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  1. #1
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    Questions about life in Denver metro area

    First, yes, I know people get tired of these questions. I did read the sticky thread and that helped some.

    Here's the deal. We (wife and I) moved from Baltimore to Fort Collins 2.5 years ago because I had a chance to work as an independent consultant. The work is drying up and I'm looking at "real" jobs now. There's a good chance I might get a job with a company in Denver and so we'd move to the Denver area. The company's offices are right near Invesco Field. The sticky thread makes me think we'll look into living in the northwest burbs (esp. Golden, given that it sounds like a nice town and has good access to trails etc.).

    I have a few questions, though, and would love input from this community. I'm just trying to find out what it might be like to live in Denver or the nearby towns to west.

    We like walkable neighborhoods/towns, access to parks and trails. I'd like to be able to bike to work and for errands.

    Living in Denver itself might be nice. What neighborhoods would you all recommend? Is it possible to bike around and bike commute in Denver? Bike paths, bike lanes?

    What if we lived in Golden or somewhere around there? Is it possible to bike into Denver? Is Golden the most walkable of those towns. We're not entirely opposed to suburbia, but we'd prefer more of a town.

    Thanks for any input you all can give me.

  2. #2
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    As a Golden resident, my gut instinct is to inform you that Golden has a huge crime rate, terrible access to anything outdoorsy, our trails suck, but I love Golden anyway. FYI- I hear Aurora has everything your looking for.
    I have a 2 minute commute to my basement everyday and I dont ride pavement unless I'm connecting trail systems. There are some paved trails that go into Denver, but I've never rode them to the east. I'm sure someone else out there will have some better advice. Good luck in your search for a place to live and job.

  3. #3
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    If you're a city person, there are some pretty cool neighborhoods in the heart of Denver, thereby cutting down or nearly eliminating your commute, which I've found to be a PITA, as I drive into Denver a lot during all hours. Wow, living near your place of work, i.e., no commute. What a concept.

    You have to "commute" everyday. Yeah, you'll have to drive to trail heads from Denver but that isn't everyday during rush hour. If you lived in Golden you'd be driving into and out of Denver daily. Yeah, trails nearby, still...

    I'm not a city person but I hate driving in rush hour traffic and could see becoming a city person just because I'd want to eliminate that evil daily commute.

    Don't dismiss the idea of living, say, in Riverfront Park in one of those high rise condo buildings. Walk to Lodo nightlife, bike to work, drive to trail heads. That's real different from the life I have now but consider all options.
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  4. #4
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    I've done both, and prefer living where I want to play and driving to work vs. living near work and driving to everything else. It does cost extra, though. (Edit: scratch that part. Houses we looked at in Highlands were more per sq.ft. than our place in Golden)

    You can ride to Denver (more or less easily depending on where the office is). I think my commute to west Denver from the west side of Golden was 13+ mi each way, and it wasn't awful, but I also find I'm more apt to commute if it's not quite so far.
    Last edited by dbabuser; 03-25-2011 at 06:02 PM.
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  5. #5
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    I have lived in Northwest Denver for a few years now (Poter Highlands Neighborhood) to be exact. This is a neighborhood that I would highly recommend. It would most likely be close to your work, its just a few minutes to downtown Denver and the neighborhood has a lot of great things to do, and able to walk and bike to everything. Your also close to the Cherry Creek and Platte River trail systems if you want to run or rode bike. As for getting to trails. You are right in between HWY 6 and I-70 so you have 2 options to go west where all the dirt trails are. I head to the trails 2-4 times a week after work and on the weekends and vary rarely hit traffic. It only takes 20min to get to the Chimney Gulch trail head. Anyway long story short I would recommend living near work and driving to the trails. So If it were me I would be looking at the Highlands and Jefferson Park neighborhoods. You cold even do Edgewater an often overlooked area.

