CSU Students: Crested Butte Staycation


Take the ultimate weekend trip to Crested Butte, Colorado.

If you’ve been to Crested Butte, you know its appeal. If you’re from Crested Butte, you’re fiercely loyal to it. If you have never been to Crested Butte. you’re probably now wondering – wait, what’s the big deal?

This town is known as the “Last Great Colorado Ski Town”, the “Home of Mountain Biking”, and many other wonderful names. It is nestled deep in the mountains, filled with genuine friendly locals, and still holds the flair of a mountain town without succumbing to a touristy, fake feel.  This is the perfect getaway for CSU students looking to get away from the hustle and bustle in an authentic way. If you’re excited now, but have no idea how to begin planning a trip to Crested Butte, rest assured – we’ve compiled the best of the Butte right here for you to enjoy!

Things to Do in Crested Butte

Mountain Biking:

401 Trail. (Image retrieved from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association)

Experience world class mountain biking on the trails that founded the sport itself. Mesmerizing aspen trees, wild flowers, and classic Colorado high mountain views that never seem to end.

Beginner- Wagon Trail (Great scenic trail for bikers looking for an easy going ride. Located just west of Crested Butte.)

Intermediate- Lupine Trail (Known for its gorgeous landscape views, and moderate level. Located just north of town.)

Advanced- 401 Trail (This nationally recognized trail will push you to your limits, but you’re rewarded with arguably the best views in and around Crested Butte. Located north of town.)

 

Hiking:

Crested Butte to Aspen Trail. (Image retrieved from Travel Crested Butte.)

Colorado terrain hardly looks so good as in the trails surrounding Crested Butte. These trails will guarantee to impress no matter your skill level.

Beginner- Judd Falls (This is a great trail for spring time when the falls are roaring. Located just north of Crested Butte.)

Intermediate- Red Lady via Scarp Ridge (This trail offers some of the best 360 degree views around the area, and is great for those who are looking for something more than a walk in the park.)

Advanced- Aspen to Crested Butte (This is one of the most iconic trails in Colorado, and will push you to your limits, however you’re rewarded with arguably the best views in Colorado. You can take it either way, and the Nordic Inn can help you coordinate the trip.)

Best Places to Stay in Crested Butte

Cement Creek Campground:

This campground is a beautiful location close to Crested Butte. At this campground you will have access to hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and ATV and motorcycle riding. The area is in a narrow valley with a lot of aspen trees surrounding. There are 13 campsites with no reservations required! A stay here will only cost you $14 a night per site.

Nordic Inn:

Image retrieved from Nordic Inn website

 

The Nordic Inn is the set right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains which means it is closest to some of the best sites and trails in the United States. They have a bus that runs frequently so getting into town or up on the mountains couldn’t be easier. This will definitely be your more expensive options as the rates for the room range from $259-$329. If you really feel like going all out you can get the Nordic Mountain Chalet for $500 a night.

Crested Butte Lodge and Hostel

This lodge and hostel in Crested Butte is going to be your first choice if you are looking to save some money. They offer a variety of room styles that are suitable for every type of traveler. These rooms will sleep 1-6 people and dogs are welcome for only $30 extra! Check out their awesome video – and see a little bit of Crested Butte for yourself – below:

Best Places to Eat in Crested Butte

The Last Steep Bar & Grill:

Image retrieved from The Last Steep website

The Last Steep Bar & Grill is owned by two brothers. Located right in downtown, it has been voted Best Bloody Mary by locals and the Crested Butte News. They offer an outdoor patio, as well as a Build-Your-Own Bloody Bar every Saturday and Sunday from 11am-4pm, and a typical meal will cost you less than $15!

 

Image retrieved from the Ginger Cafe Facebook page

Ginger Cafe: 

If you’re looking for a change of pace from the traditional ‘American’ meals, look no further. A surprising addition to the Crested Butte meal scene, the Ginger Cafe boasts delicious Indian and Thai cuisine that will appeal to all sorts of taste buds, from the spicy to the mild. They also offer vegetarian and gluten free options, so those with food restrictions need not worry. The average entree will cost you around $15-$20, and they also have delicious appetizers, sides, and teas if you’re looking for something on the lighter side!

The Secret Stash:

The Secret Stash has been voted the best pizza and wings every year since opening in 2002. If you’re lucky, you can even learn how to make your own pizza, from tossing the dough like a real professional until the last delicious bite. You can even enjoy a game of pool after your meal. The Secret Stash is definitely a must-visit restaurant while exploring this town!

Image retrieved from the Secret Stash Facebook page

Best Places to Go Out in Crested Butte

 

Talk of the Town:

Image retrieved from the Talk of the Town Facebook page

Talk of the Town is known for their friendly owners and staff, as well as for their quick service.  They feature karaoke, specials during sports games, and occasional fundraisers to help members of their community!

Bonez:

Bonez is a tequila bar and grill. They offer many Mexican dishes including various enchiladas, quesadillas, and empanadas. Happy hour is daily from 4-6pm, so if you like tequila, head on over to Bonez!

Image retrieved from the Bonez website

How to Get to Crested Butte

Stoked to Start: Rad Mountain Biking Trails for Beginners in Fort Collins


Fort Collins is home to some rad mountain bike trails for all ability levels, and with summer right around the corner it’s important to start planning your bike adventures with your bros. With that in mind we’ve selected two great beginner trails that will get you to put that beer down, get off your couch, and start shredding.  For more information of mountain biking basics check out our previous blog about what to bring on your rides!

Blue Sky Trail

Blue Sky Trailhead Map
Directions to Blue Sky Trailhead

Blue Sky Trail is an intermediate trail located on the backside of Horsetooth near the Inlet bay. Blue Sky trail offers some fun single track for riders and has links to other trails to extend your ride.

Trail Length and Difficulty

Blue Sky Trail
Photo Courtesy of mtbproject

Blue Sky Trail is an 8 mile round trip ride. It is 4 miles from the trail head (green arrow) to the end (red arrow). From the end of the trail, there are links to other fun mountain biking trails, such as Indian Summer, Rim Rock and Devil’s Backbone.  While this may seem long for a beginner, it is a very doable with the trail. With the added scenery, the 8 miles will go by quick.Blue Sky Trail Map

Blue Sky Trail is rated at an intermediate trail difficulty. Because it has challenging parts, some new mountain bikers may prefer bike hiking that section of the trail. There is no shame in doing this. The trail provides riders with a good mix of mellow sections, a few challenging sections, and a few technical parts.

Mountain Biking Trail Type

Blue Sky trail is arguably one of the best single track trails near Fort Collins.

Popularity

Blue Sky View
Photo Courtesy of mtbproject

Blue Sky is a very popular trail not only with mountain bikers but also with trail runners and hikers. It’s very popular because of its easy accessibility and ability to link up with additional trails. During the warm Winter months, the trail will get busy. On the weekends in the Summer months, expect the trail to be crowded as well. If you’re not into crowds, weekdays would be the ideal time to go.

To learn more about Blue Sky trail, read past riders riding logs, and view a 3D trail model visit Trail Forks.

