As the world's only indoor velodrome and mountain bike park, Boulder Indoor Cycling has netted considerable press attention along with a member base of passionate pedalers. An open-to-the-public mezzanine level overlooks the 142-meter track, whose corners tilt at a visually confounding 45-degree angle. First-timers can veer down the course at a moderate pace while advanced bikers gun for competition-level speeds, eyeing the current lap record of 7.690 seconds set by 2006 U.S. National Track Champion Kevin Selker. The velodrome track also encircles a mountain bike playground of wood platforms meant to mirror outdoor obstacles, such as log bridges, rock piles, and sleeping gnomes that send cycles careening over uneven terrain. Professional athletes and national champions comprise BIC's elite staff of cycling coaches. Both on the track and across the park planks, their classes acclimate cyclists of all ages to several tiers of biking techniques. Children ages 2–10 years can pilot a mountain bike without ever relying on training wheels or indebted wind gods during CycleTykes sessions. Youth programs, track cycling seminars, and adult race leagues also permit members to saddle up and whiz by at their preferred pace.
The Urban Assault Ride challenges cyclists to speed from obstacle course to obstacle course across their city during eco-friendly scavenger hunts that benefit local charities. Teams draft a road map to try to thwart the competition and be the first to complete the race, pausing at a series of checkpoints, where they must surmount such active roadblocks as slip 'n' slides, bike jousting, and reciting the Iliad in Pig Latin. The first team to conquer each challenge and cross the finish line is declared the victor, but all participants celebrate their efforts at a lively after-party stocked with snacks, beer, nonalcoholic drinks, and prizes.
As recently as April 2014, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicated Boulder, Colorado as the skinniest city in the United States. Since the pedestrian-friendly city rests in the cradle of the Rocky Mountain foothills, with plenty of nearby opportunities to hike, the ranking is perhaps no surprise to Boulder's 100,000 residents. It certainly comes as no surprise to guides at Boulder Walking Tours, who make their living showing off the city's footpaths through its downtown historic districts.
On one of their signature tours, guides take up to eight guests to explore Boulder's still-operational Chautauqua campus, where an adult-educational movement has thrived since the late 19th century. The morning-long tour benefits from stunning views of the Flatirons, deftly told anecdotes of local Chautauquans, and historical photographs that show off how far picture-taking technology has come.
The pool at Ocean First Divers is warmed to 88 degrees to wrap students in a watery safety blanket as they venture out of their element. As a classroom for swimming and scuba-diving lessons, the pool boasts a gradient bottom that deepens in slow increments from 4 to 12 feet. Though Ocean First Divers now trains scores of students in swimming and scuba each year, the dive center was originally founded to advocate for the ocean’s unique ecosystems. The organization was so successful in its mission that it has claimed PADI’s Environmental Achievement Award every year since the prize’s inception. Now, the dive center's creative conservation efforts include group trips to Key Largo, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Galápagos Islands, where students get a firsthand look at why these one-of-a-kind ecosystems are worth protecting, and, alternatively, the detrimental environmental effects of litter left by Charles Darwin.
John Georgis?a.k.a Banjo Billy?drives an old school bus. It isn't the standard canary-yellow vehicle, though: the roof has been cut off and replaced with wooden fence slats and pitched tin. The seats have been ripped out and replaced with rows of couches, reclining chairs, and leather saddles. A glimmering disco ball hangs from the roof, and a rubber chicken affixed to the grill announces the bus' presence with a playful tone. Even though it resembles a mobile mountain shack, John's vehicle is often filled with guests eager to get a glimpse of Boulder or Denver on one of Banjo Billy's Bus Tours as seen on NPR's "Nickel Tour" series.