The Mile High City has a new audio tour in town. The tour is a collaboration with VoiceMap, a GPS-activated app that connects travelers to locals through immersive audio storytelling. It’s like having a local friend inside your ear, guiding you and riffing about the surroundings as you wander on foot or by bicycle.
When VoiceMap approached me about creating an audio tour for Denver, I let my imagination loose on what visitors most like to do. Then I got selfish and imagined what I would like to do if I were a tourist in my own hometown. I dreamed up the tour Spokes and Scoops by pairing my two favorite summer-in-the-city pastimes – riding bicycles and sampling the best ice cream in town. The route begins at Little Man Ice Cream in the Highlands and loops through a number of Central Denver neighborhoods before wrapping up on the 16th Street Mall.
The ride features three different ice cream stops, as well as some recommendations for breweries and street tacos along the way. Woven in are shoutouts to public art, place-related personal anecdotes, and thoughts on bicycle culture in Denver. Here are a few tips about how to ace this whimsical nine-mile bike ride in the midsummer heat:
Pace yourself on the ice cream
If three different ice cream stops in one day seems excessive, that’s because it is. The reasoning is that if people can taste wine on winery routes, then there should be an ice cream equivalent. Think of it as a flight of beer, but for ice cream. Go with small single scoops, combine flavors in each scoop if the creamery will let you, opt for cups instead of cones, and share. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a sorbet between all the dairy. The second ice cream stop is Sweet Action, which is known for its coconut milk-based vegan options and tart sorbets.
Use Denver’s B-cycle bikes
No bike? No problem. The tour is designed with the B-cycle bike share system in mind. The starting point is across the street from the 16th and Boulder B-cycle kiosk, and it ends at the Pavilions kiosk. Depending on whether you stop at all the stops and how fast your cycling pace is, plan on two to three hours of rental time.
Drink plenty of water
As I remind listeners halfway through the audio tour, water is key. Good hydration is an age-old public service announcement in the summertime, but it rings especially true for visitors in high and dry Denver, Colorado. I work with tourists full time through my job at a cannabis tour company. The number one reminder for guests is to mind the heat and altitude. Don’t skimp on the water.
Stop for sightseeing
Although they’re not “official” stops on the audio tour, the route passes by some good breweries and Mexican food in the Santa Fe Arts District. I also point out a handful of public art that makes for Instagram-worthy photo ops for both visitors and locals exploring Denver.
A highlight of the tour is pedaling through Cheesman Park, which doubles as a good rest stop. Do as the Denver locals do and sprawl out on grass for some park lounging to help all the dairy digest.
Save room for Goldfish Cheddar at Ice Cream Riot
The third and final creamery stop on the route is Colfax Avenue’s Ice Cream Riot, a fairly new addition to Denver’s gourmet ice cream scene. The creamery’s owner, Jim, goes for pure 90s junk food nostalgia, with creations like Pop Tart ice cream sandwiches and VooDoo Donut mix-ins. Ice Cream Riot’s most attention-grabbing flavor is the Cheddar Goldfish, made with — you guessed it — Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers. It’s a perfect sweet-and-salty finale to a full-on excursion of sampling and pedaling.