Bobcat Ridge Trail

Bobcat Ridge Natural Area Map
Directions to Bobcat Ridge

Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is located just south of Fort Collins off of County Rd. 32C and offers 17 miles of mountain biking, and hiking trails that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Since Fort Collins lays at the foot of the Rocky Mountains the trail system offers a variety of biking options ranging from plains riding to climbing and technical downhill riding, all with the rad mountains in the background. 

Trail Length and Difficulty

Bobcat Ridge Nature Area
Photo Courtesy of mtbproject

Since Bobcat Ridge offers a variety of trail options, bikers have the option of shorter, easier rides in the valley, or much longer technical rides with steep ascents and descents to the west. The main trails at Bobcat Ridge are:

Bobcat Ridge Natural Area
Courtesy of Fort Collins Open Spaces

Eden Valley Trail (Easy): 1.3 miles
Valley Loop Trail (Easy): 2.0 miles
DR Trail (Intermediate): 3.0 miles
Power Line Trail (Advanced): 2.0 miles
Ginny Trail (Advanced): 5.1 miles

Valley loop trail is a great ride to get started, especially for the beginner. It has rolling hills and fun turns to cruise around. While the other trails that Bobcat Ridge offers are fun they have a more technical aspect, which might be difficult for a new mountain biker, but don’t worry you can always get off your bike and walk.  

Mountain Biking Trail Type

Bobcat Ridge Powerline Climb
Photo Courtesy of mtbproject

All trails located at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area are single track, except the Powerline Trail which follows a dirt road, eventually turning into a single track trail when it connects with the rest of the trail system.

Popularity

View from the Top of Bobcat Ridge
Photo Courtesy of mtbproject

Bobcat Ridge is a popular place for hikers and other bikers during the weekend, but on week days it is empty.  Not many people take the extra drive to come out here.  It is a great trail for an early day off of work, but probably a trail system that you want to stay off of during the weekend.

To learn more about the Bobcat Ridge trail system, read past riders riding logs and view a 3D trail model visit Trail Forks.

Fort Collins has some great mountain biking, and Blue Sky and Bobcat Ridge are just two of the many great trails. Now get up, drink another beer, and plan your next Fort Collins mountain bike adventure.

 

 

Brewery Self-Tour Fort Collins


Fort Collins is known for being one of the hubs for Craft Beer here in Colorado! If you are in town for a few days and want to try some new beers we have the perfect day planned for you. This day is packed full of delicious beer, mouth-watering food, and a hell of a good time!

via GIPHY

*Pro Tip Before The Start of Your Tour!

This self-guided will involve a lot of drinking, so we recommend doing the tour on foot or bike! This will help your group avoid the expense of rides or the disappointed look in your designated drivers eyes!

If you want to save time by not walking, go ahead and rent a bike! We love using a the bike share website called Zagster. It is easy and free to join. Sign up and search for the location off Laureland Mason Street. The first two hours are free on the weekends, and each additional hour is $2. Now with your bike or walking shoes in hand you are ready to start your tour! 

11:00 : Choice City Butcher and Deli

Address: 104 W. Olive Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524

As of 2011 Choice City holds the #9 spot for best restaurant beer list in the WORLD! That’s why we have choses Choice City to be your first destination on your fun filled day full of beer. It is essential that you get a hardy brunch to start so that you are able to drink. 

Food Pick: The Breakfast Sandwich is a popular pick at Choice City along with the Corn beef hash. If you are interested in trying some meat you might not have a chance to have has often get the hash with the corned buffalo. 

Beer Pick: If you’re feeling daring, try Odell’s Green Coyote. It is tangy and sweet, and it will compliment your sandwich perfectly. 

1:00: Equinox Brewery

Address: 133 Remington Street, Fort Collins, CO 50524

Equinox Brewery is a charming beer garden in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins, with live music on Fridays 

and Saturdays. Equinox has 15-18 rotating taps that vary greatly in flavor to keep a fresh a seasonal selection. 

Beer Pick: With the rotating taps we recommend getting a flight of beer so that you can sample several different kinds and not miss out on one with an insane flavor profile. Craft beer is full of unique flavors that you will not want to miss out on. 

3:00 PM: Mainline Ale House

Address: 125 South College Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Mainline is a bar and restaurant located right down the street from equinox on the Main Street in Old Town. Main Street has been a vibrant part of the city since 1867 when Old Town was established. 

Mainline has the “happiest of happy hours” with deals like $1.50 off all Breckenridge beers, as well as certain wines and other drinks. Mainline also has delicious food if you are feeling hungry before your visit to New Belgium. 

Food Pick: We recommend the Avalanche Amber! This burger is fan favorite and contains 50% beef and 50% pork.

Beer Pick: Try any of the beers from the Breckenridge or Wynkoop Brewery! These are some of the guys who started it all.

5:00: New Belgium Brewery

Address: 500 Linden Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524

New Belgium Brewery is one of Fort Collins favorite breweries with a beautiful outdoor area that is usually filled with dogs. New Belgium has daily food trucks and offers tours! If you are wanting to go on a tour make sure to book it in advance because they fill up quickly! 

Beer Pick: Try New Belgium’s famous sour the  La Folie. This is a wood aged sour brown that will leave you wanting more. 

We hope you enjoy your day filled with food, beer, and tons of fun. be safe and never drink and drive! Alcohol accounts for 29% of traffic deaths, and there are so many better options to keep you and everyone around you safe. 

 

 

 

Where to Get Your Gear: The Sickest Shops in FoCo and the Chillest Online Websites


 The Best Local Mountain Biking Shops

Fort Collins Bike CO-OP

Services

One of the best mountain bike shops in Fort Collins.  Prices for standard services Great store to find cheap bike parts. Prices vary for miscellaneous parts around the shop

Tune ups range from $35-$100.

While there are no demos available, there is a staff that will help you build and service your own bike.  They are a non-profit community driven organisation striving to provide bikes for everyone.

Location

Google Maps Bike Co-op

Phone: 970-484-3804

Address: 1501 N College Ave

Fort Collins, CO 80524

What’s the Draw?

Cheap services!!

Can volunteer to pay off bike services through their Earn-A-Bike Program.

Non-profit community driven organization.

Staffed by volunteers who are willing to help everyone.

Road 34 Bike Shop

Road 34 Bike Shop
Photo Courtesy of Road 34

Location

Address: 1213 W Elizabeth St, Fort Collins, CO 80521

Phone: 970-491-9934

Services

What goes together better than peas and carrots? That’s right booze and biking. Road 34 is a local Fort Collins bike shop that also gets bragging rights for being the first biking bar. This bike shop offers a variety of services ranging from bike tunes, suspension services, dropper services, and a myriad of a la carte services. Road 34 bike shop offers just what you need for your mountain biking needs all at a reasonable price.  

Bike tunes range from $35-$100, suspension services range from $40-$90, and a la carte services start at around $10.  

What’s the Draw?

