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  1. #1
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    riding around boulder, CO?

    Hi all- i'm contemplating moving from NM to Boulder for a job... i hear horror stories of closed trails, and "no trails close to town". How true is this? For a variety of reasons, we'll probably live right in town as opposed to outside of town.

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    Closed trails? There were a few after the floods, but most of the MTB-specific trails are open again with the exception of the Heil Ranch parking area (you can still access most of that trail system from the north). Everything else is pretty much back to normal. Occasionally trails will close due to mud after a big snow storm, but I think that's a good thing to keep traffic off.

    The only trails you can realistically ride to from town are Walker Ranch (would involve pretty serious climbing to get to the TH) and Betasso Preserve (an easy 20-30 min spin up the canyon). There are tons of other trails within a 10-15 minute drive in virtually all directions.

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    thanks - I should be more clear. I meant "closed trails" a la Marin County, where all but a few miles of singletrack are off limits to bikes. Doesn't sound like that's the case in Boulder!

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    This :: | Boulder Mountainbike Alliance will help and gives updates to whats open and closed based on conditions (mtb trails only though) There are hundreds of trails and many closed to Boulder cyclists, but there are a few that are close and reliable. Nederland is a short bus trip away and there is always high country during the summer to avoid the crowds
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    thanks - I should be more clear. I meant "closed trails" a la Marin County, where all but a few miles of singletrack are off limits to bikes. Doesn't sound like that's the case in Boulder!
    Not necessarily so. There are hundreds of miles of trail around Boulder but only something like 3% (I made that up but it is a ridiculously low number) of it is open to bikes. Boulder city council doesn't like mountain bikes because they think we spoil the view of their foothills homes.

    They push the bike trails to the outskirts of town so the best one not really rideable from the center of town.

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    Perhaps if one was taking a job in Boulder, one could live in Golden and enjoy a much more MTB friendly atmosphere without having too bad of a commute.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    Perhaps if one was taking a job in Boulder, one could live in Golden and enjoy a much more MTB friendly atmosphere without having too bad of a commute.
    Sadly, 93 will make sure that doesn't happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    The only trails you can realistically ride to from town are Walker Ranch (would involve pretty serious climbing to get to the TH) and Betasso Preserve (an easy 20-30 min spin up the canyon). There are tons of other trails within a 10-15 minute drive in virtually all directions.
    And the Marshal Mesa trail system.

    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    thanks - I should be more clear. I meant "closed trails" a la Marin County, where all but a few miles of singletrack are off limits to bikes. Doesn't sound like that's the case in Boulder!
    As has been noted, there are a ridiculous number of hiking trails that start right in Boulder, but they're not open to bikes and haven't been in 30 years. But there's still a small handful, and the number of trails has slowly but surely risen over the years. Boulder is not a mt bike mecca, but it has something to offer, more than many places (and less than others).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    Hi all- i'm contemplating moving from NM to Boulder for a job... i hear horror stories of closed trails, and "no trails close to town". How true is this? For a variety of reasons, we'll probably live right in town as opposed to outside of town.
    One person's "close" is another's "way too far".

    It also depends on what you consider to be a mountain bike trail.

    Also, do you mind driving to the trailhead? And finally, Boulder is very spread out, so a lot really depends on exactly where you live.

    There is a network of trails just south of town collectively known as the Dirty Bismarck plus Doudy/Springbrook. Everything from manicured gravel bike path to pretty nice singletrack. If you lived in South Boulder, it is only a 2-3 mile ride to get to those trails. From the north side, 6-7 miles.

    On the east side there is really nothing.

    On the north side, there are a couple of great options, Heil and Hall, but they are 6-15 miles from town.

    On the west, you can ride 8 miles and 2000 feet of elevation gain on pavement to get to Walker Ranch. Other than that, he entire range of foothills around Boulder, from Eldorado Springs to Lefthand Canyon road, are off limits to bikes, with the exception of Betasso, which is short, crowded, and closed to mountain bikes on alternating days. In a nutshell, the ruling class in Boulder hates mountain bikes and mountain bikers.

