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Off the Beaten Bike Path


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April through October (generally speaking) in Colorado, is one long stretch of perfect biking conditions. We’re talking months of sunny, warm days and roads and trails free of snow for as far as the eye can see. But that doesn’t mean that we all find enjoyment from rising at the crack of dawn on Saturdays to ride 50 miles in padded spandex. (Let’s be real.) So for those of you who, like us, aren’t training for the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge, we’re here to shed light on some of the most scenic—and slightly hidden—routes around the county that cater to our particular brand of casual-riding. Armed with this guide (and a full water bottle), you’ll be ready to take the bike down from the garage ceiling and clip in for the season.

LONGMONT-NIWOT-GUNBARREL-BOULDER

Ride: 12.6 miles round-trip
Time: Just under 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy-peasy

Linking up Longmont, Niwot, Gunbarrel and Boulder, the LoBo trail gives those who want to peddle between these fine cities a way to do so without having to put their lives in unnecessary peril cycling along the Diagonal—unless you consider cows to be dangerous.

Many of our mooing friends can be found grazing along this route which passes mostly beside open farmsteads that you don’t get a chance to appreciate from the highway.

Due to the flood’s leftovers, we recommend picking the LoBo up at Lefthand Grange Park in Niwot. Lock the car, secure your helmet and follow the trail as it veers south through Monarch Park. The paved trail is mostly flat, making it easy for you to bask in unobstructed views of the foothills rising up along the edge of the front range.

Direct your gaze back to the road though, as it swings right to hug the Boulder and Left Hand Ditch. You’ll be shaded here as the trail turns into a (very manageable) dirt road for about 2.5 miles, after which you’ll hang a left onto N 71st Street. This section will take you through residential areas—follow the trail signs—before making another left onto the Williams Fork Trail. Amid open prairies, keep an eye out for horseback riders, tattered barns and trains running by—they’re all frequent sights out here in cowboy country. Then, after name-switching on you one more time (it’s briefly the Twin Lakes Regional Trail), part ways with the LoBo and go right on N 63rd Street, back into civilization. A gradual uphill push for about .5 miles will put you at Boulder’s Asher Brewing Co. Pull in here for a midway treat with any of their organic beers (count it as replenishing the calories you just burned) before heading back.

Pit Stop: Not in a beer mood? Wait till you’re back in Niwot and head to The Garden Gate Cafe where you can enjoy the Cubano Pork Tacos from their umbrella-shaded porch.

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