  6. #6
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    is it just the two of you, no kids? Denver would be nirvana if that's the case, lots of bike trails, bike commuting can be done year round if your stubborn enough, and a very walkable lifestyle if you choose your location carefully. 32nd in the Highlands area (across the Platte from Denver and close to the river trails, parks, downtown), or if you're more of an urban hipster south broadway, or the area around Park ave and Champa (you could practically walk to work there). If you're after more neighborhood feel, around wash park or where I live in congress park or around Cheesman park are good. It's not a huge area to just come check out.
    Golden is pretty cool too and if I didn't work on the other side of denver I'd probably live there in the actual town of Golden. It's a cute town, good trail access, like minded outdoorsy neighbors, but 6th can get pretty ugly driving into Denver during rush hour, and bike commuting would take a good chunk of time.
    My only complaint about Denver is the commute to the outdoors, and the schools aren't great, but without young kids to think about that concern would evaporate. I can't tell you what a mental health boost commuting by bike is for me in this relatively warm, sunny city, and how much of the city is reachable by bike.

  7. #7
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    llama- PM me if you'd like to hear my views on life in Aurora
    Just a Kitty cruisin' in the Rockies with her Pumpkin (TREK 820)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBkitty
    ...like to hear my views on life in Aurora
    C'mon! I wanna hear it too!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBkitty
    llama- PM me if you'd like to hear my views on life in Aurora
    Don't you mean Saudi Aurora?
    My new Quote is "don't let friends ride old bikes on DH Trails "

  10. #10
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    Traffic sucks in Denver, I'd recommend living close to work.
    That way, you only do a lot of driving when you want to go ride, not every day.

  11. #11
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    I've had discussions about this with others as well. And, this topic comes up more often after a good day out playing than after quitin' time from work. This is the question that came up time and time again:
    If you remove the foothill from your field of view, what differentiates Denver from...say Chicago, Dallas, NY, Toronto, or anywhere that has more concrete than dirt/rocks/trees? Another way to ask this question I guess is why are you here in Denver/CO? What's the draw? Is it the pay, the culture, the proximity to your job, or to nature? What makes you happier, being close to work or to play?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y
    Another way to ask this question I guess is why are you here in Denver/CO? What makes you happier, being close to work or to play?
    When I was looking for a place to live, we could have bought a lot more house for a lot cheaper price in Thornton, Firestone, Aurora, ect. but I didn't want to live in those areas because it reminded me of the suburbs around Cincinnati, where I was from. Not that there is anything wrong there, its just not for me.
    When I moved to Golden, I wasn't even into mnt biking. Now that I am, I really couldn't think of a better place to live in Co.
    There's my 2 cents

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by llama
    I know from experience that I don't respond well to a daily dose of rush hour traffic.
    I'm not sure what field you're in and if this is even possible, but this is how I deal w/ rush hour traffic:
    I work just a few miles north of Parker, and I live in Golden. Yeah, the commute is not ideal. BUT, if I'm on the road at 15 before 6am, I can do ~75 all the way there. The commute is about 30 minutes. This also allows me to bail work early. I do my lunch at my desk so I do a straight 8 hour day and can be on the road at 3pm. The return trip is ~40 minutes. Think about the potential for after work rides...you can be at the trail head before 4pm

    Quote Originally Posted by llama
    Also, we'll rent at first, so we're not locked into the first place we move.
    If you and yours end up renting in Golden, PM me. Maybe we can do a referral fee split for my apt complex

  14. #14
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    Thanks guys.

    Nope, no kids, just the two of us, so schools and other kiddie needs are not an issue.

    I am not a big fan of commuting or rush hour traffic. I did various hellacious commutes in Batlimore and DC for 8 years and I don't want to do it again. Denver traffic is not nearly as bad as DC, but I still wouldn't want to deal with it. So if traffic coming in from Golden is bad, I"d opt to live closer. While out hiking today, I decided that we would visit on weekday and try to see what rush hour traffic is like down there.

    After my meeting with the company, we went out to lunch near the office. We ate in this little cluster of shops and restaurants and I asked about the neighborhood and he said it was Highlands. That definitely seemed like the kind of area we'd like. We're definitely not hipsters but we lived in a very hipster neighborhood in Baltimore and liked it. Basically, if we can walk to dinner, walk to coffee shops, have parks to walk our dogs, and avoid wasting hours when we do drive, that would be great. I'll have to get more of a feel for some of these neighborhoods. Thanks for the suggestions.