Road 34 Bar
Photo courtesy of Road 34

It’s a known fact that the one thing mountain bikers love more than their mountain bike is the booze they drink with their bros after a gnarly shred. Road 34 not only offers high quality bike services, but a bar that is stocked with some of the best beer in Fort Collins, and if beer isn’t your first choice you can always enjoy one of their famous pickle shots.

Road 34 offers a unique atmosphere complete with a large selection of seating, both inside and outside, pool tables, and a vintage Volkswagen Bus. The other half of their location is the bike shop, which has a variety of mountain bikes, and essential biking equipment. Road 34 also offers a variety of sandwiches and appetizers at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for quality service, friendly staff, great beer, and a great atmosphere look no further than Road 34.

Lee’s Cyclery Location

Address: 202 W Laurel St, Fort Collins, CO 80521

Phone: 970-482-6006

Services

Lee’s Cyclery is a full-service bike shop with a large focus on retail. There are a range of bike tuning options, from the basic tune at $100 to the Peak Performance tune for $200. Lee’s also offers proper bike fitting services to help you find the best fitting steed for all your shredding needs. Best of all, bike sizing services are free of charge when you purchase a new bike. Just want your old bike properly fitted to your awkward body? No problem, just cough up $200 for the Body Geometry fitting service! This thorough fitment includes an interview, physical assessment, ride analysis, fitting, and follow-up. Of course, Lee’s also offers a huge selection of different bikes and accessories including road bikes, mountain bikes (heck yeah), hybrid/fitness bikes, and even E-bikes.

What’s the draw?

You know what they say about real estate… Location, location, location. Lee’s Cyclery is conveniently located on the corner of Mason and Laurel, just across the street from the Colorado State University campus. Lee’s prides themselves on their amount of inventory of bikes and accessories, as well as their high level of customer service, including warranties and mechanical skills. It’s no wonder that Lee’s Cyclery was rated one of “America’s Best Bike Shops” from 2013-2017!

ProVelo Bicycles

Photo courtesy of proVelo

Location

4612 S Mason St, Suite 110, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Phone: 970-204-9935

Google Map Direction to proVelo

Services

Photo courtesy of proVelo

Mountain Bike Tune Ups

ProVelo offers up ranges of services. Their tunes-up service range in prices starting at $80 for a basic tune up and increasing in prices to $100 and $180 with increasing services to the bike.

Mountain Bike Fittings

ProVelo can also help customers to find and properly fit them for their bike. ProVelo is the exclusive fitters for Retul fitting system, utilizing the most comprehensive technology available today to ensure fitting is done properly.

Mountain Bike Demo and Rentals

ProVelo offers Demo and Rental services. This is great for people that are traveling into Fort Collins and want to do some mountain bike riding. If you’re in the market for a new bike the demo service is a great way to test out new bikes before fulling committing to a new bike. At ProVelo customers can demo bike from Santa Cruz Bicycles, Yeti, Ibis, Giant, and LIV. Carbon Bikes are $125 for 24 hours and Aluminum Bikes are $75 for 24 hours. There are discounts for multiple demos or rental days and a large portion of the demo dollars can be applied to the purchase of a bike from ProVelo Bicycles.

Whats the Draw?

The one thing that ProVelo does extremely well no matter the customers mountain biking knowledge or experience they can tailor their customer service to them. All services are done quickly with high a level of quality. ProVelo offers great bike brands with a large selection ranging in size and set-ups. They also offer demo deals on these great bike brands that help to take the price points down and make sure the customer is 100% satisfied with their bike.

The Best Mountain Bike Websites

Backcountry.com

Backcountry homepage
Photo courtesy of Backcountry.com

What Products Do They Offer?

If you’re an outdoor fanatic, whether that’s skiing or mountain biking Backcountry.com is your one stop destination for all outdoor gear. They have a wide selection of hard mountain bike components, like frames, wheels, etc. They also carry a wide selection of fully built mountain bikes. Along with this they have a wide selection of clothing, packs, and helmets for men, women, and children.

Backcountry Mountain Bikes
Photo courtesy of Backcountry.com

Layout

The Backcountry website is very easy to navigate, with a mix of drop down menus and filter menus making finding your mountain biking need even easier. While visiting the site you will also be greeted by a customer service chat menu, allowing you to communicate with an expert making your search even easier. As an added bonus they almost always have free two day shipping on orders over $50, and offer a variety of coupons for those who create a free account.

Backcountry Gearhead
Photo courtesy of Backcountry.com

Best Part

Backcountry does so many things right, but their selection is what really sets them apart. They have almost anything you can think of when it comes to the outdoors. Their mountain biking selection is just a small part of what they have. Their selection ranges from skiing, snowboarding, camping, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, road biking,   and fishing. Their selection is incredible and their service is well above par. As an added bonus they have an outlet store steepandcheap, which offers discounted and closeout products from the backcountry store. If you’re looking for a great online store for all your outdoor needs Backcountry.com has all you would ever want, and probably some that you didn’t think you needed.

EVO.com

evo.com

What Products Do They Offer?

EVO offers a wide range of products for outdoor activities.  In the store they offer products for whichever season is the most relevant.  Their website offers gear year round. They specialize with clothing and non-technical gear.  If you’re looking to look stylish on the trails, EVO.com is the place for you!

Layout

Evo Bike Section
Photo courtesy of Evo

EVO.com is easy to navigate from activity to activity.  You are also able to refine your search on the left side of the page to narrow your results.  If you are looking for a certain brand, they are listed on the right side of the page. Everything is clear and you are able to find your gear quickly.

Best Part

EVO is community driven, and they organize community events such as open houses.  They also hire local artists to decorate their interior and exterior.

PinkBike.com

https://www.pinkbike.com/

What Products Do They Offer?

Pink Bike provides visitors with the latest in cycling and mountain biking news, freeride videos, photos, events and more. The websites allow users to buy and sell all types of bikes, frames and components. Its known as the Craigslist’s of bike selling and buying. The Forum sections lets users talk about all things biking. From All Mountain/Enduro, Down Hill, Cross Country, Dirt Jumps Street, Park Bikes. This area of the website is a great area to ask question and gain knowledge about all things biking. PinkBike includes TrailForks linked at the top where visitors can explore maps of trail near them and all across the country.

Layout

PinkBike.com is an easy to navigate site with tabs located on the top of the page to direct visitors to the area of the site they are looking for. Each tab gives on overview to the visitor for all the subsections to help them find what they are looking for. This helps to separate the wide variety of different types of mountain bikes. With the buy/sell section users can refine their searches to specif areas and exact bike parts they want.

Best Part

The best part about PinkBike is the ability to buy/sell bikes and bike parts. This service lets users find bikes near them at a reasonable price compared to going to a bike shops and paying  the new bike price. Users can also find specific parts they need for their bike. If a users has a question about their bike or mountain biking in general the forum section allows users to ask question and gain knowledge. This allows users not to have rely as heavily on bike shops for their bike questions and bike services.

