They lifted the ban for cyclists up Lefthand Canyon (yet James Canyon just got closed this week to cyclists) so I took a ride up probably one of my most frequently ridden mountain routes last Saturday and I was shocked by what I saw. First off, this was my first time I’ve ventured into the mountains since the great flood and while I’ve seen plenty of pictures just like the rest of of, experiencing the aftermath of Mother Nature’s fury was shocking. Lefthand will not return anytime soon to the route we once remembered but more importantly this road while open to cyclists really is not a place for the many cyclists seen out there in years pasts. There are whole lanes missing from the road, very loose sand/gravel and the shoulders while present at times are for many unrideable since they have not been sweep in months. Obviously the county has more important things to deal with in the reconstruction than to worry about sweeping what remains of the shoulders for cyclists doing disaster tourism.
In addition, the scenery is also not the same, it almost feels like a completely new road as much of the views from the sides are so different. I see things previously hidden by nature’s debris of time and now the flood has cleared her trash away leaving a new beauty to behold for years to come. Rivers are wider, lines are new and even in a few places the roadway takes a new route.
I’m sure the county will bring Lefthand and James Canyon back to it’s previous state or better but don’t hold your breath waiting for it. Use this summer as an opportunity to explore new routes and new areas, Lefthand is great but maybe get out your mountain bike and explore some of the gravel routes of North Boulder or leave the bubble and check out some of the great routes around Golden. See All bike routes in the Front Range. Not sure of the status of some roads, checkout Boulder County's webpage dedicated to road status for cyclists. At the least, get out of your comfort zone and try one new route this year as we all wait for some mountain routes to recover