    It's a good question about whether we'd rather be close to work or close to trails. Of course, if this happens, I don't yet know where my wife's work will be. She won't have a hard time finding work, but who knows where she'd end up. Among the western burbs, Golden sounds most interesting to me, and if the traffic from there is bad, then I'd rather be close to work. My hobbies are huge part of my happiness, but I know from experience that I don't respond well to a daily dose of rush hour traffic. Also, we'll rent at first, so we're not locked into the first place we move.

    Another thing I hate is filth and crime. In Baltimore, we lived in a very artsy, very fun neighborhood, but there were also junkies and thugs and trash around. No violent crime in our hood, thankfully, but just a lot of filth and it was hard to stand after a while.

    Honestly, I'm still hoping I can find some good work up here in FTC. But this would be a good job (not just money, but good work) so it'll be tough to beat.

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling...it's been on my mind a lot and I just had a Mojo IPA on an empty stomach...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by YETI_Chris
    Don't you mean Saudi Aurora?
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  16. #16
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    We rented in Berkeley for 1.5 years until we bought our house in Wheat Ridge. Berkeley was a nice neighborhood, really cute, lots of beautiful refurbished old houses, but a little too much $$ for our requirements (large garage, yard). I miss it though, I did like it there. Good food, drinking establishments, cute small shops, galleries and a fun First Friday art walk.

  17. #17
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    There are roads all over that will take you anywhere. THe bike trials (actually multi-use trails) don't really connect anything. Same for the on-street bike lanes.

    My advice: live closer to work and commute to play. It is a lot less stressful. As for neighborhoods in Denver, come down and ride around on a weekend. Get lost and find some interesting areas: Park Hill, Governor's Park, Highlands, Potter-Highlands, Five-Points, Clayton, Curtis Park. All the neighborhoods in Denver are nice, they get better if you take the time to get to know your neighbors, In other words, experience the cultural diversity that D-town has to offer. It might surprise you. Good luck.

  18. #18
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    I call commuting any more than 20 minutes a "soulless waste of time". I drive all over Denver at all hours of the day for my job (I never know where I'm headed, it's never the same place) and when I'm stuck in rush hour I look around at all these grim resigned faces.

    Maybe they moved after they got a job, maybe their job moved after they bought somewhere, but all time spent in traffic like that just sucks. You're not going to be driving from your house in Denver, if that's where you decide to locate, during rush hour, to go ride but you'll sure as heck be driving INTO and OUT OF Denver during rush hour if you live in the 'burbs.
    Don't load onto your day your year's burden

  19. #19
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    As one of those guys on this forum who can't stop raving about Golden, I'll tell you moving up here from Denver was one of the best things we ever did. Commute into Denver (east side of downtown), during peak times is 25-30 mins, half of which is getting through downtown.

    BUT...

    From what you're describing, and with no kiddos, Highlands may be a better fit. It's a super cool area, west side of Denver (making foothills more accessible), and more vibrant with cool houses, restaraunts, etc. Golden is a bit sleepy in that department. Highlands is a bit too urban for my taste (I formerly lived in the DU area), but its cool.

    That said. Golden is awesome.

    Good luck.

  20. #20
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    If you like waterbars I can't recommend Golden and Jeffco enough.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firecrackerktm
    We rented in Berkeley for 1.5 years until we bought our house in Wheat Ridge. Berkeley was a nice neighborhood, really cute, lots of beautiful refurbished old houses, but a little too much $$ for our requirements (large garage, yard). I miss it though, I did like it there. Good food, drinking establishments, cute small shops, galleries and a fun First Friday art walk.
    i live in Highlands, and really like it. I work in Golden and want to move to Golden. Trying to sell now, but the reality for me is Golden is too much too.. I
    plan to jump over Sheridan a few blocks into Wheat Ridge and then will still be biking distance to the Highlands and will be able to afford a decent house. Like you I enjoy a neighborhood and hate having to jump into the car every time I want to go out for a bite or whatever. Finding something in walking distance to downtown Golden is next to impossible in my price range..
    BBZ

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  22. #22
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    +1 for jumping across Sheridan (west side) to live biking distance from highlands, and also pay less to the bank that owns (most of) my house

    Also makes my drive to the trails bout 5 min less then highlands (depending on location).

