While it’s true that Boulder lacks an abundance of trails right outside of town, that doesn’t mean we always have to get in our cars. We can put together several rad rides using the bus.
I have a friend who calls RTD “Reason To Drive.” Even if you agree with this assessment, hear me out.
I’ve got three options for you: (click the links to see the bus schedules for these routes)
The “N” – Boulder to Nederland. Hop on this on a Saturday morning, and you won’t be alone. Lots of folks have already figured out that this is the rad way to get to the West Mag area and beyond.
If you get there early, you can snag two spots on the front of the bus. If you miss out on those, you just slide your bike into the cargo bays. If there are a lot of bikes, be prepared to take your front wheel out and carry it on board. For that reason, you might want to bring a disc brake insert as well, so you don’t get your bike off the bus and find that the front brake lever’s been accidentally pulled with no rotor in place.
You can then unload at the Nederland Park-n-Ride. From there, the world is your oyster — ride as much as you want and then ride down Magnolia Road/Boulder Canyon to Boulder, or catch the bus here to head back home. Keep in mind that Magnolia climbs out of Nederland for some distance before it turns downhill, so save some energy for that climb (or avoid stuffing yourself at Katmandu restaurant beforehand).
The second bus option is awesome also, but it requires you to be available in the middle of the day on a weekday, since the bus only runs Monday through Friday in commuter hours. You folks that have flexible schedules will love this, since the trails should be relatively uncrowded.
The “GS” – Boulder to Golden. Although I haven’t done this route yet, my research shows that you can catch the bus in Boulder, take it to Golden, and choose the West 58th Avenue stop. From there, ride south to 56th Ave., turn west, and ride about 1.7 miles to the bottom entrance to White Ranch.
If you like climbing, this is the ride for you. The ascent up Belcher Hill is a toughie. Once you ascend into the park, there’s tons of riding to be had. Check out a map here. And then you simply descend to the bottom, ride back out to 58th, and catch the bus home. Easy as pie.
The final option: This one is also Monday through Friday only. And the bus hours are limited, so you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly. But again, the lack of crowds will make it more than worth it.
The “Y” – Boulder to Lyons. If you’ve got time and energy to ride either to Lyons or back –but not both– this is the way to go. Ride to Lyons using the trails around the Boulder Reservoir, connect them to Heil Valley Ranch, and then cruise the Picture Rock Trail to Hall Ranch. Do a lap of that, grab a snack at the Stone Cup Cafe, and catch the bus back to Boulder. Killer. Or do it in reverse; you can’t go wrong either way.
Visit the RTD fares page for the current rates. Or hit up your employer for the Eco-Pass you didn’t think you’d use. Then you can ride for free.
A few photos from my recent Nederland bus adventure: