My First Boulder Mountain Bike Ride

21 years ago in the Fall of 1990, my mom and I where cresting the hill on Route 36 West looking at the Boulder Flatirons through the windshield of our rental car. Even though I was starting school at the University of Colorado in just a few days, it was the first time I had ever seen Boulder. I couldn’t believe the spectacular view. I also couldn’t wait to explore those mountains on my awesome graduation gift: a mountain bike. 35 pounds of heavy-duty chromoly just begging to get dirty! Gazing on those Flatirons as we dropped into Boulder, I thought to myself, there are hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails in every nook and cranny of those hills and I am going to ride every inch of them. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

After checking into our hotel room, I mounted my new trusty steed and made my way west toward the Flatirons, where I knew I would find a mountain bike trail. There I was huffing and puffing up Flagstaff Mountain Road in my ratty t-shirt, sweat pant cut-off shorts, hiking boots and no helmet. After a quarter of a mile, I had only made it to the first overlook and I thought I was going to have coronary shock as my heart was beating uncontrollably. I pulled over to the side of the road to catch my breath and noticed a trail sign across the parking lot. Jackpot! A mountain bike trail! I made my way over to the trailhead and looked at the sign. It clearly stated, “No Bikes.”

What? No bikes. That can’t be right. This is Boulder! Everyone has a mountain bike! The sign must say no bikes for safety reasons. So, I made my way down the trail with a big ole grin on my face. This was my first Colorado singletrack! Man, was I cool. I approached a couple of hikers, slowed down and said hello. They looked at me like I was an three-headed alien. I shrugged and continued onward. The next hiker I encountered flagged me down to get my attention.

He said, ” Hey man, you know there are no bikes allowed on this trail? You could get a ticket and a fine for riding this trail.”

“Really?!” I said in a state of disbelief.

He replied, “Yep, there are many trails in Boulder for hikers only and you can’t ride your bike on any of them.”

“Well, where can I ride?” I asked.

He went on to explain there are not a lot of trails for mountain bikers in Boulder and I would need to get a map to find the few that existed. I said thanks and began to walk my bike down the trail. A few seconds later, he yelled down to me, “Oh yeah, and get a helmet!”

So, here I am 22 years later. I have a nicer mountain bike, I can ride to the top of Flagstaff , I have a helmet, but I still do not have a trail to ride out of Boulder. Which brings me to the point of this article:

JOIN THE Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance NOW and help create an excellent trail experience for EVERYONE, bikers, hikers, trail runners, environmentalists, equestrians and dog walkers included!

TO JOIN, VISIT: bouldermountainbike.org

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