    There is an additional issue in that there is not a single dedicated MTB trail around Boulder, and the trails are generally overused. Imagine hikers, horses, runners, people pushing strollers, etc. Oh, and an occasional mountain bike.

    Golden is far better, but is also jumping the shark as we speak due to the incredible rate of population growth in the area. Be prepared to ride off hours or drive an hour to be able to ride without hassle most of the time.

  10. #10
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    well, the job is actually broomfield. so maybe it does make sense to live elsewhere? Good public schools are a must, and it would be nice to have some character (not only subdivisions)

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    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    well, the job is actually broomfield. so maybe it does make sense to live elsewhere? Good public schools are a must, and it would be nice to have some character (not only subdivisions)
    Well, there's not much near Broomfield that has character, though living near there will cost a lot less than Boulder or its environs. Anything in the Boulder Valley School district will be good as far as schools, which includes Louisville and Superior, somewhat closer options to Broomfield (and closer to that southern trail system). One trail system not mentioned yet is West Mag, about 25-35 minutes west of Boulder, depending on where you start from. Good riding up there, and what's more, not crowded at all. But it becomes less and less accessible the further away from Boulder you live (which is why it isn't crowded, it's too far for most of the Denver crowd).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    well, the job is actually broomfield. so maybe it does make sense to live elsewhere? Good public schools are a must, and it would be nice to have some character (not only subdivisions)
    What is your price range? Golden is way better than Broomfield for riding and parts have character. The commute is 20-30 minutes, depending on exactly where you are in each town. Broomfield is something like 11 miles end to end and Golden is 5 or 6. There are back ways between Golden and Broomfield that aren't terrible. The schools in BVSD in Broomfield are arguably better than Golden though. A weird thing about schools here - some towns are in multiple school districts, so kids from one part of Broomfield are in Boulder Valley Schools and other parts are in Adams 12.

    Louisville is a great town closer to Boulder, but as pricey as Golden. Lafayette is generally cheaper than Louisville, but now you are getting out away from the trails. Superior is subdivision hell, except for the original town which is about three blocks square. Superior does have good trail access to the south Boulder trail system.

    Another option is Arvada, which is halfway between Golden and Broomfield. There are some nice older areas west of Arvada that have acreage and which are pretty close to trails. Ralston Valley High School is good. Original town Arvada is kind of funky, but Arvada High School does not have a great rep. Arvada West High is a little better.

    As a side note, Colorado has a lot of charter schools and the most accommodating open enrollment rules anywhere. If there is room in a school, you can enroll in it at no cost. Most schools take kids from the matriculation area first, then students from in district, then students from out of district. Of course, there is a lot of competition for the best charter schools, and some schools fill up with local residents, but a surprising number of great schools take open enrollment. Fairview High School in Boulder is one of the best high schools in the state and it almost always takes open enrollment, even from outside the district, mainly because almost no one with kids can afford to live in Boulder anymore!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the replies. Gonna do some digging and might come back with questions. Seems like if the job is in broomfield there are some options aside from boulder. Would also be nice to be commuting distance to denver if this job doesn't pan out longer term. Golden and Arvada both look interesting.

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    I live in NW Arvada and it is pretty decent. It is easy access to downtown Denver and Boulder (just about right between drive-wise). Unfortunately you'll be driving for any mtn bike trail access, but Golden is very accessible.
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  15. #15
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    Thanks. Haven't been hearing great things about golden schools (we have 3 kids who will be in public schools). A few mentioned superior and and louisville?

  16. #16
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    Decent site for school rankings - coloradoschoolgrades.com

    My guess is that it will be 15+ years (though maybe never) before the PRB City Council gets their head out of their a$$ and become bike friendly. With a pro-bike CC, Boulder could be a mountain bike mecca and have one of the best trail systems in the Front Range. Sadly, you'll be driving to the TH (hoping the lot isn't full) and the only riding out your front door will be on a road bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy03 View Post
    Thanks. Haven't been hearing great things about golden schools (we have 3 kids who will be in public schools). A few mentioned superior and and louisville?
    The schools in Jeffco (Arvada/Golden/Lakewood, etc.) used to be pretty awesome. Unfortunately, school funding in CO has taken a nosedive in the past few years, and I think the sheer size of the district (80,000 or so students) seems to have weighed on Jeffco more than Boulder. Then, to add salt to the wounds, the school board was taken over by some fundamentalist whackjobs hellbent on creating a voucher system to allow private schools to get public funds. They also want to bust the teacher's union, which means teachers will be leaving in droves soon, just like they have in Douglas Country, where the same nutcases took over the district a few years ago.

