Boulder Bike Tours | Mountain & Road Bike Tours in Colorado & Cuba
Boulder Bike Tours offers unique trips that showcase the natural beauty of the area from the seat of your bicycle. Boulder Bike Tours’ not only has years of bike touring expertise but also a contagious passion for the sport of cycling.
If you are a seasoned road cyclist, you have probably found a routine that works for you. Your skills are probably continuing to improve, and you have found a way to change up routes and add new challenges now and then. Yet mountain biking is a completely different animal. For a real change that can shake up your routine, consider taking out a mountain bike for a spin. Here are four reasons why:
Better Bike Handling
Mountain biking consists of a series of technical challenges that can arise with little warning as you make you way across ever-changing terrain. The bike handling skills that you will learn from mountain biking can help you take better control of unexpected situations that could arise during road cycling, from a high-speed descent to navigating around a pileup directly ahead.
Mountain biking also helps you build explosive power. Rapid changes of speed are simply a requirement of the trail, and the ability to power across the next obstacle can translate into an increased ability to overtake and pass, or put on an extra burst of speed near the finish line, when road cycling.
Humans are drawn to novel experiences, and mountain biking could be just what you need to break up the monotony of frequent road cycling. Heading out to the mountains gets you off the beaten path, the technical trails force you to pay attention, and the sheer exhilaration of making your way through multiple obstacles can leave you refreshed and reenergized when you return to the road.
Connecting with Nature
Road cycling, by nature, means that you are sharing roadways with cars, trucks, and buses. Even if you choose scenic roads that wind through interesting countryside, you are likely to see more vehicles than animals. Mountain biking lets you get lost in the trees, breathe the fresh air, and encounter small animals along the way.
Mountain biking is a related but very different sport than road cycling. As such, it presents an incredible new experience that can shake up your routine while providing some excellent new skills to take back to road cycling. If you have ever thought about giving mountain biking a try, why not grab a few friends and head out for an adventure you will never forget?
Based in Boulder, CO, home of some of the world’s best road and mountain biking, Boulder Bike Tours offers unique trips that showcase each area’s natural beauty. Founder Herschel Goldberg and his hand-picked staff have many years of biking experience and an infectious passion for cycling. Staff certifications & experience include National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, CPR, Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol in addition to leading trekking/touring expeditions domestically & internationally.
So you got yourself here, on a mountain bike. You’ve already done the hardest part. You’re here. You’re on that mountain bike.
You think to yourself, “It’s just like riding a bike, right?”
You still feel that pit in your stomach. You know this is different than riding your old bike around the ‘hood, on the smooth sidewalks. There are rocks. There are trees. There are snakes. And this bike has such big tires. This bike, this bike is sorta scary. But the hardest part, the scariest part is done. You are here. You are on that bike.
Let’s move on to the easier part now: let’s Ride.
1. Stand up.
Yes, stand up when you ride. This isn’t the lazy sidewalk ride on that ‘ole bike of yours to go get some choice beverages. You can sit on that ride, just like you can sometimes sit on this mountain bike ride when the trail feels easy, boring. You will find those easy moments. They exist. You will enjoy them.
The rest of the time, stand.
Stand like you’re going to run. When you run, your weight is on the balls of your feet, your vision is forward, your focus is forward, and your effort is forward one step (or pedal stroke) at a time.
You don’t need to be an Olympian to go for a run. You can run. Just like you can ride this mountain bike, one pedal stroke at a time. It won’t always be easy, but you can keep moving forward at your pace, one foot forward at a time.
2. Guide your bike with your eyes.
Just like driving a car, look ahead. Wayyyyyy ahead. Especially at high speeds. Ever stare at the hood of your car while driving down the freeway? Those little white lines on the road seem to zip by, don’t they? And that car braking ahead of you, totally came out of nowhere, right?
Mountain biking is like that. If you get tunnel vision just ahead of the front wheel, the trail whizzes by and obstacles appear out of nowhere. But look 10 car lengths ahead of you, 20 car lengths ahead of you, and driving well above the speed limit (you’d never speed, would you, law abiding reader you) seemingly feels….boring.
Similarly, look ahead of you on the trail, and it’s a lot less overwhelming. Its comprehensible. You can choose your lane, you can choose your line, you can predict and avoid that traffic jam, you can avoid that obstacle rock ahead. You can look through corners on winding mountain roads, you can look through corners on the winding mountain trail. You can drive. You can ride.
3. Pace yourself.
Ever start a longer run, full sprint, only to realize moments later you can’t sustain that pace? Mountain biking is just like that. Start slow, steady. One pedal at a time. One pedal forward, then another. Standing when it gets ‘tough’, sitting when it feels ‘easy’. One pedal stroke at a time.
You’re probably already thinking, “Can you ever take a moment of rest from the seemingly constant pedaling?” You betcha! When you have enough rolling speed, or the trail is particularly rough and pedaling seems impossible, you can stand with level feet, one foot in front of the other, and let it roll, baby.
