eating gorditas, sipping on iced coffee, and watching local artist Tuke paint live. You can also find out more about the Velorama bike race and music festival that will be taking over the neighborhood from August 11 to August 13. On top of all that, RiNo Velo will be on hand for light repairs, in case you broke your bike on the way to the party. Go online to the Spandex Dance Party Facebook page for more information.
5. You'll sweat.
If you're going more than a few blocks or shaking your spandex-clad booty, you're going to sweat – maybe a lot. So bring along a towel and a change of clothes. Just don't leave wet things in your bag: They'll mildew. Don't ask us how we know.
6. Text and bike?
If you do, you deserve to crash. We hope you don't, but there's nobody to blame but yourself.
Read on for more survival strategies for Bike to Work Day.
7. Bike with the flow of traffic.
Every day, jerks bike the wrong way up bike lanes, putting themselves and fellow bikers at risk. If you see one of those people, give them the stink eye. If you are one of those people, turn around now.
8. Bikes and brews.
At the end of Bike to Work Day, there are a number of opportunities to drink free beer. Beer and bikes are a Colorado tradition – a dangerous one. Drinking and biking puts your, fellow bikers and pedestrians at risk. On top of that, you can find yourself in hot water with the law. Take it from us: If you're too drunk to drive, you're too drunk to bike. Flag down a pedicab or find a ride.
9. No bike? No problem!
For this day alone, B-Cycle, the city's bike-share program, has joined forces with the fancy meat-snack company Lorissa's Kitchen to make bicycles free for all. Just head to the nearest B-Cycle station for your free ride.
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10. Bike with The Bachelor.
If being sweaty around two of Colorado's hottest men is your idea of a good time, head to the 18th and Arapahoe treets station at 4:30 p.m. on June 28, when you can go on a fifteen-minute bike ride, replete with photo ops, with two stars of The Bachelor, Robby Hayes and Chase McNary, who will be participating in the Bike to Work Day fun. The ride ends at Ratio Beerworks, where bikers (21+) will be regaled with a free beer and a pint glass as well as opportunities to win prizes at a happy hour that ends at 6:30 p.m.
Looking for more?
If you're confused about all the places where you can eat breakfast, drink water and party on Bike to Work Day, check out this handy list of breakfast stations, bike-party stops, watering holes and events you can go to celebrate the big day.
Looking for more to do in Denver? Check Westword's calendar.