Get Out of FOCO: Day Trip to Colorado Springs, CO


Get Out of FOCO:

Day Trip To Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs is home to some of the greatest adventure spots in Colorado. Take a day and explore The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, make your way up the Manitou Incline, or hike around and take in the scenery at Garden of the Gods. You can also find some of the best restaurants in the US here. The two listed below, Spice Island Grill and  Paravicini’s Italian Bistro have been featured on the Food Netowrk’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Drive. Colorado Springs is a 2.5 hour car ride from Fort Collins.

Top Activities In Colorado Springs:

1. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

manitousprings.org

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a mountainside conservation park that is home to over 700 animals, including the world’s largest giraffe herd. It sits at an elevation 6,800 feet above sea level, making it the highest zoo in the United States.

At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you can walk around and explore the zoo on your own or pay extra and have the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the species of your choice.

Admission prices for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are below. By purchasing an admission ticket, you have the opportunity to freely explore the Zoo until closing. The Zoo opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

theknowandgo.com

One unique program that the zoo offers is Animal Encounters. The total cost of an Animal Encounter is $353 per encounter for up to 4 people (this cost includes the daily admission price). During an encounter, you will have the chance to feed, interact, and take pictures with the animal of your choice. Each encounter is 30 minutes long and must be scheduled at least 1 week in advance.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also offers V.I.P. Small Group Tours. The total cost of a VIP tour is $1,000 for four people and $1,250 for five. This price includes admission into the zoo, an overview of the Zoo in a cart, a Safari Trail Tour or Loft Exploration, giraffe feeding, and three behind-the-scenes experiences of your choice. The tour last approximately 2.5-3 hours and must be scheduled 10 days in advance.

2. Manitou Incline

The Manitou Incline is a very demanding and physically exhausting trail and hike that many people set their eyes on. The trail was one a railroad track and its 2,744 steps are now made up of railroad ties. The length of the trail is only about one mile, but do not take it lightly. If you make it to the top you will have gained 2,000 feet in elevation and climbed more stairs than are in the Empire State Building.

startribune.com

However, if the gratification of making it to the top isn’t enough alone, the view at the top will make the climb well worth it. Be careful of the false summit on the way up, but once you reach the top you will see the beautiful view of the Colorado Springs valley. In addition to the view, you will find that everyone you encounter at the top and along the way is very friendly, so stop and say “hi”, you might just a make a few new friends along the way as well!

The trail is open from dusk until dawn so choose your time of day wisely, it can get very busy (and hot) mid-day. In addition, make sure you bring plenty of water and maybe even a few re-energizing snacks for the top.

 

3. Garden of the Gods

5280.com

If extreme physical activity isn’t quite your thing, but you still want to experience the wonderful scenery that Colorado Springs has to offer, Garden of the Gods might be the perfect place for you. Garden of the Gods is a National Park located just 20 minutes off of the highway in the Springs.

In the park, there are several activities to choose from, such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, or simply just driving and walking around to take in the scenery. While you’re there you’ll be able to see stunning views of Pikes Peak as well as several other amazing rock formations as well. If you want more information about what to do when you are there, visit the Visitor and Nature center for maps and daily activities.

One of the best parts about the park is that it is free to all visitors. The park is open from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm and can also get very busy during the middle of the day. If you are looking to do this in addition to other activities while on your day trip to Colorado Springs, we recommend that you visit the Garden of the Gods during sunset hour for amazing views and picturesque skies.

 

Top Restaurants In Colorado Springs:

1. Spice Island Grill

Spice Island Grill is a popular local spot located right in downtown Colorado Springs. It is a quick 14-minute drive from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, maki ng it a perfect lunch spot before heading to the zoo for the afternoon.

Spice Island Grill is a popular local spot located right in downtown Colorado Springs. It is a quick 14-minute drive from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, maki

Spice Island Grill popularity skyrocketed when the restaurant was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Spice Island is known for their authentic Jamaican food; specifically their amazing curry goat and jerk chicken.

The restaurant is also a fun dining destination, with live Jamaican music, creating a unique dining atmosphere unlike any other in the Springs area.

tripadvisor.com

Link to Menu: http://www.spiceislandgrill.com/our-menu/

Spice Island Grill is located at…
10 N Sierra Madre St
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Spice Island DOES take reservations! Make sure to go online prior to your visit.

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-9pm
Sunday: 12pm-7pm
Monday: Closed

 

2. Paravicini’s Italian Bistro

We suggest stopping by Paravicini’s Italian Bistro for a delicious, authentic Italian dinner.  The restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of Old Colorado City, and is only a 6 minute drive from Garden of the Gods. After a long day of hiking and exploring, this would be the perfect spot to stop at carb-load back up. They take reservations so there is no worry about wait time!

Paravicini’s is known for the old authentic Italian recipes that have been passed down for generations; specifically, their famous handmade sauces used in every dish! The bistro also features a 50+ person outdoor patio that includes umbrellas, heat lamps, and wind barriers to accommodate outdoor seating in almost any weather conditions! Their menu has everything from classic spaghetti and meatballs to the very fancy, Prosciutto Wrapped Cod. They have all the Italian classics you could imagine, as well tons of Paravicini Originals and Seafood Pasta’s.

Link to Menu: http://paravicinis.com/menus/

Paravacini’s is located at:
2802 Colorado Ave,
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Hours of Operation:
Sunday-Thursday: 11am-9pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am-10pm

dinersdriveinsdiveslocations.com

Drive time from Fort Collins:

 

Transit map from Fort Collins:

You can also take Public Transit to get to the Springs from Fort Collins. You must first take the Green North Line from Fort Collins into Downtown Denver’s Union Station, and then switch to the Orange South Line to get to Colorado Springs. Tickets cost $22. Average travel time taking public transit is 3 hours and 50 minutes depending on the time of day.

Weather Information:

Months Average Temperature (°F)
January 30
February 32.5
March 39
April 46.5
May 56
June 66
July 71
August 69
September 61.5
October 50
November 38
December 30.5

Annual Average High Temperature: 62.4

Annual Average Low Temperature: 35.9

Get out of FOCO: Day Trip to Idaho Springs, CO


How To Plan A Day Trip to Idaho Springs, CO

 

Best Things To Do In Idaho Springs:

 

1) Indian Hot Springs

Indian Springs Main Pool

http://www.indianhotsprings.com

Indian Hot Springs is a great daytime activity in Idaho Springs where you can relax and soak in the mineral water. The main hot springs is a large mineral water pool that lies under an arching glass dome.

Surrounding the main pool is a display of beautiful greenery and live palm and banana trees.

The pool is great for people of all ages and different areas of the pool vary in temperature. The pool is fed with 115-degree water that is filled with soothing minerals right from the Colorado mountains.

Indian Springs Private Caves & Jacuzzi’s

www.idahohotsprings.com

If you are looking for something a little more private, Indian Hot Springs also offers geothermal caves that are carved right out of the mountainside and include a sunken mineral hot tub. In addition, they have outdoor jacuzzies that require you to purchase a pass, so that you can take in the fresh mountain air while you soak in the hot springs.

