The view from two wheels | PostIndependent.com

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 cj@postindependent.com.