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UC Boulder

Old 04-23-08, 04:36 PM
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UC Boulder

My sister is going to be starting UC Boulder this fall and she went to visit the campus last week.

All my life I've been the big evangelical bike guy telling her she should bike commute. She was always WAY more car based.

But a funny thing happened during her visit. She saw all the other college kids biking around and something clicked in her mind. Biking became cool to her. And now she called me wanting help picking out a bike for college.

So I decided to get her one as her high school graduation present but I wanted some help from the forum.

Does anybody know what sort of bike is right for Boulder Colorado college campus riding?

The key factor for her is going to be what's in vogue, not what's practical. So it could be a fixed gear or SS bike, it could be a mountain bike, a beach cruiser, or a road bike tricked out with basket and fenders.

Does anyone know what the kids are riding over there on campus?
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Old 04-23-08, 05:31 PM
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Couldn't tell you what the kids are riding around campus, but I can tell you that you need to figure out where her interests lie. Between the insane amount of quality singletrack, and the tons of places to road bike...if you think she might get into one of those, you might want to take that into account.

Stuff to stay away from...while I do see a fair number of singlespeeds, fixies, cruisers, and the like around, there are some decent hills around Boulder, some of which you can't really avoid if you're commuting around campus. Half the places the kids hang out is in a part of town called "the Hill." Judging from the rest of your post, I'm going to assume she hasn't done much cycling in the past, so you might want to stay away from bikes like that and go with something geared. As she gets stronger, if she wants to play with something like that, she can always buy another bike (or convert the one she has).

There's no bike really "in vogue" as far as I can think of. I see a ridiculous amount of designer names...lots of Intenses and Yetis and Ellsworths and Tituses and Ibises and the like...but at the same time, every store I go into seems to be a Specialized dealer. Almost all of the bikes I see on the trail are full suspension...but if 99% of the time it's going to be a living-outside-sometimes-chained-to-a-bike-rack commuter, why bother? Most of the bikes I see locked up on the side of the street (which I'm assuming are people's commuters) are either hardtails or old roadbikes...but I swear I never actually see people riding these bikes, so I don't know how they get there, other than to assume it's Serotta's new security feature, that when parked, makes their bikes appear to be a chromoly junker from the 80's.

There's a sick number of bike shops in the Boulder/Denver area, so you could always take her shopping around and see if something catches her eye. Finally, Denver's Craigslist is incredible. There's usually about a page and a half worth of bikes that come up every day, and you do occasionally stumble across a gem. Boulder's Craigslist isn't half bad either. Keep an eye out for sponsored riders getting rid of a year old bike because they're being provided with a new one, and people who bought their spouse a bike...only to find out the spouse hated biking.

My recommendation would be to find her an entry level hardtail that won't fall apart if she decides to rock some singletrack, but won't feel like a waste if she never uses it to its full potential. Alternately, a cross bike might also work...there are definitely trails out here that can be done on a cross bike, and it would also be faster to commute on, though I do think the hardtail would be more versatile. Either way, chances are you'll pick her up at the end of the school year, and by that time, she'll have a quiver.

Last edited by Zephyr11; 04-23-08 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 04-23-08, 08:56 PM
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for around campus (generic college campus, i have never been to CO) i would think a flatbar roadish hybrid bike would be best, based on your description i would think somethign liek this

this girl that just started commuting to work i know that hasn't riden a bike in years i got onto a trek 3700, she was more into the price of a mountain bike as opposed to road type bikes. plus the wide tires and shock fork give it a comfy ride, but i would think a flatbar / hybrid would be more in vouge and it will be faster and lighter (a big part of the equation if she is small and needs to bring this up and down stairs. I know people who never ride their bike after they move up to the third floor of a buildinf/dorm just cause they hate getting it outside.)

what type of budget?
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Old 04-24-08, 05:58 AM
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I like the Gary Fisher Marlin Disc or the Spec. Hardrock Comp Disc. Both are in the rough $600 range and both will be comfortable, easy to ride around campus, but will be able to easily handle some singletrack riding.
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Old 04-24-08, 07:57 AM
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I work on the CU Boulder campus and see a wide range of bikes that the students ride here. I think the answer to the question depends on a few things. First biking on campus and the University Hill (where a lot of the students hang out and is close to campus) is one thing, but Boulder has awesome bike paths and a reasonable number of very easy trail rides close by. Add to that the quality of the local road riding and you have to have an idea of whether the use of the bike will be limited to campus/town use. Lots of students ride mountain bikes which gives them several useful features - plenty of gearing for the hills, decent tires and traction for the snow days (of which there are a good number) and are generally rugged when locked up in a pile outside of the library. There are a good number of townie and road style bikes used by students but I would say the majority are mountain.
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