Pricing and Hours

Prices vary depending on what package you buy, however, a day pass to the main pool is $18.00 on weekdays and $20.00 on weekends. The geothermal caves and outdoor jacuzzies are between $5.00 to $8.00 more expensive.

The main pool can get very busy on weekends and holidays so it may be worth it to spend a few extra bucks to have some privacy (plus the outdoor jacuzzies are great when it’s snowing). The springs are open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm year round.

Travel from Downtown Idaho Springs:

2) St. Mary’s Glacier

Just past the west end of Idaho Springs, you will find an exit that is marked Fall River Road. If you exit here you will be lead along a road that winds for about 7 or 8 miles through beautiful aspen groves and up the side of a mountain. At the top of the road is a parking lot that leads to a short hiking trail.

The Hike Up

The hiking trail to Saint Mary’s Glacier is only .75 miles long and only takes about 20-30 minutes to hike. The trail is very rocky so good shoes are important. However, the incline isn’t very steep, so hikers of all athletic abilities should be able to get to the glacier at the top. When you arrive at the top you will find a beautiful lake with giant cliffs in the backdrop. In addition, there is a year-round glacier that people sled and snowboard on every month of the year.

At the Top

www.hikingproject.com

Once at the top you can either relax by the lake or continue to adventure around the area. During the spring and summer, you will find the area surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and rivers trickling down from the glacier, which is in my opinion, the best time of the year to visit. In the warm summer months, you can even enjoy swimming in the lake or (carefully) partake in jumping off of the small cliffs on the West side of the lake.

Travel Time from Downtown Idaho Springs:

 

Bouck Brothers Distilling

www.yelp.com

Bouck Brothers Distilling offers a variety of unique whiskeys that have been crafted with innovation in mind. The Bouck brothers realized that the beer industry has been constantly adding new flavor profiles to the mix, for example, a Graham Cracker Porter, a Grapefruit IPA, and sour beers- and they set a goal to change the flavor profile of whiskey.

The Whiskey 

Right now, they have four main whiskeys: Miners Moonshine (corn whiskey), Bourbon (whiskey), Idaho Springs (whiskey), and Colorado Coffee (coffee flavored whiskey), but you can try a variety of whiskey flavors in the distillery.

By coming into the distillery, you will learn about the making of the whiskey and have a chance to sample the whiskey alongside other local products you cannot try anywhere else! The atmosphere is welcoming and the staff is knowledgeable of the industry & products.

Rating: 100% of visitors rated Bouck Brothers excellent (5/5) on Tripadvisor and also has a 5-star rating on Yelp.

Price Range: $$

Travel from Downtown Idaho Springs: 

 

Restaurants-

Beau Jo’s

www.foursquare.com

Beau Jo’s is deep dish Colorado style pizza and the original location is located right in Downtown Idaho Springs. They call their pizzas mountain pies, and they are 1-5 pounds. They have 5 sizes of pizza from small to extra large.

They have tons of options for toppings. One of the unique things about Beau Jo’s is the crust, it is very thick and doughy and a lot of people choose to at it with honey, which you will find already on your table They have three different types of crust to meet any need; mountain pie, prairie pie and gluten-free. The pizzas range anywhere from $8-$30 and can get pretty extreme. 

https://www.gastronomblog.com

Not only do they have great pizza, but they also have calzones, salads, and a variety of appetizers as well. On top of the food being great here, the atmosphere is always fun and exciting as well. This is a destination restaurant for Colorado travelers so there will always be a ton of foot traffic in and out. 

Menu:http://www.beaujos.com/menu

Travel from Downtown Idaho Springs: 

 

Westbound & Down Brewery Company

Westbound & Down Brewery Company is a modern brewery and grill located at 1617 Miner St, Idaho Springs, CO 80452.

www.http://thedenveradvocate.com

This is a great moderately priced place to visit after a long day’s skiing for some food and locally brewed beer. Westbound & Down is open every day of the week 11am-10pm.

Westbound & Down makes all of their beer in-house and the barrels can be seen bright behind you if you are sitting at the bar. They have a great selection for all beer drinkers from a Fruited Berliner Weisse, to the hoppy Westbound IPA, and the chocolate espresso flavored Seven Sisters Stout. Flights of 4 smaller beers are also available if you’re dying to try more than one.

The restaurant features a variety of burgers, pizza & buffalo meat eats. It has a local modern feel, being relatively new. Some of their most popular menu items include their famous jalapeno cheddar buns appetizer, their buffalo burger, and their beef stew. These items are a perfect warm-up meal after skiing or hiking and match perfectly with one of their many beers brewed right there in house.

www.hard12brews.com

Travel from Downtown Idaho Springs:

Weather Updates-

Weekend Weather

If you are planning on making a trip to Idaho Springs this weekend, the weather will be snowy Saturday with a high of 44 and a low of 16, with Sunday being a little bit nicer with a high of 50 and a low of 29 with partly cloudy skies.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Month: Average Temperature °F:
January 17
February 18
March 23.5
April 29
May 38.5
June 47.5
July 53.5
August 52
September 45
October 35.5
November 24
December 16.5

 

Average Annual High: 44.5°F

Average Annual Low: 22.2°F

 

Treat Yo Self Saturday


 

Attention ALL! It’s time to Treat Yo Self this Saturday in Fort Collins, Colorado. We are about to set you up with a relaxing day of pampering and self love. This day is perfect for people of all ages, because who doesn’t like to pamper themselves? This day will cost some money, but the relaxation you will experience will be well worth it! Here is your schedule for the perfect Treat Yo Self Saturday! Enjoy…

10:00 AM: SALUS Beauty Supply Store

To start your Treat Yo Self Saturday off, we recommend sleeping in until you are well rested and ready to begin a day of self-care. Once you are awake, we suggest using some bath products such as bath or shower bombs! You can find some great bath products at a store in Old Town called SALUS.

SALUS Batch Bombs In Fort Collins These bath bombs are super fun and relaxing and the good news is that they will not break the bank! The regular bath bombs are priced at $2.95 and the mega bath bombs cost $4.95. If you are not a bath person, not to worry! SALUS has a wide variety of aroma therapy shower bombs that start at $2.95. These products are  a perfect way to start your morning off right!

SALUS is open from 10 AM-6 PM  so we recommend shopping for the products you want the day before!

Address: 240 Walnut St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Check out the storefront of SALUS. This place is far from a normal beauty supply store!

11:30 PM: Lucile’s Creole Cafe

Luciles in Fort Collins
Image Courtesy of: @hannahmercyweaver

After you’re all rested up and ready to go, it’s time to get your Saturday started by enjoying brunch at Lucile’s Creole Cafe. Lucile’s is one of Fort Collins favorite brunch spots! They have delicious food, a wide variety of drinks, and a beautiful outdoor patio! Lucile’s has a variety of both breakfast and lunch food so you have you option to pick whatever food you’re craving. One of the customer favorites is the beignets. They come out fresh, hot, and doused in powdered sugar. Delicious! We recommend the mimosas made with their famous fresh squeezed OJ!