    With that said, there are some great schools left in Jeffco. The people I know whose kids have gone to Ralston Valley HS (NW Arvada) are very satisfied.

    BVSD is definitely the best district around overall in the areas you are looking, and every single dwelling inside the district carries a price premium becasue of that. Talk to a realtor in Broomfield about how two essentially identical houses in two different subdivisions will have different prices based on whether the house is in BVSD or Adams 12. That's all you need to know about that.

    Superior has great access to the south Boulder trails, and the schools are great. IMHO though, it is one of the most bleak manufactured living areas I've ever seen. The "lower end" houses, those under $400K, are simply ****. I watched those houses being built. Nearly every one has had major foundation reconstruction due to expansive soils. Take a look at the headers on the 2-car garages. Nearly every one sags. They are basically the same quality house that you could get in Thornton for $200K. Location, location, location, I guess. I also have a bit of a disagreement with the fact that they are an incorporated town, but they have no local police force and no library. They pay the county to patrol, and they use the Louisville library, or at least they used to. There was quite a stink about that a few years ago. They also absolutely screwed the people who lived in the original town by making a bunch of promises about what they would get if they would allow Rock Creek to be annexed into the town structure. They have been second class citizens ever since.

    Louisville is much more of a "real" town, but $400K is the basement there. What is your price range? If you are looking $500K or more, Louisville is great, as long as you are in the Monarch HS zone. Centaurus is not so great. I'd much rather have my kids at Ralston Valley in Jeffco than Centaurus in BVSD.

  18. #18
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    riding around boulder, CO?

    As a Louisville resident with kids in Louisville Elementary (and soon Middle) I have to say our schools are pretty awesome.

    LES will be closed to open enrollment next year as will LMS for the most part because these schools are so popular that people are now buying homes in the catchment area to get their kids in.

    The riding, though not spectacular, is decent enough out the door as well. You can't under estimate the usefulness of a 24hr legally open trail system on your doorstep when you are a busy worker and parent. Hint: a lot if my riding is done at night!
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 03-18-2014 at 11:16 AM.

  19. #19
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    riding around boulder, CO?

    One more thing, the commute from Louisville to boulder is real easy. You can cycle it in 20-50 minutes as well depending on where you live and work.

  20. #20
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    coloradoschoolgrades.com

    There is definitely some kind of agenda in the rankings on that site.

    They rank Fairview HS in Boulder 99th in the state, Monarch 39rd and Cherry Creek 33rd. They put a huge weight on "Academic Growth" based on test score ranking relative to other schools. Guess what? If you already rank in the top 3% in test scores year after year, it is pretty tough to "grow" based on that criteria.

    Take a look at the Academic Proficiency row on their charts: Fairview gets A or A+ everywhere, but gets ranked 99th.

    Take a look at the sponsors of the website and I think you'll see a pattern.


    YMMV.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    coloradoschoolgrades.com
    There is definitely some kind of agenda in the rankings on that site.
    coloradoschoolgrades.com/AboutUs.aspx

    Looks like 18 different groups/sponsors behind the site. Not sure what their agenda is. What site do you recommend for out-of-state folks to compare schools/districts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biopace View Post
    coloradoschoolgrades.com/AboutUs.aspx

    Looks like 18 different groups/sponsors behind the site. Not sure what their agenda is. What site do you recommend for out-of-state folks to compare schools/districts?
    Just look at it this way. For elementary and middle schools, that site ranks "Academic Growth Gaps" equally with pure academic achievement. With all due respect, when I was deciding where to live, I wanted schools that had high achieving students, and I didn't really give a rat's ass how well that school did in getting non-English speaking students to read at grade level. Maybe you care. Apparently the people who run that website care. The agenda is to try to prove that regular public schools are failing at-risk kids, therefore we need school vouchers to give to kids who want to go to private schools. The way this usually plays out is that the high achieving kids use the vouchers to abandon the public schools in favor of private ones, leaving behind a cesspool of public schools that provide convenient news stories for the vouchers to continue.

