Mark Velat, owner of Campus Cycles, checks the alignment of the rear tire after a quick repair for Marshall Paulson, of Aurora, at Civic Center Park during Bike to Work Day. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

Bike routes across the Denver metro area were sprinkled Wednesday morning with Bike to Work Day pit stops offering breakfast burritos and other tasty treats along with pitches from cycling advocacy groups, but among all the excitement Shawn Nunez was able to capture it in one sentence.

“Just getting out, and the feel of everything, it’s amazing,” said Nunez, 45, who rides 9.7 miles to work downtown from Commerce City once a week from April to October. “You feel so much better, you’re awake, you’re alert, your body feels good.”

Those were my thoughts exactly after my 17-mile, two-burrito ride from Golden into the city along with the others.

Nunez and Lee Ann Stice, a friend who joins Nunez on her weekly bike commutes, were among the crowd of hundreds at Civic Center Park who were checking out bike-related booths and refueling with free eats and drinks. An estimated 35,000 were expected to take part cross Colorado.

Nunez and Stice recruited two bike-to-work newbies, Lisa Gibbs and Crystal Pando, and they may have created converts.

“I’ve been thinking about joining in on their once-a-week, so it was my chance to see if I could do it,” said Gibbs, 34. “I’m proud of myself. I definitely think I will do it again.”

With visions of pancakes at downtown’s Skyline Park drawing me east, I knew I only had a few hours to make the most of the morning. My first stop was at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden moments before it opened at 6:30 a.m. Volunteer Margaret Martin was in place,

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