Address: 400 S Meldrum St, Fort Collins, CO 80521 

 

1:30: Annual Flower Garden Trail

flowerAfter brunch you might feel as though you need to be rolled out of the restaurant and head to the next activity, so we have chosen a relaxing walk through the Annual Flower Trial Garden. You can bask in the sun while strolling through the garden, smelling the roses. Annual Flower Trail Garden’s mission is “to provide education, research and outreach to students, community members, industry professionals and anyone else with a desire to learn.” The garden is open daily for spectators to enjoy the beauty!

Address: 1401 Remington St, Fort Collins, CO 80523

 

3:00 PM: Hand And Stone Massage and Facial

After your walk through the Annual Flower Trial Garden, take a trip to Hand And Stone Massage and Facial Spa. Here, they offer a variety of different massages to suit your needs. They also offer many cleansing and relaxing facials. What a great way to treat yourself!

Address: 150 E Harmony Rd #2C, Fort Collins, CO 80525

 

5:30 PM: Dinner at Rare Italian

Rare Italian

Now that you have had a fun filled day of relaxation, it is time for a well deserved dinner at a Fort Collins favorite Italian restaurant! Rare Italian is located in the heart of Oldtown! They offers authentic Italian cuisine and a wide variety of wine. Customers have raved about the steak, so if you want to indulge, definitely order one of those. The one pictured to the right is their Rib Eye medium rare.

Adress: 101 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524

 

7:30 PM: Dessert at Nuance Chocolate

To finish off your day of self-care, head on down the street to Nuance Chocolate for a sweet treat. They have a lot of things to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy, including fresh truffles, chocolate bars, and hot and cold beverages. Insider tip: Sign up as a Chocoholic and receive invitations to exclusive events, receive special discounts, and get notified when new chocolate flavors are released!

Nuance Chocolate

Address: 214 Pine St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Photo Credits:

https://www.instagram.com/hannahmercyweaver/

 

 

Get Learnt: The Sickest Types and Styles of Mountain Biking


Cross Country (XC)

What is Cross Country Mountain Biking?

Do you love to crank? If so, then a cross country bike is probably for you. Cross country bikes are purpose built for cyclists who put pedaling performance at the top of their priority list, and generally are geared for climbing steep hills for extended times. Out of all the other types of bikes detailed here, cross country (XC) bikes have the most in common with their road-going relatives. These bikes

Cross country mountain bikehave lower amounts of suspension (often just front suspension), are lightweight, and steep bar angles to put the rider in an efficient climbing position. These bikes are made for longer rides, from 25 miles and up. Cross country bikes can be great if you’re considering getting competitive or would like a racier ride for your local trails.

Enduro/All Mountain

Enduro mountain bike

Photo courtesy of TheGrenzager Bike

What is an Enduro/ All Mountain Bike?

Do you want a versatile bike allowing you to climb up steep and rough terrain and be able to handle technical downhill? An Enduro/ All Mountain can handle that challenge. Enduro or All Mountain bikes names are interchangeable. Theses bikes allow the rider to both climb up and ride down the trails with speed. For the bike to accomplish this task it comes as a full suspension bike. Allowing for the most control and comfort.

Basic Setup

A full suspension bike has a similar front build compared to a Cross Country bike, with a front fork. While the rear frame of the bike is made up of two pieces, a front triangle and rear triangle that are joined by pivots. The added rear suspension of the bike allows the rider to have more control on rough terrain with an increase of comfort. While the wheels and tires that come on these bikes are bigger and thicker letting the bike overcome the tougher terrain.

Added suspension

Generally, when people talk about suspension of a bike they talk about ‘travel’. Travel means the amount either the front fork or the rear suspension can compress and is measured in units of millimeters (mm). How do you determine the travel you need on your bike? Travel can be determined by the terrain on the trails being rode. If the trail consists of jumps, big drops and rocky sections a higher travel will help bike be able to handle the terrain, a travel between 130 and 170 (mm). If the trail has more jumps and drops and less uphill sections a downhill bike is more qualified for the trail. While adding more suspension on your bike can allow an increase in comfort and control it does add weight. Making it harder to climb trails.

Is an Enduro Worth the Higher Price Point?

To answer the question, it depends on the rider and what the trails they’re riding. The most basic separation between a Cross Country Bike and an Enduro/All Mountain is the added rear suspension. While this increases the price of the bike it also increases the overall performance of the bike. Allowing the rider to take on less forgiving terrain and having greater control of the bike. But, when choosing a bike it all comes down to what the rider is most comfortable on and what terrain they are riding. If you are in the market to purchase an Enduro mountain bike the vast majority of mountain bike brands have several different Enduro options. Prices range depending on additional features the bike comes with. The price range can start around $1,000 and continue up towards $6,000 to $7,000. Bikes can be cheaper if you buy from  a local bike shop or 2nd hand website.

https://www.bikemag.com/gear/mountain-bikes/best-mtbs-for-your-money/

Downhill

Downhill mountain biker
Photo courtesy of ilovebicycling

If pedaling for miles and miles isn’t your style, and you have a need for speed and adrenaline then downhill and freeride mountain biking is for you. While both styles are relatively similar they are some differences worth pointing out.

What is a Downhill mountain bike?

Downhill mountain biking is all about going one direction, downhill and as fast as you can, while also taking huge drops and jumps.

Trek downhill mountain bike
Photo courtesy of Trekbike

Downhill bikes usually weigh in around 40 pounds, but it’s not uncommon for them to weigh more. Downhill bikes are equipped with 200 mm suspension travel meaning they can take burly drops without damaging the rider or the bike. They are also equipped with high quality brakes allowing the rider to be in full control as they fly down the mountain. While the downhill mountain bike might seem like the perfect option, about 80% of riders will find it completely useless for their riding needs. Because of its weight, suspension, and overall geometry it is basically worthless if you want to pedal up the hill. Fortunately, for those looking to shred burly lines on the downhill, but also have the capability to go uphill there are freeride mountain bikes.

Freeride

What is a Freeride mountain bike?

If you’re looking to conquer both the downhill and the uphill as well as combine more style into your riding then a freeride mountain bike

Freeride mountain bike
Photo courtesy of dirtmountainbike

might be more suited to you. Freeride mountain bikes closely resemble downhill bikes but are slightly lighter usually weighing around 30-38 LBS. A freeride bike has different gear ratios that allow for better maneuverability on both the up and downhill. Freeride travel is usually around 180 mm meaning they can still take huge drops without sacrificing performance. Along with having a different gear set up, and travel, freeride mountain bikes tend to be shorter than a downhill mountain bike, and the riders position is closer to the center of the bike, giving the rider more flexibility and maneuverability for uphill climbs, while still giving the rider maximum control on the downhill.  

Dirt Jump

What is a Dirt Jump mountain bike?

If you aren’t one who enjoys flying down a mountain through narrow sections of trees, and off burly drops, but still enjoy the adrenaline rush you get from being in the air, dirt jump biking might be right up your alley. Dirt jump biking takes place in a specially built bike park, with well maintained jump sections. Along with being in a completely different setting, you’ll also be riding a completely different bike. 

