Cycling in the Front Range is growing, growing for road cyclists, commuters and mountain biking is bouncing back and exploding again, especially at the ski resorts. But new roads near popular cycling routes are not being built and probably won't be anytime soon even as numbers increase. With growth comes tenstion (Denver Post). Over the weekend police presence was increased on Deer Creek Canyon according to some readers who ride that route often. Tensions over cyclists doubling up or even riding in packs frustrates residents on these canyon roads but for some simply the existence of cyclists is troubling... but we aren't going away or reducing in our numbers. Using unscientific evaluation I'd say some of these popular routes have easily doubled in cycling traffic in that last 10 years so imagine what the next 10 or 20 years might bring, the canyon roads could be turned into what today might look like a stage route of Ride the Rockies. Even if we as cyclists choose to obey the law the tensions will exists. What are some of the ways to mitigate these tension?
Mountain bikers have a simple solution, more trails. Trails cost a fraction of the cost of a road or a shoulder on the road, the only blocker they run into are fears of environmental damage and costs (even though it is low it still takes money to build and maintain).
Commuters are getting bike paths, bike lanes and sharrows. They don't suffer as much from the "popular route" problem because any and every road is a possible road a bike could be on. Their greatest problem is communities that don't support cycling, or lawless cyclists who live by a different set of rules.
But what about road cyclists and growth on popular routes? Shoulders could be built but there are probably only a handful of front range roads this applies to. How will routes like Deer Creek Canyon or Lefthand Canyon deal with 1000+ cyclists a day on the road?