Posted: April 10, 2014
Chef Laura: Take me out to the ball game
Getting around Denver this springLaura Cook Newman
Last week, I gave a friend a ride to the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day. If I didn’t know any better, I thought we took a wrong turn and ended up in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. Aside from the absence of beads, purple-clad people were happily stumbling down Market Street. Navigating a car through the revelry was not my idea of “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
While inching along the intersection of Blake and 20th, I observed every kind of transportation possible. Alternative types of transport totally trumped the traditional taxi. I made sure my car-less friend took notice of her options for the next home game. Here’s the run down:
Like the village bicycle (insert Austin Powers’ joke here), B-cycle is a bike sharing system. Operating over 700 rental bicycles in the Denver Metro area, you’ve probably already seen these sleek silver cruisers spinning by. Until April 30, the annual membership, normally $80, is on sale for $69.
Pick up your wheels and race around town channeling your inner Freddie Mercury if you’re in a good mood, or Almira Gulch if you’re in a wicked one. The front mounted basket is perfect for stowing your purse or a small nipping terrier. Then return your ride to any of the 82 B-cycle stations around town.
And of course, there’s an app for that.
About the same size as Shaquille O’Neal's sneaker, Denver’s Car2Go automobiles are stepping into the spotlight. There was an infestation of minuscule, white Smart Fortwo cars in LoDo last Friday. Their motto is “Spontenaity on Wheels.” Think of Car2Go like B-cycle without the hitching post.
There’s a $35 registration fee (paid once), then you can grab a car, pick up one friend, and tool around for $0.38 per minute. That includes gas, insurance, and get this….parking! Yup – squeeze this lil’ baby into any legal public spot and leave it. Don’t pay the meter! At $13.99 per hour max, that price alone pays for parking.
Perhaps you’ve seen random cars with a fuzzy pink mustache attached to the grill and snorted “what a stupid hipster!” Well, you’d be half right. Those “stupid hipsters” aren’t sporting a ‘stache to be ironic, they’re actually…wait for it…working.
Lyft is “your friend with a car.” Download the free app, plug in your credit card, request a ride, and in minutes, a car comes to collect you. With a fist bump from the driver and an offer to sit in the front seat, they take you wherever you want to go on the cheap.
At the end of your ride, you rate your driver (Psst! They get to rate their passengers too). Give ‘em 3 stars out of 5 or less, and you’ll never get matched up again.
Lyft has a fun app with photos so you know what your driver looks like as well as their car. And there is no cash exchanged. These safety measures remove the creepy factor of the usually abhorring “Don’t accept rides from strangers!”
Uber is like Lyft’s grown up brother. Instead of crawling into a mustached Mini Cooper, El Camino, or Prius, Uber’s cars are all mature-like. Think black 4-door sedan or something equally respectable. Similar to Lyft, you summons a car via your smart phone and a map appears with all the blinking cars in your area reminiscent of a Space Invaders screenshot. The rest of the experience is a cross between Lyft and a traditional cab ride. Like a cab, you sit in the back seat and they help you with your bags; like Lyft, you pay with your phone, and don’t exchange cash.
Whether you’re traveling from Littleton, County Line, or JeffCo, the light rail is now equipped to get you (close to) Coors Field. Great for weekly commuters and a fun way to take the kiddos on a “choo-choo” to the ball park.
Once you get downtown, you may want to explore beyond the free 16th Street MallRide. Thankfully, Mile High Pedicabs offer a quirky way to get around. Descendants of rickshaws, these overgrown tricycles are pedal-powered by licensed drivers. Part transportation, part novelty, it’s like the frugal version of a horse and carriage ride.
So this baseball season, the token “I don’t have a ride” is no longer an acceptable excuse to miss a chance to enjoy an afternoon atop the new Rooftop @ Coors Field.
These new modes of transportation are so cool it makes hailing a cab seem, well…pedestrian.
Laura Cook Newman is a professional Chef and Training Manager for a Fortune 500 food manufacturer. She earned her chops at Johnson & Wales University, has an MBA in Marketing and hosts a blog for behind-the-scenes insights on the food service industry. Contact her at www.ThreeHotsAndaCot.net