Dirt jump bike
Photo courtesy of vitalmtb

Dirt jump bikes are considerably lighter than both downhill and freeride bikes as this bike style is more stunt and style based with riders doing flicks, tail whips, and a variety of other technical tricks that require a much lighter bike. Dirt jump bikes tend to be hardtail, single speed, and have very short travel of around 100mm. Dirt jump bikes are not designed for trail riding making these types of bikes specific to bike parks only.  

Fat Bikes

What is a fat bike?

Mountain bikes focus on conquering rough terrain at high speed.  A recent modification to the mountain bike, is the fat bike. Fat bikes allow riders to travel across mud, sand, and snow.  Fat bikes have allowed riders to bike during, winter and wet conditions. The first fat bike appeared in 1987 for a 200 mile race across Alaska.  Since then, fat bikes have evolved from three different tires to one large tire. If you are looking for a solid bike to get you from point A to B, then fat bikes are for you.

Fat bike options

Fat bikes come in a wide variety of styles and purposes.  They are becoming lighter with carbon fiber frames. However, this also increase the price of the bikes.  Below some of the top fat bikes of 2018. They are listed from most expensive to least expensive to cover all users purchasing ability.

1)The Corvus built by Fatback is one of the more tech oriented fat bikes.  The entire frame is carbon fiber, which makes it very light. It can also accommodate very large 26” tires, or a smaller 29” tire.  This bike is light and versatile for all rides.

Corvus fat bike
Photo courtesy of fatbackbikes

2)The Blackborow GX Eagle built by Salsa Cycles is great for longer touring rides.  There is a built in rack for your saddles to hold all the beer and food you want. This bike is one of the more expensive rides, coming in at $2,799.

Blackborrow fat bike
Photo courtesy of salsacycles

3)The Vinson built by Mongoose is an affordable bike to get if you are not sure about investing in an expensive ride.  This bike is heavy and not fancy, but it will keep you moving. It is great if you are just riding around town. This bike is priced at $579.99.  

Vinson fat bike
Photo courtesy of Dicksportinggoods

A Perfect Day in February


Welcome to Fort Collins! Whether you are a prospective student, recent retiree, or a wide eyed tourist… Our City has something for everyone! This blog will give you detailed schedules so you can make the most out of your time in Fort Collins! If you are here with the kids and need a family friendly time we’ve got the schedule for you. If you have heard about our coveted breweries and looking to get drunk by one in the afternoon we’ve also got that! Explore our blog so that you can get the most out of the beautiful city of Fort Collins! This post outlines a perfect day in February! 

 

A Perfect day in February

If you’re visiting Fort Collins in February, the weather is bound to be unpredictable. Say you were banking on warm weather, and of course it ends up being cold. You aren’t out of luck! There’s plenty to do here, even on a chilly day! If you aren’t sure of what to do, don’t worry because we are here to give you a perfect itinerary that will allow you to make the most out of your time in Fort Collins! Here is a schedule we have planned out to for you… Enjoy!

6:00 AM: Start out your day by heading over to our favorite local coffee shop to grab a bite and some coffee before heading to Horsetooth for the sunrise. Bindle Coffee isn’t just a coffee shop! Bindles Coffee aims to provide their customers with a space to “breathe, to dream, and to enjoy beautiful food and coffee”. It has a wide array of pastries made in house by their beloved pastry chef Jen. Bindles values social sustainability, and exhibit this by sourcing their coffee through Direct Trade Relationships. They truly care about everyone involved in the production process and this really sets Bindle apart from other coffee shop! Bindles Coffee is not just a plain old coffee shop…  It is an experience authentic to Fort Collins that you will not want to miss out on!
*Pro-Tip: Get the Breakfast Burrito. You won’t regret it.

Address: 1933 Jessup Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80525

6:30 AM: It’s almost dawn at Horsetooth Reservoir, so drive on up to the top to see a beautiful view of the mountains and reservoir while the sun rises. Horsetooth Reservoir is beloved by CSU students and community members alike. During the summer you can expect to see boats, cliff divers, and groups of people cracking open a cold one on the shore. Since it is February these activities are not ideal, but not to worry…  You don’t even have to get out of your car to enjoy the beauty of Horsetooth. Just sit, enjoy the warmth of your car while you sip on that delicious Bindle latte (we recommend adding a splash of Irish Cream), and enjoy the view. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore around Horsetooth for a while and take in its beauty. If you need any assistance in finding your way around the area, there’s a map pictured below. Most of the parking lots cost $7  to park in, but if you stay in the car you can cruise away before receiving your ticket! 

Here is a google maps screenshot of what one of the parking lots look like! They are easy to find when driving around the reservoir! 

10:30 AM: Now that you got your early morning adventure in, you probably built up an appetite. Head over to the Silver Grill Cafe for brunch. Depending on what day you go, the wait time can get somewhat long, so it’s recommended to get there a little early. Be sure to try out their famous giant cinnamon rolls! Silver Grill Cafe also has some mouthwatering mimosas if you are looking to get your buzz on early in the day. 

2:00 PM: Once your tummy is full, you probably want to do something that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort. Bizarre Bazaar Bookstore is a cozy place that has a rich selection of books through the community buying, selling, and trading. However, this quaint little store has much more than than just books. This is the perfect place to browse through vinyl records, cassette tapes, posters, DVD’s, and so much more. http://fortcollinsbazaar.com/

6:00 PM: Now it’s close to dusk and if you want a charming place to see the sunset, CSU’s oval is the place for you. The oval is one of the oldest and untouched places on CSU’s beautiful campus, and it’s a great place to pass the time. Not to mention, It’s stunning during any season of the year. Keep an eye out for our eye catching squirrels who love to frequent the oval and accept snacks from welcoming visitors! 

8:00 PM: You just took a stroll through the Oval and now it’s time to grab a bite. What better way than to take a Carriage Ride through Historic Old Town Fort Collins to The Still Whiskey Steaks? It’s a fun and enjoyable way to get to dinner, and it allows you to see the most exciting and beautiful parts of our city! Once you arrive to The Still Whiskey Steaks, head in for a mouth-watering steak dinner. The Still Whiskey Steaks is a superb restaurant, whether it’s their outstanding food or the old timey ambiance, this is the perfect place to end the night.

via GIPHY

For carriage ride bookings, click the link below!

http://www.coloradocarriage.com/

 

Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking


Proper Cycling Attire for Beginners

Before you start tearing up the trail you need to be wearing the proper gear. Obviously, a mountain bike looks very different from a road bike, so it makes sense that the rider would too, however, the checklist of gear needed is essentially the same. In order to have the best time possible, prepare for your ride by ensuring that you have the right shorts, jersey, gloves, shoes, and helmet.

There are no rules that say you can’t wear your typical road bike shorts after the pavement ends, but aerodynamic skin-tight shorts are less necessary here than in the tour. Usually mountain bike shorts are baggier, longer, and have less padding, as riders are sitting in the saddle less often. It is also helpful to find shorts with pockets to carry whatever other gear you need, and find shorts that have a bit of stretch in them to offer better leg movement.

