For local cyclists, it's long been a gripe: No bikes are allowed on the Pikes Peak Highway.
At least not on most days. The recent development of the Pikes Peak Cycling Hillclimb (aka Assault on the Peak) has given riders a chance once a year to ascend the 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado Springs' backyard. But it's not exactly an ideal situation from a cyclist's perspective. While cars zoom up the now-fully paved road year-round, the most grueling climb in our area is off-limits to bikes 364 days a year.
Or, it was. The city and the United States Forest Service have just announced that cyclists will be able to ride the peak from Sept. 4 through 30. The window of opportunity is a test case to see if cyclists should be given permanent access to the peak.
Cycling activist Al Brody has ridden the highway in the past and even descended it on a unicycle. He says he hopes the road will remain open to cyclists, even if there is some risk of injury.
"The pessimists say somebody's going to get killed, and that could happen ... but I think people who use the [Manitou] Incline — it's inherently dangerous," he says. "I don't think it's much different than the Incline and the Incline is a part of our community and people bring their guests to it."
Brody says that if the highway opens it could become a tourist draw.
"I think a lot of people want to say, 'Hey I biked Pikes Peak,'" he says. "It's probably the hardest road in the lower 48 ... most states don't even have that much vertical ... It may become another badge of courage for Colorado Springs."
Pikes Peak Highway announces pilot bicycle program
Pikes Peak - America’s Mountain, in cooperation with the United States Forest Service, announces a pilot program to allow bicycles on the Pikes Peak Highway from September 4 - 30. This limited program will be used to gather information about the feasibility and compatibility of allowing unescorted bicycle riders on the Highway.
This is a non-escorted bicycle program and riders participate at their own risk. All riders must complete a use agreement and liability waiver available at the Pikes Peak Highway tollgate. Because of the extreme nature of the mountain, children under the age of 18 must be escorted by a parent or legal guardian. Riders need to be aware that there will be vehicular traffic and construction on the Highway and should be prepared for changing weather conditions.
There is no parking near the tollgate so any riders planning to drive to the highway and then bike to the summit are encouraged to park at the Crystal Reservoir Visitors Center parking lot or above. All riders must follow all safety and traffic rules, use regulations and hours of operation.
Participants are required to pay the regular admission fee or use one of the Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain passes. North Slope fees and passes are not eligible for this opportunity.
Further details, rules and restrictions can be found at: www.springsgov.com/pikespeak or www.pikespeakcolorado.com.
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