The view from two wheels |

The view from two wheels

I won’t soon forget my first Colorado bike ride.

It was May 2015, and each day left me more in love with Glenwood Springs and the surrounding communities. From the moment I entered the canyon, I was captivated by this place.

One afternoon, my college roommates and I loaded three bikes onto the back of the car. Evan, one roommate’s husband, drove me, Paula and Heather to Carbondale. We parked near the Village Smithy, took a few goofy pictures and then set off for the Rio Grande Trail.

I’m not much of a talker in these circumstances, so I pedaled ahead while the other women cruised and chatted. The path’s slight descent made me feel like I was flying. But the landscape around the trail was too beautiful to see only as a blur. I periodically stopped to take photos, take a breath and take it all in.

That evening, after our 13-mile ride concluded and I began slathering lotion on my sunburn, I made a declaration: If I moved to Colorado, I would have to buy a bike.

(I’d also need to re-apply sunscreen.)

I came close to bike buying a couple of times after I returned to Alabama. Birmingham’s hills and — more importantly — uninformed drivers make it a tough place for a road cyclist. A weekly group ride that set out from downtown tempted me, and I joined whenever I could borrow a bike. But I never found the right fit. I never committed to a bike of my own.

Then I moved to this cycling haven. Since my January arrival, I’ve said I would need a bike once the snow melted. In the final days of editing the Post Independent and Aspen Times’ annual Cycling Guide, I brought my new ride home.

What a treat to edit those trail guides, compiled by staff who know the terrain well, as I take to the road myself. I’ll toss this guide in my pack as I set out on my Specialized Tarmac Elite. I’ll give a copy to Evan, who purchased a mountain bike days before I brought home my road bike. And though I’ve already set physical goals, I still intend to stop and drink in the Western Slope’s beauty.

See you on the road.

Carla Jean Whitley hopes to regularly commute via bicycle this summer. Email her at

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