The story with mountain bike jerseys is very similar to the story of mountain bike shorts. They need to be less form-fitting than road cycling jerseys, but still fit close enough to wick away sweat. Pockets are less needed, however, especially if you’re also bringing a backpack.

Gloves are essential to a comfortable mountain bike outing. Padding and finger coverage protect your hands from taking a beating on the handlebars when you’re flying over rocks and stumps. Although having your entire hands covered may make them become sweaty and hot while you’re riding, you will appreciate the prevention they offer from getting bloody knuckles when you wipe out.

Mountain bike footwear is usually dependent upon which kind of pedals you have on your bike. Standard differences from road biking shoes are that mountain bike shoes usually have a rubber sole for more walk/hike-ability. Clips are helpful for steep climbs, but not totally necessary. Finding shoes that are waterproof would be very helpful when stream crossings are frequent.   

Without a doubt, your helmet is the most important piece of gear that you need for mountain biking. Different types of mountain biking require different styles of helmets, but the principle idea is the same. Find a helmet that fits tight on your head, but is not uncomfortable. To test the helmet, shake your head back and forth to see if the helmet shifts and slides around, then smash your head against the wall and see if it hurts. If it doesn’t and the helmet stays put, it’s good to go!

What to Bring

A riding bag with appropriate gear can make the difference between a fun ride, and a miserable hike out.  The basic items to bring is a small repair kit, some water, food, and some extra clothes if weather comes in.  You can purchase a small repair kit at a bike shop, or build one yourself.  A good store to check out is the Bike Co-op on College Avenue.  They have cheap equipment, and you can work off the cost by volunteering there.  A good riding bag isn’t bulky and heavy.  You want it to sit tight against your body and allow for some breathability.  A good brand is Osprey.  Their smaller 22 and 33 liter Talon bags work great.  These bags are versatile and can also be used for hiking, climbing, and around town.

For longer rides, it is good to bring about 2 liters of water, this looks like two Nalgene water bottles.  Using a water bladder works great, that

way you won’t have to stop to drink water if the shred is just too good.  I really like Deuter’s 3 liter bladder, they’re durable and don’t leak.

Bringing a light rain jacket is smart to bring anywhere.  This can act as a windbreaker, and also keep the elements off you.  Throwing in a long sleeve shirt or a light fleece might come in handy during lunch or at the trailhead.  Snacks are always smart to bring, for long rides.  Nothing beats a PB&J and a banana.  Some chocolate and a clif bar are good to eat when you start getting tired.

 

 

 

Basic Bike Components

Proper equipment is key to a great ride, with the most important component being the bike itself. Make sure you have a basic understanding of bike components, and what they do before you start shredding. The most important component is the frame itself. This is the skeleton or core of the bike. It is important that the rider uses a frame that is properly fit for their body size and riding needs. Frames come in many different materials depending on weight and price preferences including steel, alloy, aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium.

The wheels are also a vitally important piece of equipment. Mountain bike wheels tend to be wider and have more traction and grip than a normal road bike tire. Just like the frame, tires come in many different sizes depending on the size of the rider. The tires are mounted to the rims which are connected to the spokes, which are all connected to the hub. The hub is connected to the rest of the bike by two metal flanges that then connect to the shocks.  

Next we have the handlebars, which are located above the front wheel. These are used to steer, as well as hold the shifters and brake levers. Just like the frame, the handlebars come in different shapes and styles depending on the riders needs and price range. Ideally, the handlebars should be wider than the riders shoulders. The wider the handlebars the more control and leverage the rider has, although response time is diminished the wider the handlebar.  

Below the handlebars we have the stem, and steering tube, which connects the handlebars to the fork, allowing the rider to control their bike. The fork and shock absorbers are the suspension system of the bike and help minimize the shock from shredding. Bikes come with either front suspension with the shocks located on the front wheel, or dual suspension with rear and front shocks ideal for shredding gnarly terrain.

The saddle, or seat is connected to the frame by the seatpost and is an important component of your mountain bike. Having the proper seat for your size will give you maximum comfort and performance as you shred down the mountain. Before you start shredding you’ll also want to make sure you have properly working brakes. Mountain bike brakes come in two types, disc and rim brakes although disc brakes are the most widely used as they perform well in most weather and terrain conditions. You control your brakes from the brake levers located on the handlebars.

The crank holds the chain and chain ring, which make the bike move. The crank also has arms, or rods, which the pedals are connected to. The cassette is located near the rear tire of the bike and usually has around five to nine stacks of sprockets, which are used by the biker to shift gears using the shifters on the handlebars. When one uses their shifters, they are shifting either their front or rear derailleurs, which then moves the cassette up or down depending on terrain and slope.

Last we have the pedals, which allow the rider to power their bike through the most epic rides. Choosing the right pedal will not only make you a better rider, but is also important for ability level. The most common type of pedals are platform, toe clip, and clipless pedals. Platform are your basic bike pedals that are good for all riders. Toe clip pedal have a strap in which you insert your feet, giving you more stability. Clipless pedals allow the rider to fully connect themselves to the pedal, though this type of pedal requires special shoes, and can cause problems to those who lack experience or can’t release themselves from their pedals.

Now you have a basic understanding of the components of a mountain bike and are ready for your first ride. See you on the trail.

Your First Ride

For the first trail for a beginner mountain biker Blue Sky Trail is a very fun- flowy single track trail (mountain biking trail that is approximately the width of the bike) located on the back side of Horsetooth Reservoir. Riders can drive to the trailhead and pay to park at Blue Sky Trailhead Parking.  If you 

don’t have a Lory State Park permit you can pay the daily parking fee of $6.00 at the beginning of the trail next to the welcome board, trail map and bathrooms. Click here for directions.

Once on your bike head down and you’ll find a fork in the trail, take a right onto the Blue Sky trail. The trail stays pretty flat with a little downhills letting you getting use to your bike and warm up your legs for the ride. Once you go through the tunnel you will face the first challenge of the ride a couple minute uphill ride (ascent).  Once you’re up the hill the trails pays off with a slight downhill allowing you to pick up speed and start enjoying the ride.

 

The trail continues with fun single track for 3 miles when you come to the most technical part of the trail. A small uphill climb (ascent) with exposed rock. There’s no shame on getting off your bike and bike hiking up this short section of the trail.

The trail picks back up with single track and starts to open up allowing you to see the full landscape around you. This turns into some of the most fun parts of the trail allowing you to pick up some speed and lets you get a feel for your bike at a higher speed.

The trail continues like this for another mile where you’ll come to another uphill climb (ascent). This one is less gradual with very minimal rock exposure. Once you get up this section of the trail you come to a nice look out spot. You can see the extremely fun downhill (descent) right in front of you. If you are feeling adventures you can take the trail down and ride Indian Summer Trail which has more fun single track with a few more uphill climbs and technical sections. Or you can turn around a head back to the trailhead and re-ride all of the single track you just road.

Either way you have to head back the way you came to get back to the parking lot.