NAHBS 2013 Denver details

The deals are done and the contracts signed. All systems are Go for NAHBS 2013.

MAHBS 2013 takes place at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202. The Colorado Convention Center nestles between Colfax Ave, Speer Blvd and Stout Street. The state Capitol is just a couple of blocks south, but the interesting parts of Denver are to the north at Lodo.

You can get NAHBS discounted reservations at the host hotel, the Denver Crowne Plaza, by clicking here. The Crowne Plaza is just a block away from the Convention Center.

I’ve enjoyed biking throughout Denver’s Central Business District, around the State Capitol and Lower Downtown or “LoDo,” Denver’s mixed use artsy historic district. Confluence Park, the REI flagship store, the the Cherry Creek and Platte River trails are worth exploring by bike.

Some of the arterials like Speer and Colfax can be dicey. Bikes are prohibited from the 16th Street “Pedestrian” (so-called) Mall. Also, Denver’s bus and light rail operators are among the most unprofessional and rudely aggressive I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the road with. Sidewalk riding is illegal in Denver, unless you’re on the sidewalk that’s a designated bike route, which is Speer Blvd where Denver also has a mandatory sidepath law. Confused, yet?

Normally, I’d tell you to skip the rental car after flying into the airport and ride your bike or transit to the convention center, but Denver’s airport is halfway to Kansas, and the RTD “SkyRide” service between Denver and the airport is expensive and slow. Luggage (including your boxed bikes) go underneath the buses. Weigh that against the expense and hassle of renting a car and then storing it over the weekend at your downtown hotel. You’ll want to extend your trip a couple of days to hit the slopes, and the only transit-accessible ski area from Denver requires a connection in Boulder. Reserve ahead of time because rental cars are often completely booked on ski season weekends.

Bikes are allowed on Pena Boulevard, which is the highway connecting DEN with Denver. Note you’ll be sharing the road with 70 MPH traffic and crossing merge zones filled with lost travelers who don’t know where they’re going. I’ve biked Pena and Tower Road a couple of times. If you plant to bike from the airport, you should be comfortable riding alongside very fast traffic while avoiding shoulder debris.

On the other hand, the hotel and convention center are easily bikeable from the Amtrak stop at Denver Union Station. If you want to walk the free Mall Shuttle bus on 16th Street will take you most of the way.

Amtrak’s daily California Zephyr train stops at the Winter Park ski resort. Again, it’s important to plan ahead because the Zephyr is frequently sold out. Theoretically, you could take the morning westbound train and arrive for a half day of skiing at 10 AM, with the return train departing the same day at 3:50 PM. Reality — the Zephyr is rarely on time, and can be as much as a full day late! Have plenty of extra funds on hand for room, board, and emergency transportation just in case.

If you’d like to make a side trip to Boulder to check out their excellent bike facilities, note that it’s about a one hour bus ride from downtown Denver. Denver RTD buses have bike racks on the front. Biking from Denver to Boulder involves zigzagging on a good 30 miles of surface streets.

NAHBS show dates are February 22-24 2013. Weather will likely be sunny and 60 degrees with temps dropping well below freezing at night, but Denver does get socked in by a serious blizzard about once every five years so watch the forecast. Snow removal from bike paths is mostly adequate. Be aware that speeding motorists who lose control on Speer Blvd sometimes land on the Cherry Creek Trail below.

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