Memory game

Day 7
9 miles

Cherry, Clermont, 7th, Monroe.

22nd, 20th, Champa, 19th, Wynkoop.

Cherry Creek, South Platte, Zuni detour, Bear Creek.

20th, Park, 32nd, 35th.

These are a few of the word chains floating in my notebook this week. It’s a new memory game I play: memorize the important streets of my route.

I generally check Google Maps before I step out, though sometimes I use (and always carry with me) the Denver Bike Map. Then I make a mental note of the route, commit the key streets to memory and, as a back up, write them down in a lightweight notebook in case I forget them mid-ride. I’ve gotten pretty good at the game this week and I might soon be able to skip the notebook step.

The thing to remember when you’re agonizing over the route is that you’ll always find a way. You might have to make a few U-turns and you might be off the bike route for a moment, but it always works out.

For example, when I took my 18-mile journey to Littleton on Monday, I hadn’t been on the South Platte trail in years. I saw something about Zuni before I left, so I committed that street name to memory. But I also figured that, since I was riding trails, there would be signs.

There were signs alright, big ones, that read Detour. Of course, I thought they didn’t apply to bikes, so I rode ride up to the path blocks: at Confluence Park and again just south of the football stadium.

Indeed, a small section of the South Platte trail is closed through mid-2012 for reconstruction, but there is a detour for bikes, and the detour is wonderful. If you are heading south from downtown, the detour follows the pedestrian path on the opposite side of the Platte from the bikepath, then you cross the bridge that leads to the stadium and continue along the Platte trail and just a while later hit the trail roadblocks and have to take a hard uphill U-turn up to street level and head over to Zuni.

Zuni! Google Maps bike feature already knew about the detour! Finally making it to that street was like an epiphany. And once you get there, the Zuni detour is a piece of cake: there are big concrete road blocks keeping the cars out of the improvised bike lane, the local Cal Spas offers biker specials and free water bottle refills, and then after crossing 8th avenue you are back on the bikepath.

As for Google Bike Maps, beta version, I encourage all the bikers out there savvy with the routes to check in and report problems while the program is in development. They make it so easy:

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2 thoughts on “Memory game

  1. Ryan J Hanschen says:

    Yes! I just took the South Platte bike trail for the first time LAST NIGHT on my way down to the Finks. I’m used to a lot of gnarly gravel detours on the Clear Creek trail and the North Platte trail and was totally surprised by how deluxe the South Platte detour was. Such a wonderful ride!

    Google Bike Maps did have me cross Federal at 18th – where there isn’t even a light. I’ll have to let them know there are better routes out there!

  2. erin says:

    Nice, Ryan! You got me thinking that I should organize a standing bike trip!

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