Those who gathered, despite the prediction of snow, at Golden Oldy Cyclery at 9:30 AM on April 22, 2013 “National Bicycle Greenway Day” and “Earth Day” in Golden included Nannette Johnson from Georgia (who had participated in NBG Mayor’s Rides there in past years) and her life-long friend Dan Dougherty. We proceeded to ride (a downhill coast)
the 2 miles to City Hall in downtown Golden along the side of “Clear Creek”, an internationally known white water kayak and canoe racing course and a tributary of the Platte River (in “How America Can Bike and Grow Rich” , NBG Director, Martin Krieg, talks about the importance of the Platte River in settling the West and TransAmerica travel, ed) that runs all the way to the border of Nebraska and Iowa. Clear Creek, which has its headwaters at the Continental Divide 40 miles to the West, and which was famous for being the center of the Colorado Gold fields during the Gold mining bonanza, which populated Colorado in the 1860’s, is the heart of Golden.
We were warmly greeted by Mayor Marjorie Sloan with her husband, Dendy. Also we were joined by Police Chief, Bill Kilpatrick, City Manager Mike Bestor, City Communications Director Karlyn Tilley, City Councilwoman Saoirse Charis-Graves, and my very good friend Linda Hartman. After a round of introductions in the lovely late April sunshine, Mayor Sloan read the beautifully crafted and moving proclamation of National Bicycle Greenway Day in Golden. The text was greatly enhanced from the guideline which I had provided and from previous year’s proclamations. It featured the history of Golden’s long and significant participation in cycling, the sustainability aspects of cycling, the tie to Earth Day, the integration of Golden’s participation into the broader world community cycling and sustainability movements and in specificity, the National Bicycle Greenway movement.
After a short photo session, the Honorable Mayor Sloan and collected riders proceeded westward on Clear Creek’s North Bank trail (the city has trails on both north and south banks) watching the rapids which provide the place for sport and looking forward to the foothills of the Rockies only hundreds of yards ahead. These foothills host many of Golden’s other sporting activities, but the threat of a strong Spring storm was keeping the Parasailors grounded this morning. Their launch site at 1000 foot above our ride was not populated. As for the many mountain bike trails in the foothills, they were still soft from the melt of the previous weeks snows and not appropriate for riding until they dried out. However, Golden’s mountains (surrounding the city on all sides) were teeming with hikers prepared to don their snowshoes.
When we reached the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon we turned north on to another of Golden’s Greenway bike/pedestrian paths and climbed a bank out of the lower river valley to the upper trail and made a short stop to look back to the east across the city and it’s community gardens, across the Colorado School of Mines (with its gold domed Guggenheim Hall) and out east to both North and South Table Mountains. South Table Mountain has its crowning “Castle Rock” as a symbol of Golden – rising up 588 feet above the river as measured in 1859 by Captain Berthoud.
As we looked east there was a dramatic transformation in the sky. Our sunshine was being covered with an aggressive march of black and turbulent clouds which foretold the arrival of the fourth straight weekly blizzard. While these blizzards (the previous two each provided my gardens with 15 inches of snow) are welcome in helping raise our precipitation levels and reduce the chances of a repeat of last year’s terrible Colorado drought based wildfires, it was apparent that the second part of the ride was going to be more challenging than one would expect for a ceremonial ride. Our riding group then continued the city loop back to City Hall. There, those who were planning not to do the
circumnavigation of North Table Mountain took their leave. The rest of us, buffeted by winds from the north which had the (previously tranquil) City Hall flags strained in their efforts to point south, discussed the advisability of heading directly back (southerly) to Golden Oldy Cyclery and the tour of its museum. Prudence being the greater part of valor, this latter course was adopted, and we chased the rapidly fleeting sunshine south with a virtual gale at our backs. Our ride ended up being six miles in length – surrounded with the beautiful scenery of the city and the full experience of the variability provided by the natural world.
Photos and proclamation at BikeRoute.com
Golden Oldy Cyclery
“The Sustainable Museum of Sustainable Transportation”
“Setting an Example for Museums Everywhere in how they can set an Example for their Patrons and for the World”