4. Slow your roll.
So you’re rolling, and you’re rolling. And now, you’re gaining speed. And you’re having fun. But then, suddenly, you’re rolling too fast. TOO fast. It’s time to slow your roll, now. Not in a moment, NOW.
Let’s slow our roll, by using both brakes. Yes , both brakes. Slowly. Like driving a car, we don’t STOMP that brake pedal every time we brake, we ease onto and off of the brakes, slowing smoothly, before that corner, before that speed bump, before we run over that super cute squirrel. The car automatically brakes both front and rear wheels. We squeeze both front and rear brake levers, together, evenly, smoothly, always. We brake often while driving, any time we need to slow our roll, for any reason. We don’t continue driving feeling like we’re out of control. Slow your roll on the mountain bike, any time you feel the need to.
5. Rock n Roll.
Ok. So now you can pedal, not exactly like an Olympian, but you’re looking ahead, pedaling ahead, all sweaty and uncomfortably, dangit; and you’re rolling, and you’re braking, you are in control. You are doing this whole mountain bike thang.
And, it actually feels kinda nice. Fun even. You start to understand why people enjoy this sweaty, uncomfortable activity. And then you see it. That rock. That friggen’ huge rock. No way around it. No way you’re getting over it either, right? Right?!? Suddenly, you’re questioning anyone and everyone who said this would be fun all over again.
Remember to stand up any time the trail gets “tough”. Rocks are tough. Tough as rocks, ya’ll. So you’re gonna stand, on the balls of your feet, just like running. When you’re standing, with soft arms and legs, your limbs act like suspension. You can walk up stairs (steep, big, bumps, usually hard as rocks). You can use your body like suspension, like shocks, to manage this bump, this rock, this step.
On the balls of your feet, like you’re running, you can bend your arms and legs as you go over the rock, just like you’d bend your arms and legs going over the steps, or ladder, with the energy and weight in your feet, like you’re running up those steps, up that ladder, over that rock, your eyes still focused ahead, far ahead, planning your next move. You can roll over this rock. And the next, and the next. Rock n roll, ya’ll.
6. Ride off.
Sometimes the rock is just Too. Dang. Big. though.
Just like a kid playing kickball in the street – there were times when something so potentially dangerous, like a car, would come by – and you’d yell “Game off!”. “Game off” meant – OFF! Until that danger had passed. “Game off” didn’t mean you try to continue the game, knowing that car would likely bring some serious hurt.
You may encounter some obstacles so big, like the oncoming car, that your best decision is to say to yourself, “Game off!”. Thats’ OK. Seriously. Stop. Look at the obstacle. Check in with yourself. Think you can Ride this one? Try it. Think it’s just Too. Dang. Dangerous? Ride or walk around around it. Continue riding, past this dangerous spot. Come back and try it another day. No justification needed. No explanation needed. Survival of the fittest, and smartest, ya’ll.
7. Ride on.
You’re riding, you’re really, actually, riding. You’re Pedaling. You’re Braking. You’re looking ahead, down the straight aways and around the corners. You’re rolling over rocks.
You. Are. Riding.
For more skills development (and there’s a lot more), take a serious lesson. This was the ‘first driving lesson’ of a read, and you successfully made it out of the driveway, around the block, and back home with hopefully only minor incident. Just like anything else, take some real lessons, many lessons, and practice, lots and lots of practice.
If you want to be a better rider, I recommend you take some real lessons. Check out the online Mountain Bike School at llbmtb.com.
Boulder received a beautiful Spring snow this past week. Deep, heavy, spectacular and badly needed as we’ve had precious little snow at this elevation for the Winter. True to our local weather pattern the storm quickly moved out to the Eastern Plains and sunshine with temperatures in the 50s then 60s followed.
Spring snow means we’ll likely have nice vegetation by our roads & trails into the Summer and Fall months. It also provides a great opportunity for Fat Biking on snow, especially at higher elevations. Fat Biking is really catching on in our area and it’s a blast!
We’ll be glad to give you advice on how to do it yourself or take you out on a Fat Bike tour.
Whether your group is 2 or 20 our expert guides provide the bikes, gear and knowledge so your Tour experience is the best blend of challenge and fun. We love to ride our bikes and to show folks the landscape, culture and natural history of our Colorado home. We know how to match the local routes to your abilities so you can enjoy the ride, the scenery and leave the details to us.
Click here for guided tours well-suited to beginner/intermediate riders, families and City Tour enthusiasts. Reserve well in advance or on short notice if you’re already in town.Headquartered in beautiful Boulder Colorado, Boulder Bike Tours provides guided Mountain and Road tours for riders of all levels. We also run shorter City Tours, easy-cruising filled with historical and cultural info about the evolution of Boulder: “25 unique square miles surrounded by reality”