Aspen, The Know/Denver Post, August 2020
How to spend a long weekend biking in Aspen, even if you’re a beginner
While my bike coach, Piglet, rode ahead on the downhill mountain bike trail at the Snowmass Bike Park, I followed cautiously behind, trying to remember what she had said about not having a “death grip” on the handlebars.
Crouched in the neutral downhill stance she taught me earlier in the day, I traversed over rocks, cruised around turns and tried my best to look up from the trail every once in awhile to catch a glimpse of the lavender, yellow and white wildflowers among the groves of leggy aspen trunks.
This Colorado valley is one of just seven regions in the world to earn the gold-medal title from IMBA’s cycling experts, who also judged the area’s bike shops, rental options, guides and instructors. What’s more, they considered what it would be like to spend a bike-centric vacation in the valley, taking into account the accessibility of other activities, entertainment options, bars, restaurants, lodging and shopping.
But perhaps most important, the region stood out as an award-worthy cycling destination because it’s friendly and accessible to beginners. Some of IMBA’s goals include breaking down barriers to entry into the sport and helping people at all ability levels improve their cycling skills.
Wondering how else to spend your time? Here are a few ideas.
- Check out the cleverly named “Sculpturally Distanced” exhibit at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass. Here, you’ll see 17 sculptures from local, national and international artists.
Take a tour of the art and grounds of the historic Aspen Institute, aka Aspen Meadows Resort, which was designed in the German Bauhaus style by architect and artist Herbert Bayer between 1953 and 1973.
- Learn about the foraging exploits of Barclay Dodge, owner and chef at Bosq in downtown Aspen. Dodge, who grew up in Aspen and trained all over the world as a chef, regularly heads into the nearby wilderness to forage wild foods and utensils like watercress, pine needles and serviceberry branches. The restaurant’s menu highlights his foraged ingredients.
- Wander through the Aspen Historical Society’s Wheeler/Stallard Museum to learn about the region’s humble silver mining beginnings. Or, take a guided historic walking tour with one of the society’s docents.
- Learn about the valley’s flora and fauna on an informative guided hike with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
- Take a socially distanced yoga class among the wildflowers on the top of Aspen Mountain with Aspen Shakti yoga studio.
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