A Visit to a Bike Culture Town • Part II

OK, I know it’s not a bike photo, but I like tulips.

Now that I got the infrastructure critique out of my system, I’ll tell you about some other cool stuff in Boulder.

University Bicycles — It’s more than a (huge) bike store, it’s a bike museum. These folks absolutely live up to their mission statement. They were friendly and welcoming. A salesman spent about 20 minutes showing me good routes to and from the start of a ride we found on the Boulder Cycling Club website. He also showed me a great ride route for the following day. When I came back in with a misbehaving freewheel hub, they put it right on the stand and got it working for me. And man, could a bike lover spend some hours in that store! It’s every bit the kind of shop you’d expect to find in a bike culture town.

The Bradley Inn — This cozy B&B is located just off Pearl Street in the heart of downtown. It’s walking distance from all the fun stuff. The rooms are spacious, the beds luxurious. You can even get one with a jacuzzi tub—comes in handy after a long ride in the hills. Breakfast at the Bradley is fabulous! Every morning we came downstairs to the aroma of some new and creative quiche, homemade bread, coffee cake and fresh fruit. And coffee, of course. Perfect fuel for a day of riding. And at the end of the day, they serve wine and cheese.

Frasca — This is Italian food like you find in Italy. The use of fresh ingredients and exquisite combinations of flavor make a dining experience no Foodie should miss. The portions are perfect for enjoying an entire 4-course meal without overindulging.

Jamestown/Lee Hill Loop — This was a bike trip, so I have to tell you about a great ride. We rode north through town, about 4 miles, then up the wide shoulder of US 36 another 4 miles, before turning into breathtakingly beautiful Left-Hand Canyon. (Note: it takes 17 miles to get out of congested Orlando, and that just takes you to Apopka.)

The climb up to Jamestown begins where you turn into the canyon and continues for 8 miles at a gentle grade. Many cyclists, out for training rides, flew past us as we moseyed up the mountain absorbing the scenery.

The Jamestown Mercantile, a country store and cafe, is a popular cycling destination. We stopped in for a cup of coffee and chatted with the owner, who told us how happy he is that spring and cyclists have returned to Jamestown.

After coffee, we bombed back down the hill and headed for Lee Hill Road. This was promised as a short, brutal climb and then a technical descent. It is an unbelievably steep climb to the ridge where the view openes up to the Colorado plain. The descent initially curves into the trees, but then suddenly dumps you out onto a cliff edge with a rock wall on one side and a view to Kansas on the other. But keep your eyes on the road! There’s no photo-op here, it’s narrow lanes and switchbacks all the way down. From the bottom, it’s just 4 miles back into downtown.

This loop is a 30 mile ride. Based on the number of cyclists on Tuesday, it appears to be a popular training loop. I’m told there are hundreds out there on summer weekends.

There is still so much to explore in Boulder. It is, culturally and geographically, a cycling paradise. We were only there for a few days before heading to Denver for business. I’m already looking for an opportunity to return.