Car Free Journey: Boulder, CO

A Bicyclist’s Weekend in Boulder

Boulder has over 300 miles of bike trails. Riding a bike is a fun way to see Boulder and experience the town like a local. Boulder is relatively small and compact with bike paths and lanes everywhere. It’s mostly flat which makes it easy to bike around town with shops that rent cruiser bikes or fast racing bikes for an hour or a day. Even though Boulder is home to passionate cyclists such as Olympic bike racers and the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the opportunities to see Boulder by bike are plentiful with easy urban trails for carefree cruising or hard-core mountain trails for gnarly riding.

Valmont Bike Park – The largest free urban bike park in America opened just this summer on June 11, 2011. Valmont Bike Park is a 40-acre off-road bike park with competition-grade cyclo-cross racing trails, big dirt jumps, dual slalom tracks, pump tracks, and slope-style trails. That’s 1.7 million square feet of off-road cycling for all levels of riders. Family friendly features include a trike track, a learning loop, a kids’ play area and restrooms. Plus, it’s accessible from a number of the city’s bike trails. http://www.valmontbikepark.org/

Rentals and Tours – There are six outfitters in town that offer bicycling tours. From two-hour tours around the picturesque downtown area to full day adventures in the mountains – on road bikes or mountain bikes – there is an outfitter for every level of cyclist. There are four bike rental shops in town and most of them are located near hotel rooms. Pick up a map and have some fun. http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/

The Boulder Creek Bike Path – This is the premier cruiser ride in town. The Boulder Creek Path meanders for five miles along the scenic and gentle Boulder Creek that runs right through Boulder’s historic district. Some of it is paved, some is dirt and there are spots for picnics, wading, tubing and strolling.

Top Chef Bicycling Itinerary – Boulder was named “America’s Foodiest Town” in October 2010 by Bon Appetite magazine. It is also the home of Hosea Rosenberg, the winner of Top Chef: Season 5. He suggests this bicycling itinerary to discover Boulder’s food scene:

  • Rent cruiser bikes from University Bikes on Pearl Street. Ride up Pearl Street to Eben G. Fine Park and then catch the Boulder Creek Bike Path.
  • Cruise along the path, following Boulder Creek, into historic downtown Boulder.
  • Have coffee at the Trident Booksellers.
  • Ride the bike a few more blocks along the Boulder Creek Path to the Boulder Farmers’ Market. Grab a meal prepared by a local chef. Talk with the growers.
  • Continue the afternoon shopping and people watching along the Pearl Street Mall. Don’t miss Peppercorn – a cooking store that’s been described as one of the best in the country.
  • Have dinner where he got his start, Jax Fish House.
  • Sleep, eat, repeat.

To learn more about Hosea and the other top bicycling chefs, see http://www.boulderslicedanddiced.com/

Go Boulder has a map of Boulder bike trails and other destinations that are accessible by bike. Go to: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8774&Itemid=2973. There is even a web site for specific cycling directions to specific destinations in Boulder. Go to: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8840&Itemid=2973.

Where to Rent Bicycles

For short-trips, Boulder’s B-Cycle bike sharing program is worth checking out. A 24-hour membership costs $5.42, a 7-day membership is $16.25, and an annual membership costs $54.16 (all rates include tax). There is no additional cost for the first hour, each additional half hour costs $4. For more information, visit: http://boulder.bcycle.com/.

For rentals over an hour, consider one of the following bike rental companies:

Bicycle Village

  • 2100 28th Street, Boulder, CO 80301
  • Phone: (303) 440-8525
  • Visit Website

Summer Hours: (April-August) Mon-Fri 9am-8pm Sat 9am-6pm Sun 10am-5pm Winter Hours: (September-March) Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Sat 9am-6pm Sun 11am-5pm

Boulder Bikesmith

  • 2432 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, CO 80302
  • Phone: (303) 443-1132
  • Visit Website

Open Daily 9am-6pm

Full Cycle

  • 1211 13th Street
  • Boulder, CO 80302
  • Phone: (303) 440-7711
  • Visit Website

Summer Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Sat 10am-6pm Sun 11am-5pm Winter Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm Sat 10am-6pm Sun 10am-5pm

University Bikes

  • 839 Pearl Street
  • Boulder, CO 80302
  • Phone: (303) 444-4196
  • Visit Website

Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Sat 10am-6pm Sun 10am-5pm

For More Information: For more information about Boulder attractions and accommodations, contact the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visit http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/, or call (303) 442-2900.

Steve Atlas spotlights where to visit or live without depending on a private automobile. Visit Steve’s website: http://carfreeamerica.org. View past Car Free Journey columns, and special reports about good places to live without a car at www.pubtrantravel.com. E-mail Steve with your comments or ideas for future columns at steveatlas45@yahoo.com.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

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