We mountain bikers look forward to summer all year long–those glorious few months of warm weather, when the long days and cool evenings beckon. Perhaps nothing represents the hallmark of summer more aptly than road trips, loading up bikes, buddies and beer, and leaving the responsibilities of daily life behind for a carefree itinerary dictated by nothing other than dirt. Colorado-based photographer Liam Doran recently did just that–setting out with Mike Day and Flynn George to explore a few classic Front Range riding spots.

In the first of a four-part series, Doran takes us to Colorado Springs, where the guys spent the day at North Cheyenne Cañon Park near neighboring Manitou Springs, hitting several loops on the trail network known for its decomposed-granite characteristics, rock outcroppings and mountain vistas. They charged Pipeline, a 3.5-mile descent marked by rock gardens, jumps, flow and an actual old metal pipeline, dropping 1,200 feet in elevation from the oxygen-deprived start at 10,200 feet above sea level. Seven Bridges served up a technical mix of rock gardens and bridge crossings–er, seven of them in fact–over North Cheyenne Creek in a steep descent that loses 1,450 feet in elevation in 1.9 miles.

Stayed tuned for the second part of the series next week, when Doran and crew head north to another Front Range gem: Buffalo Creek.