Bike rage attacks in Deer Creek Canyon? The search for possible bicycle haters in Jeffco

deer creek challenge bicycle racer.jpg
This Sunday, August 21, the Deer Creek Challenge will take place in Jefferson County's Deer Creek Canyon -- and in advance of the event, even more bicyclists than usually pedal in the area are training there. But not everyone appears to be welcoming. The Jeffco sheriff's office is investigating several incidents of tacks left where bicyclists typically ride and trying to determine if other favorite biking spots have been targeted.

According to Jeffco sheriff's office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley, tacks were first found along the road edges last year, "near the time we were approaching the first Deer Creek Challenge. And there was definitely some conflict last season. We had lots of increased bike traffic up in the canyon because it's become a well-known, great place to train and ride. The word has gotten out, and there's been an impact to our community. And if you know that canyon, there's very little shoulder on the road, if at all. So there's a need for our bicyclists and motorists to share the road."

Some haven't been doing so. Kelley notes that a number of drivers have been ticketed for passing bicyclists too closely, in a way that seemed intentional, while a few summonses have been written for bicyclists who've obstructed automobile traffic in the canyon by refusing to move over or riding in tandem.

Given these problems last summer, the sheriff's office brought members of Deer Creek Canyon homeowners' associations together with representatives of various organized bicycling groups that use the area. Kelley saw the meeting that resulted as extremely positive. "They were able to speak freely and share each other's experiences and try to find some understanding and respect," she recalls. "I thought it went really well."

Nonetheless, tacks have been found in similar Deer Creek Canyon spots on three occasions this summer, and a car got a flat tire after running over a utility blade -- and another blade was found nearby. Investigators don't know if the later incident was related to the first three, but they're looking into the possibility. Likewise, they're investigating two other reports of sharp objects being left along the road's edge in other areas frequented by bicyclists: 32nd Avenue in Golden, near the Coors plant, which many bicyclists use as a route to Lookout Mountain, as well as on Lookout's Lariat Loop.

On August 28, the Loop will be part of the route for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the highest profile bike race to take place around these parts in years. In August 2010, Lance Armstrong joined then-Governor Bill Ritter to announce the event, originally called the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

At this point, Jeffco authorities don't know if the 32nd Avenue and Lariat Loop incidents are the work of bicycle haters. In fact, the Loop hazard was broken glass that could have been left behind by a common litterbug. But given what's going on in Deer Creek Canyon, and the impending debut of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, they're not dismissing the possibility of deliberate sabotage. After all, Kelley says, "there has been some conflict there, with sometimes aggressive motorists not abiding by the rules of the road and not sharing space with bicyclists, and complaints going the other way, too."

Thus far, no one's been injured as a result of the tacks and other bike-path obstacles, but Kelley stresses that if someone is, any person found to be responsible could be charged with assault rather than more minor infractions like criminal mischief. And there's no doubt these kinds of situations can escalate. Take the case of Christopher Loven, a truck driver involved in a crash that killed 73-year-old bicyclist Eugene Howrey. Loven doesn't yet face criminal counts in Howrey's death, but he was convicted of a 2009 bike rage incident and got into a brawl with another bike rider a few years earlier.

In the meantime, Jeffco is stepping up patrols in advance of the two upcoming events and has asked residents of the areas to report anything suspicious. "We're doing everything we can to stop this activity coming up to race time," Kelley says.

Here's a commercial for the inaugural Deer Creek Challenge, in 2010:

More from our Sports archive: "Lance Armstrong doped in opinion of Bicycling editor and Tour De Lance author Bill Strickland."

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12 comments
A nice biker
A nice biker

The tacks on the road, at least in Deer Creek Canyon, started years ago. The locals hate us cyclists, sorry to say.

Gravel
Gravel

Sure.  They all sat in a room and said, "lets flood the area with people and roadblocks just to aggravate the citizens of Jefferson County.  I mean, after all, they are so flush with money they don't need the sales, lodging, tax, and other revenues this event will bring in, so we'll do it just to aggravate the drivers." And then they clapped their hands and gleefully shouted; "Fuck you motorists of Jefferson County! You thought funding construction of roads and bridges to slow you down and screw you over was bad, wait 'til you get a load of one Sunday in August! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA".  

Thedawg
Thedawg

GREAT, I just looked at a map of this course (http://www.deercreekchallenge...., it looks like they are going to completely gridlock the entire Jefferson County foothills this Sunday. There is not a major road in this area that these guys are NOT going to be riding on. I'm all for bicycling and multi-use, but it almost looks like they designed this course to deliberately aggravate anyone who is trying to get around the foothills during this race...

Guest
Guest

That's a pretty sweeping comment to make, nice biker. It's the same on both sides. I live in the area and I am very careful to share the road with bicyclists, of which my wife is one. Many people live in this area BECAUSE of the good biking.  However, we get thousands of bikers on nice weekends and if even one-half of 1% of them are jerks, that's a lotta jerks on the road. They'll ride 3 and 4 abreast instead of single file, blocking the whole road. They'll run red lights in front of oncoming cars then scream at the cars. Again, it's only a tiny percentage of bicyclists who do this -- just as it's only a tiny percentage of drivers/residents who don't like the bikers. So please be a little more circumspect when you start talking about "the locals."

Pete
Pete

I'm a local resident and rider on Deer Creek Canyon and I see the feud from both sides.  A small percentage of bikers are egotistical assholes that I'd like to smack around.  A small percentage of the locals are deserving of jail time for their reckless actions in driving too close and putting tacks down.  I don't have any first hand knowledge about the tacks, but it makes me sick to hear of it and I'll turn that sorry bastard in if i catch him.  I'm happy to report that the street sweeping truck has now gone up and down the road about 10 times in a row this morning!  Have a great ride tomorrow!

EvoW0lf
EvoW0lf

self righteous much?

Scott
Scott

Get over it.  It's one day out 365.

Chad A Bulich
Chad A Bulich

 Very True.  I am a cyclist that lives in Littleton and I drove my family up high grade to show it to them.  A couple groups of cyclists were just a$$holes riding 2-3 people wide. Just from the single drive up I was frustrated with lots of the cyclists.  For some reason a large number of cyclists don't understand what "ride single file" means.  Very frustrating.

A nice biker
A nice biker

Ok, sorry. SOME of the locals hate us cyclists. Maybe the rest of the locals can help us out. Somebody knows the people dropping the tacks.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for the post, Chad. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Guest
Guest

I doubt they're doing the tacks in broad daylight or bragging about it to neighbors (and I drive those roads all the time and never have had a tack in my tire). And 12 years ago Dylan Klebold was one of "the locals" so I hope you don't judge us by his actions either.

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