Hello, and welcome to this blog post. This post is going to ramble on for too long about a ride that itself rambled on for too long. A large part of what made this ride enjoyable was what I listened to along the way, so here's a sample. It makes as apt a soundtrack for this post as anything.
The Highline Canal winds for almost seventy miles through Denver's suburbia. For some unknown reason, I recently decided to take the lightrail down to the Mineral station and follow the Canal until it intersected the Sand Creek trail. The trails are still dry and this is the best time of year to ride a mountain bike, and it's rare that I have the opportunity to do whatever I want for an entire day. Did I make a mistake? On paper, the answer is yes, but in reality it was actually a pretty good day (though you can see on the map where I became too bored to continue, just east of I-225).
There are some positive things to say about the Canal. For a city trail, it far surpasses the South Platte and Cherry Creek trails. It's prettier, less traveled, and feels fairly remote despite winding through a city of 650,000 people.
There were other trail users, but it wasn't crowded like the Cherry Creek path. It wasn't littered and industrial like the Platte path. However, both of those paths are slightly more interesting. The Highline looked almost exactly the same for fifty miles. Another small perturbation about this trail is that you have to cross a road every few miles, which you don't have to do on the other paths in town. It's a small matter, but waiting at stoplights does interrupt one's rhythm.
About half was paved and half was not. I was on 2.0 knobby tires, but a road bike would've sufficed.
It's not a ride I'm in a hurry to repeat, but there may be a sunny winter day when I want to put in some headphones and enter a trance state. However, there are so many amazing dirt roads within an hour's drive that I may spend sunny winter days elsewhere.
Once I got on the Sand Creek Greenway, I didn't get far before the trail was inexplicably closed with no detour. Martin Luther King Blvd., despite a bike lane, was less than ideal. In retrospect, I should've hopped back on the lightrail. All in all, though, it was a pleasant day.
Here are a few other things that made this ride a delight: