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  1. #1
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    Trail traffic over the last few years

    Avid mountain biker here. I moved away from the Denver area about 3 years ago and I'm contemplating a move back. Every time I visit it seems that there are exponentially more people in the area. I haven't typically been able to bike much when I'm visiting. So, I'd like to hear others' impressions of trail traffic over the last few years. When I lived there, I rode mostly jeff co trails and boulder/ned.

    I spent a while searching for a similar thread and did not find one....

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
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    It's horrible. You probably shouldn't move back...

    Seriously though, the trails close to Denver will be busy after work and on weekends from Spring through Fall. As long as you've got a good attitude and don't mind stopping occasionally it won't be a problem.

    It gets less busy in the summer when the high country trails thaw and the crowd spreads out.

  3. #3
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    I amazed at how few people I see on the trails. I am fortunate in that I get off of work at 3 and my after work rides are a little earlier, but sometimes I can see the parking lot blowing up as I am leaving. On the weekends, I tend to ride a little further out because I have the time and seem to see very few people.

    Of course there are times when things are super busy (I.E. Winter on North Table when dry), but overall, too many people don't get out and ride.
    BBZ

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    It's not too bad if you compare it to the slopes anymore. It's gotten so bad I don't snowboard anymore. With riding you can go early or late and avoid the crowds. Everything close into Denver gets busy mid-day with bikers and hikers. Of course there's always BC. Even when the overflow parking at the ranger station is packed the system is so large you can ride all day and not encounter too many others.

  5. #5
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    It's like everywhere you go. The sport has gotten more popular so the trails are getting busier.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  6. #6
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    I actually think the trails are less busy now than a few years ago... But I'm riding different trails at different times now. As long as you don't ride right after work or known-to-be-busy trails on the weekend it's not bad at all. Like someone else said, it's a million times better than the ski resorts.

  7. #7
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    There are a lot more riders, a lot more hikers, a lot more hikers with dogs, a lot more trail runners. Sure, if you work a job where you can hit the trails at off hours it isn't bad, but if you are 9-5, M-F, prepare to join rush hour jams during the week. I've had people from places you would think of as crowded, like NY and CA, completely freak out over how crowded the trails are along the Front Range corridor. On weekends there is no relief in some places. Most trails near Boulder are packed by 9AM and stay that way all day.

    And yes, skiing is even worse, I'm not even going to go there.

    Choose your living circumstances carefully if you really want to enjoy riding here.

  8. #8
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    I have been ignoring all the news stories about CO's population growth, because the media here is now so hysterical about everything I just tune them out.

    So I decided to Google up population growth by state.

    Holy Hell.

    Colorado is now the second fastest growing state in terms of people moving here from other states, and fourth fastest overall behind ND (oil boom), TX (massive influx of foreigners plus domestic migration), and UT (influx from other states plus much higher birth rate).


    We are going to be looking at some serious water issues the next time we get a drought like 2001-2003.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Colorado is now the second fastest growing state in terms of people moving here from other states, and fourth fastest overall...
    Interesting, but not surprising. Where I live on the (current) edge of the Denver metro area, they just keep putting up subdivision after subdivision. So people must be moving here from elsewhere.

    Like many have said, a lot of it depends on when you ride. If you're an 8-5 weekday slave you'll be stuck with crowded trails. Too crowded for my tastes. Especially if we're talking Jeffco OS parks and other close-to-town trails. Buff Creek never seems crowded, due to its size and distance from Denver. But of course it's a longer drive. Ideally, I'd live somewhere like Salida where there are lots of trails and fewer people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post

    Colorado is now the second fastest growing state in terms of people moving here from other states
    Yeah, I don't follow the media's hysteria either. My impression is that every time I return, the streets just seem more and more packed. Unfortunately a lot of the new population wants to do the same things as me - mtn bike, snowboard, etc.

    All of this has been helpful, and like most of us, I will have a typical 8-4/5 kind of job. Maybe I will concentrate my efforts more on the jobs open in Anchorage and Phoenix....at least Alaska is less crowded...

  11. #11
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    LOL at all the curmudgeons and their "get off my lawn" in this thread.

    All you have to do is modify your behavior regarding trails in my experience and crowds disappear.

    And with regards to the ski resorts - crowds are not an issue. Hell - this year I'm always wondering where the hell everyone is...

  12. #12
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    Trail traffic over the last few years

    I moved here a year ago, and within that time I have noticed rush hour traffic getting worse.

    I can't say much about the trails because winter has been keeping most people off them. I will say when it is nice there are a bunch of noobs on the trails. People just walking off trail instead of stopping to let someone pass, people still walking on closed trails, etc. I guess that's what you get when a city has so much growth.

    It's probably only going to get worse with the whole marijuana thing. Despite the lazy stereotype, people who smoke pot are pretty active.

    I love Colorado, but I'm thinking Utah sounds pretty good.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    All you have to do is modify your behavior...
    True. And that's very difficult for most folks. I wish people would drive less, consume less, etc., so that maybe the collapse of civilization will be postponed for at least a little longer, but it's not gonna happen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Smith View Post
    I moved here a year ago, and within that time I have noticed rush hour traffic getting worse.

    I can't say much about the trails because winter has been keeping most people off them. I will say when it is nice there are a bunch of noobs on the trails. People just walking off trail instead of stopping to let someone pass, people still walking on closed trails, etc.
    Don't blame being a n00B. There are plenty of non-n00Bs that do this too.

    I love Colorado, but I'm thinking Utah sounds pretty good.
    I've been recommending this to people for YEARS.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    True. And that's very difficult for most folks.
    Fortunately... this actually makes it easier for those of us who *do* modify our behavior. I'm more than happy if people keep stuffing up the trails as long as they do it on a predictable schedule.
    I wish people would drive less, consume less, etc., so that maybe the collapse of civilization will be postponed for at least a little longer, but it's not gonna happen.
    Don't sweat it - it will be way after you die.

  16. #16
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    I think the other thing to consider is the trails that you ride. The newer riders tend to stick to the easier trails (you know, the ones like sidewalks). If you are more inclined to tackle the more technical trails, there are exponentially less people. Dakota Ridge is a good example. It may be one of the easiest to access, yet it is rarely busy..

    Sorry if offend anyone with my generalization, but that is kind of how I see it and your experience may differ.
    BBZ

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    Please explain the "modify your behavior" comment. If you work 8-5, on weekdays your choices to avoid crowds are riding really early, which is problematic for those who have to commute, especially if there is no shower where they work, riding in the evening after dark where allowed, or not riding at all. On weekends you pretty much either have to be off the trail by 10, or drive at least an hour to get to a more remote trail.

    The parking area at NTM has even been full this *winter* on any decent weekend day. I can't imagine what it is going to be like mid-April to early-June before the higher trails dry out.

    It isn't going to get any better. There are 20,000 new houses being built between Golden and Longmont in the next few years. Over 7000 of those are in the NW Arvada sacrifice zone around 88th and Indiana, where the closest trails are in Golden and Boulder, which are already the most crowded around.

  18. #18
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    Just ignore no trespassing signs and trail closures. Problem solved. LOL

    And I can't believe people still get upset over someone stepping off the trail when a single rainfall event does more damage and washes more dirt down the hill than 100 years of mountain biking ever could. At what point do you open your eyes and realize you have no control over mother nature? Shit happens.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Please explain the "modify your behavior" comment. If you work 8-5, on weekdays your choices to avoid crowds are riding really early, which is problematic for those who have to commute, especially if there is no shower where they work, riding in the evening after dark where allowed, or not riding at all. On weekends you pretty much either have to be off the trail by 10, or drive at least an hour to get to a more remote trail.

    The parking area at NTM has even been full this *winter* on any decent weekend day. I can't imagine what it is going to be like mid-April to early-June before the higher trails dry out.

    It isn't going to get any better. There are 20,000 new houses being built between Golden and Longmont in the next few years. Over 7000 of those are in the NW Arvada sacrifice zone around 88th and Indiana, where the closest trails are in Golden and Boulder, which are already the most crowded around.
    NTM = beginner heaven.. NTM = first and sometimes only thing dry in winter..except Dakota Ridge which is empty.

    Of those 7000 houses, how many do you think actually mtn bike? My guess is 5% or less..

    Best time in the world to mtn bike.. Sunday during a bronco game.
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  20. #20
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    Well, assuming your 5% is correct, and there are 2 people per house, that is another 700 riders potentially hitting NTM and Doudy Draw after work, the two closest trails to 88th and Indiana. They are also the closest trails to Broomfield where another 7000 of those houses are being built.

    It will end up being a moot point anyway since there are no plans to improve Highway 93, and it will soon be so gridlocked it will be too painful to get to the NTM or Doudy Draw trailheads anyway, let alone threading south down to Apex/Matthews/Dakota/Green Mountain. On Friday afternoons in summer the traffic on 93 is already basically 100% from Boulder all the way to the intersection of CO93/US-6/CO58. Tossing the traffic from another 20,000 houses into that cluster is going to make things suck even worse. It is hard to believe that is wasn't that long ago that every car coming into Golden from the north had to filter down Washington Street.

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Please explain the "modify your behavior" comment. If you work 8-5, on weekdays your choices to avoid crowds are riding really early, which is problematic for those who have to commute, especially if there is no shower where they work, riding in the evening after dark where allowed, or not riding at all.
    Not to be a d-bag but you can ride if you really want to. I get up at butt crack (for me ~4:30 + a snooze or two) and bang out ~1.5hrs, get home, shower and off to work. I know two people who get up earlier than that.

    The only thing preventing you from getting out is you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Disney's Frozen Head View Post
    Not to be a d-bag but you can ride if you really want to. I get up at butt crack (for me ~4:30 + a snooze or two) and bang out ~1.5hrs, get home, shower and off to work. I know two people who get up earlier than that.

    The only thing preventing you from getting out is you.

    Up at 4:30, 30 minutes from bed to trailhead, ride in the dark, done at 6:30, 30 minutes for trailhead->home->shower->out the door, oops, now it is 7:00 if everything went perfectly, the heart of rush hour. You get a flat on the ride, some wind, whatever, and you are late for work. You must not have the commute that many of people on the west side have. A lot of people can't line things up in the AM becasue of work commitments, kids, etc. You get a flat/mechanical/whatever on your ride after work, no big deal. Before work, big deal.

    But anyway, the point is that if the trails weren't so crowded, you wouldn't have to hit them at 5 AM. I think most people like the OP who are looking to move into a new living situation would see having to hit the trail at 5AM and ride in the dark to avoid crowds as being a major negative.

  23. #23
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    All you whiners should move everything sucks here, please go to Utah
    BBZ

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Please explain the "modify your behavior" comment. If you work 8-5, on weekdays your choices to avoid crowds are riding really early, which is problematic for those who have to commute, especially if there is no shower where they work, riding in the evening after dark where allowed, or not riding at all. On weekends you pretty much either have to be off the trail by 10, or drive at least an hour to get to a more remote trail.

    The parking area at NTM has even been full this *winter* on any decent weekend day. I can't imagine what it is going to be like mid-April to early-June before the higher trails dry out.

    It isn't going to get any better. There are 20,000 new houses being built between Golden and Longmont in the next few years. Over 7000 of those are in the NW Arvada sacrifice zone around 88th and Indiana, where the closest trails are in Golden and Boulder, which are already the most crowded around.
    I'm not giving away the secrets.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    <snip>
    Best time in the world to ski.. Sunday during a bronco game.
    Fixed that for you.

    Bonus points if you do it on Superbowl Sunday.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    <snip> since there are no plans to improve Highway 93,
    Sure there are - haven't you been hearing all that talk about the 470 extension?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Up at 4:30, 30 minutes from bed to trailhead, ride in the dark, done at 6:30, 30 minutes for trailhead->home->shower->out the door, oops, now it is 7:00 if everything went perfectly, the heart of rush hour. You get a flat on the ride, some wind, whatever, and you are late for work. You must not have the commute that many of people on the west side have. A lot of people can't line things up in the AM becasue of work commitments, kids, etc. You get a flat/mechanical/whatever on your ride after work, no big deal. Before work, big deal.

    But anyway, the point is that if the trails weren't so crowded, you wouldn't have to hit them at 5 AM. I think most people like the OP who are looking to move into a new living situation would see having to hit the trail at 5AM and ride in the dark to avoid crowds as being a major negative.

    To Each his Own.

    Trail traffic over the last few years-img_0108.jpg

    First Trax - Wednesday (3/5) Morn pre-sunrise - please keep sleeping in while I enjoy a lil slice of heaven before hittin up I-70.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Sure there are - haven't you been hearing all that talk about the 470 extension?
    You mean the Jefferson Porkway? Little known fact: right in the traffic projections they had to provide to DRCOG in the plans for that tollway, they projected that traffic on Highway 93 all the way to Boulder will see increases if it is built, which is one of the reasons Golden is fighting it. At the other end, Superior has filed lawsuits because McCaslin will also be overrun.

    I doubt very many commuters will be willing to pay the $5 toll each way to go 11 miles. It will mostly be used by buses, tourists and business traffic, but of course all of those will funnel down 93 through Golden and past the NTM trailhead first.

  29. #29
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    The best part about the planned C-470 extension into Golden is the clause that prohibits any improvements to the nearby roads, as that would encourage people to bypass the tollway. Just look at the road going through Broomfield... Dillon Rd is an absolute cluster-f*ck because of it.

    As for the original argument, I think the easy answer is YES, there is an increase in trail traffic because there's an increase in the overall population with only a few new trails in the area. However, if you're willing to change your habits and ride at off-peak times or when the weather isn't great, I personally think it's not bad. I've ridden plenty of times this winter when it was 35 degrees or the winds were gusting to 40 mph and I was the only one out there.

  30. #30
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    All the trails have gotten so busy that nobody goes there anymore.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    All you whiners should move everything sucks here, please go to Utah
    No. Its terrible here.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    You mean the Jefferson Porkway? Little known fact: right in the traffic projections they had to provide to DRCOG in the plans for that tollway, they projected that traffic on Highway 93 all the way to Boulder will see increases if it is built, which is one of the reasons Golden is fighting it. At the other end, Superior has filed lawsuits because McCaslin will also be overrun.

    I doubt very many commuters will be willing to pay the $5 toll each way to go 11 miles. It will mostly be used by buses, tourists and business traffic, but of course all of those will funnel down 93 through Golden and past the NTM trailhead first.
    Meh. You can't stop progress.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowtron View Post
    No. Its terrible here.
    Liar.

  34. #34
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    #FrontRangeProblems

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Please explain the "modify your behavior" comment. If you work 8-5, on weekdays your choices to avoid crowds are riding really early, which is problematic for those who have to commute, especially if there is no shower where they work, riding in the evening after dark where allowed, or not riding at all. On weekends you pretty much either have to be off the trail by 10, or drive at least an hour to get to a more remote trail.

    The parking area at NTM has even been full this *winter* on any decent weekend day. I can't imagine what it is going to be like mid-April to early-June before the higher trails dry out.

    It isn't going to get any better. There are 20,000 new houses being built between Golden and Longmont in the next few years. Over 7000 of those are in the NW Arvada sacrifice zone around 88th and Indiana, where the closest trails are in Golden and Boulder, which are already the most crowded around.
    Maybe stop riding North Table....yeah it is busy now that is what happens when a parking lot and bathrooms go in. Just a couple years ago I never saw anyone up there. Since it has gotten busy there Chimney/Apex traffic has been less. I ride after work all the time and it rarely is bothersome for me...I do get on the trails a little earlier as I leave work at 4:00, but still....not sure what people are expecting the sport is growing.

    Weekends in the middle of summer I ride the high country and have routes that I won't see anyone for hours at a time....there are a lot of options here within an hour of Golden.