    They gave Fairview High, for example, an 'F' becasue a few non-English speakers and "free/reduced lunch" students didn't "improve". Meanwhile, Fairview lead the state, and was in the top five in the entire US, in the number of kids who had perfect scores on the ACT. It is all about what you care about for *your* kids.

    The education system in Colorado is quite different from most other states. School funding is abysmal, so teacher turnover is extremely high in some districts, but in the districts that pay a little more like Boulder, the teachers are there for decades. Some districts/schools have a very high ESL population which takes funding from other programs. There are also lots of magnet schools, which means the cream of the crop of students sometimes end up elsewhere. This makes some schools look unexpectedly awesome (Lakewood High and Fairview High for example) and others look lower than they would have if the highest performing students stayed in their assigned schools.

    Colorado has completely open enrollment but usually the best schools are already full, so you can't count on that bailing you out. Many of the highest performing schools are charters that have a lottery system. If you can start trying in 1st grade, you might get in and your child might progress through the charter, but because of sibling guarantees, once you get to middle school it is all but impossible to get into these schools becasue turnover is low.

    Here are some rankings based more on academic achievement:

    Best High Schools - US News

    http://www.newsweek.com/2013/05/06/a...h-schools.html

    The Dean's List | 5280

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    No need to get bent out of shape. I have no connection to that site other than we used it when making a move from Wash Park out to the burbs/foothills in search of better public schools. I don't agree with the voucher approach (would not live in Douglas County b/c of it) and I don't really see the connection here, but I still have not found a better site (everything you linked is only in regards to high schools).

    So if your theory is correct then why isn't Cherry Hills Elementary in the same boat as far as growth is concerned? The have even fewer non-English speaking kids than Fairview and it's an even more affluent area (homes start in the 1M+ range and go up quickly from there).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biopace View Post
    No need to get bent out of shape. I have no connection to that site other than we used it when making a move from Wash Park out to the burbs/foothills in search of better public schools. I don't agree with the voucher approach (would not live in Douglas County b/c of it) and I don't really see the connection here, but I still have not found a better site (everything you linked is only in regards to high schools).

    So if your theory is correct then why isn't Cherry Hills Elementary in the same boat as far as growth is concerned? The have even fewer non-English speaking kids than Fairview and it's an even more affluent area (homes start in the 1M+ range and go up quickly from there).
    If a school had only one ESL student and one free/reduced student and they were both geniuses, that school would be ranked first on that website.

    Meanwhile, a school that had 200 ESL students and 200 FRL students that got 380 of them up to grade level would rank lower.

    Look at the 18 sponsors. Follow the money trail. Be aware.

    The Independence Institute? Douglas County Vouchers | Education Policy Center

    The Anschutz Foundation? Anschutz Foundation - SourceWatch

    The Daniels Foundation? Daniels Fund promises up to $530,000 in fight for Douglas County voucher program - The Denver Post

    The Walton Family Foundation? Walton foundation pumps cash into vouchers - The Washington Post

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    If a school had only one ESL student and one free/reduced student and they were both geniuses, that school would be ranked first on that website.

    Meanwhile, a school that had 200 ESL students and 200 FRL students that got 380 of them up to grade level would rank lower.

    Look at the 18 sponsors. Follow the money trail. Be aware.

    The Independence Institute? Douglas County Vouchers | Education Policy Center

    The Anschutz Foundation? Anschutz Foundation - SourceWatch

    The Daniels Foundation? Daniels Fund promises up to $530,000 in fight for Douglas County voucher program - The Denver Post

    The Walton Family Foundation? Walton foundation pumps cash into vouchers - The Washington Post
    As I said, I'm anti-vouchers and agree that it will destroy the public schools systems as we know it. However, your math doesn't work according to their approach, but I understand where you're coming from (I'd be butthurt as well if I had kids at Fairview and saw that ranking).

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