Aspen Road Bike Rides

These are the 6 standard road bike rides around Aspen. I did not include Independence Pass (Hwy 82) because I don’t recommend riding it with its negative roadway shoulders. If you want to ride Indy, do it when it is closed to motor traffic. This means early May when CDOT is still snow plowing over the pass or when a cycle event travels over the pass (Pro Challenge race or Ride the Rockies tour).

My riding stats start and end on Red Butte Drive near Slaughter House Bridge, not in downtown Aspen.

Notes:

  • Aspen Loop is mostly flat and makes the most of Aspen’s bike paths and bikeways. Easiest.
  • Woody Creek is an out and back ride. Many riders pit stop at the Woody Creek Tavern.
  • Castle Creek is the longest ride. Out and back ride.
  • Maroon Creek has the highest elevation. Limited car traffic. Out and back ride.
  • Owl Creek is a loop ride with some bike path segments. Juniper Hill is a steep 600’ segment. Ride the Rio Grande bike path if you want river views on the way back to Aspen or McLain Flats Road if prefer looking at the mountains of the Elk Range.
  • Owl Creek Mass Trail skips the Juniper Hill segment and some highway crossings via the Aspen Mass Trail. The route follows mostly bike path.

Developers: This uses the Ride with GPS multi route widget.

Switched to Ride with GPS

gps_widget
Custom widget

 I waited years for Strava to allow you to embed your rides into a website. But Strava’s engineers never listened, so I switched to the Ride with GPS iOS app. Not only does Ride with GPS allow embedding of the app’s ride maps (above) into websites with an iframe tag, but within your account profile they have a dynamic widget builder to create a custom widget with rides and ride details displayed as you desire. With Ride with GPS, you can also search other locales for other rider’s maps and all the related beta to those rides. Now group ride maps can be shared on  cycling websites.

Euro Tour Update 1.3

ibooks_iconIn September of 2014 version 1.3 of Euro Tour was released. In this free version you will find a new chapter on Tour Budgets, a new Scotland tour, the preface has been revised, new gear items, new Google map engine for online maps, all travel checklists polished, and lots of tweaks throughout the book.

 

Here are the instructions to update your copy of Euro Tour:

  • Launch the iBooks app on your iPad or Mac.
  • Click “Store” in the upper lefthand corner.
  • Click “Purchased” panel to see books you have purchased in the iBookstore.
  • Find Euro Tour from list of books and click the “Update” button.

The book download can take time if you have a slow internet connection. If your update fails, or you get a “Cannot connect to iTunes Store” error message, then, just restart the process.

updating_euro_tour_screenshot
Find Euro Tour in your purchased books, then click update

Cycling Scotland

This is a 12 day tour we cycled in August along the coastal side of the Scottish Highlands. You will find island hopping touring on Scottish single track roads through cool deciduous forests. The single track roads provide excellent riding with views of beaches, lochs (fjords), mountains, and quaint coastal towns with friendly tea rooms or pubs awaiting you each stop. The single track roads can be challenging up and down riding and the upward grades can be quite steep. The other challenges of this tour are the weather and the midges. The weather is famously bad, but plan-in a couple weather days and learn why pubbing can take the edge off any rainy day. Midges are tiny flies that bite and are more prevalent inland than on the breezy coast. Specific temperature ranges and wind-less conditions permit the formation of black clouds of midgets. You should be prepared (tent netting and “midget bonnet”) for them if you are camping as their bites itch for a very long time.

The Highland area of Scotland has lots of tourist infrastructure. You will find tea houses at the remotest coves with fresh baked goodies. B&Bs are found everywhere too, just remember they are fully booked for the month of August. We stayed in B&Bs during the wetter days and camped on the nicer days. You can easily get to the Highlands region by rail with your bike (bikes go free if space available) from Glasgow or Edinburgh, then, start your ride from Gourock, Oban, Malaig, or Kyle of Lochaish. If you wanted to extend our route into a loop, you could take the ferry from Ullapool to the Outer Hebrides Islands riding back south in 4 additional days.

Cycle Touring Norway

 

Notes on Cycling Norway

Viking church
Viking church

I had never been to Norway nor anywhere in Scandinavia before June 2013. This post is a summary of what I learn along the way in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Hopefully, my notes will give potential cycling visitors a heads up on cycling in Norway.

Cost. This country might be one of the most beautiful but it is also a very expensive country to visit. A coke costs about $5 and a beer costs $11-$12 bucks. A basic low budget meal starts at around $30 and that’s for pasta. So how do you visit Norway without going bankrupt?

In the summertime, most tourists are exploring the country by either cruise ship or RV. The cruisers are on a package price and are eating their meals on their ship. The other popular mode of travel is RVing. Loads of RVs ferry up from Germany and the Netherlands. They RV/car camp and buy their food in local groceries, using hotels or restaurants only occasionally. They still need to buy fuel which I calculated being approximately $10 per gallon for unleaded gasoline (diesel is slightly less). But if you are a cyclist you can forget that expense but you do need to pay for ferries. My route required 24 ferry crossings and the average cost was $6 a ride times 24 crossings; that’s $144, which isn’t too bad for Norway.

Camping. So if you’re not sleeping on a cruise ship, you’re with the car campers or cyclists in private campgrounds; which cost around $15 to $30 per night plus $2 bucks for your hot water shower token. This camping cost is very similar to other european countries. Every Norwegian town has at least one campground, plus you will find additional ones at tourist destinations. Some campgrounds are only farmer’s fields with a WC and a showering building, others have their own community kitchens or campground cafes. One even had a ski area. If the weather is bad, you can upgrade from a tent site to a cabin; and enjoy drying-out with some cabin heating and the luxury of a full kitchen.

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