So you've reached the trailhead. Now you're ready to fly down the pavement, setting a new land speed record, right?
          One of the biggest challenges facing trail users is retaining the right to use those trails. Not everyone welcomes trails in their area, and many people actively fight to have them removed from their property or neighborhoods. They cite out-of-control bicyclists injuring bystanders or hikers trashing public lands as ammunition in their fight against the paths. Unless we're all careful, a few thoughtless individuals could make us lose the wonderful paths throughout the state.
          To prevent that, trail users have adopted the ‘rules of the road'. The ten common-sense rules:
1.    Cyclists and skaters should yield to horses and hikers.
2.    Cyclists and skaters should maintain control at all times. This means keeping your speed within reasonable limits, and slowing down when approaching blind curves.
3.    Obey all signs and postings.
4.    Respect public property. Close any gates you opened, and don't damage someone's land.
5.    Wear a helmet when cycling and pads when skating.
6.    Do not obstruct a path by stopping in the middle of it.
7.    Always walk or ride on the right.
8.    When passing someone, call out to warn them.
9.    Do not litter!
10.   Use extra caution when wearing headphones. You may not hear someone warning you from behind.


          Cycling or skating in Colorado presents additional challenges. There are several things to beware of to stay safe on the trails:
* Dehydration. During the hot summer months, you use a lot of fluids while exercising. Be sure to always carry enough water for your ride or hike, and then add a little more.
* Weather. Especially at high altitudes, the weather can change dramatically in a short time. You should keep spare clothing and coverings with you, in case those beautiful billowing clouds turn black when they get overhead.
* Sun. It takes years for skin cancer to develop, but more cases are discovered every year. Unless you think the leathery look is the way to go, use a sunscreen of 25 SPF or above. Also consider riding or skating before 10 o'clock or after 3, when the rays aren't as bad.
* Altitude. Unless you live in the high country, the elevation in the mountains may take quite a bit out of you. Even the fittest flatlander may find themselves short of breath while trying to conquer Vail Pass.
* Wildlife. Some of the trails may provide the opportunity to experience wildlife. Just remember -- wildlife are wild and unpredictable. Beware of mountain lions and rattlesnakes, and treat all animals with respect.
* Spares. Always carry spares and a tool kit. You don't want to get stranded on an isolated stretch of trail at dusk!

If you would like to receive a free copy of the Colorado Bicycle manual and wallet cards, fax your orders to Gay Page, CDOT Bicycle/Pedestrian Program, 303-757-9727. Be certain to include your name; organization (if applicable); address (UPS address if ordering a box of 100); City-State-Zip; phone, and quantity of manuals and/or cards.
You can also receive a free information packet with the manual, wallet card, maps, and other freebies from Bicycle Colorado, fax 719-539-5119.

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