  36. #36
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    Trail traffic is not an issue for me really. I live in Colorado!! How lucky am I? I have such a variety of trails to ride at any given time that sometimes it's hard to choose. I decide this way. (In this order of priority) How much time do I have? How far do I want to go? What views do I want to gawk at? How much climbing do I want to do? About 6 months out of the year I have to take trail surface condition into consideration. The ONLY time I think about the amount of people I'll encounter on the trails are in March and April. You only have so many options during this time. But even then, I'll still go, I'll just lower my expectations of flow. I'm really close to Staunton State Park and am always surprised by the amount of people I see there, even back in the more remote sections, but the riding is hard, new to me, and the views are great, so the people don't even begin to annoy me. I suppose living in Evergreen has it's advantages. My "close" rides are not Apex and GM. That kind of traffic would get old after a while. I'm a teacher so for 10 weeks I can be picky, but Fall is my favorite time to ride and I'm out there with everyone else. Everything close to me, on a perfect Sat morning for example, is downright lonely until I'm about 3 miles from the end. How many times have I gotten to BC and been one of the first cars in the parking lot but returned to a packed house? If you live in metroland, eat breakfast in the car. Get to LairO by 8:00 am and you'll be ahead of all the madness.
    Last edited by pinerider; 03-11-2014 at 04:17 PM.
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    If you read through the thread, to net it out, if you don't mind getting up at 4:30AM and don't have to be to work at a specific time, or can ride in the middle of the day, or you can be out of work and on the trail at 4:00PM, or you don't mind driving at least an hour, then things are great.

    I guess we should sticky this in the "I want to move to the Front Range" thread.

  38. #38
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    Hey! I think you've got it...well done.

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    These threads always make me happy living in C. Springs. Keep Colorado Springs lame!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    All you whiners should move everything sucks here, please go to Utah
    ^^^

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    If you all think the trails are crowded then for sure don't try surfing. At least the mountains are always there. If someone snarks a wave, its gone forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    All you whiners should move everything sucks here, please go to Utah
    Just avoid the SLC area and you're good (that is unless you enjoy smog induced asthma).

  43. #43
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    "Commute" - "Drive to trailhead" - "traffic" - "Parking lot at trail head full"

    Sounds like a lot of people on this thread need to rethink their time to ride, place to live and even job!

    OP: Best time of the year all year to ride is at 6am. 5:30am May, June, July August. Sometimes you might see a few people. They typically say good morning too.

  44. #44
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    Sounds like everyone needs to work with Jeffco to build more trails! And ride to the trail, you ninnies

  45. #45
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    What about a new sport, mountain biking is sooo 2001. Move on to something new and leave those crowded trails alone. After all we are the problem that most of us are dealing with.

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    Trail traffic over the last few years

    I dont know how we survive with 300+ days of sunshine, world class skiing/biking/fishing/paddling/beer/green/etc.

    Back to (insert lesser state here with sarcasm) I go.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgm View Post
    Sounds like everyone needs to work with Jeffco to build more trails! And ride to the trail, you ninnies
    Sure would be nice if the process didn't take a decade or two....
    BBZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgm View Post
    Sounds like everyone needs to work with Jeffco to build more trails! And ride to the trail, you ninnies
    the real problem is with cars. 90-95% of the people riding are driving to a trailhead somewhere thus dealing with traffic, crowded parking areas ect.

  49. #49
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    hmmm, been riding in the Front Range for 12 years now, can't think of a time when I encounterd a trail that was "too" crowded for me to enjoy, I ride after work, weekends, etc. I know that have complained about trail users being stupid, rude and careless, but not sure what is considered "too" crowded to enjoy the ride.
    I really don't get in a twist if I have to stop for other trail users, but that is just the norm for using public property.
    BT
    11 Trek Hifi Delux 23in
    05 Giant NRS 22.5in
    Evergreen Co.
    "All I need is.......two wheels and the truth."

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation: the need's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    I don't mind the traffic when it's encountered. I rather make eye contact with someone, smile and carry on rather than get a Strava PR. Glad to see people getting after it...

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