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by concretejungle
    If you like waterbars I can't recommend Golden and Jeffco enough.
    What's a waterbar? Is that where they serve Coors?

    Oh, and you do commute during rush hour to ride if you go right after work. Your drive home is easier, though. But if I have an hour, I can do a fun 50 minute ride (including time to change and air up the tires). If you live in Denver and have an hour, you can drive to the trailhead, ride around the parking lot, and come back home.
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  24. #24
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    +1 for any of these, in order of housing costs: Potter Highlands, West Highlands, Berkeley, Sunnyside, or even Edgewater, which is just west of Sheridan. They're all on the west side of downtown, which helps greatly with the drive to the foothills. Wash Park, Park Hill, City Park, Baker, etc. are just as cool......except for a longer trip to the foothills.

    I work west, in Lakewood, and my commute's a breeze, but i see (when I drive in the morning) lots of stop-and-go traffic along 6th Avenue trying to get into Denver. I wouldn't recommend committing to bike commuting from Golden daily, because while it's def. possible, on bike paths most of the way, it's kinda long for every day (for me anyway).

    Oh, and this?:
    "What's a waterbar? Is that where they serve Coors?"...
    ...is genius.

  25. #25
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    When is the light rail to/from Golden (Jeffco gov complex) supposed to be finished?

  26. #26
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  27. #27
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    From the RTD website:

    The West Corridor is the first FasTracks Corridor under construction and will be the first to open in May 2013

  28. #28
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    Thanks for the info and suggestions. We plan to head down in the next week or two and poke around some of the suggested neighborhoods. At first, I was really not into the idea of moving from Fort Collins to Denver. I just like it here in Fort Collins a lot. But I'm warming up to the idea.

  29. #29
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    Fellow DC>Golden transplant here. I live in Golden and work near DU. The commute is really no problem...even to bike it twice a week.

    I really like the highlands and head over there pretty frequently, but being able to ride your bike to the trailhead is where it's at.

    There are housing deals to be had if you poke around.....200-250 range all day long as long as you're in the outskirts.

    Also, look around the East side of Table Mountain in Applewood.

  30. #30
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    I live in Sunnyside and I highly recommend the area. We bought here in Jan 2009 and since then, at least 10 houses have flipped within two blocks. The area is loaded with cyclists. On my block alone there are two other mtb/cx racers, next block there are a few local pro's. Any given day you see tons of bike commuters. For the money, you can't get a more bikeable/walkable neighborhood - though housing is going up. I think we originally were drawn here because its very close to downtown. Now you have LoHi which is loaded with great restaurants and now a few coffee shops and Amato's Ale House about a mile away. You can also be in Golden within 15 minutes, you can ride out 32nd, easy access to bike paths, etc., etc. I'm city folk and I've lived in Seattle, Portland and DC - we like it here best. It's certainly not the most plush part of town, but I'd say it's on its way and once retail or restaurants go into 41st/Tejon this area will blow up.

  31. #31
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    Ahhhh... I come back to MTBR after my hibernation & get to see the CLASSIC "coolest place in denver?" thread... damn I sure missed these.


    Got one word for ya...


    LIMON.


    hell yes. all kinds of awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

  32. #32
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    i lived (rented) in Highlands (45th and Lowell) for a year. I lived in West Wash Park (Washington and Ohio) for a year and in Cheeseman Park for a year before moving to Fort Worth. I'd commute in rush hour traffic for the rest of my life if it meant I could convince my wife to move back there.....Denver is an awesome city, and not just because of the mountains.

    Moving to Austin in a month. Definitely will be an upgrade, but still no Denver...

    To answer your queston, it just depends on how much you want to spend on a house and what things are important to you. If youre looking for a big backyard and a newer house, you're gonna have a commute into downtown. If you are fine with a 2 bedroom bungalow with little yard, you can probably afford to live in Highlands and have a short drive/bike into downtown. The area you described sounds like the restaurants and shops at 32nd and Lowell to me. Its a neat area for sure.

    If money doesnt really matter, you can afford a house in Wash Park or Cherry Creek or Cap Hill.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountryislife
    Ahhhh... I come back to MTBR after my hibernation & get to see the CLASSIC "coolest place in denver?" thread... damn I sure missed these.


    Got one word for ya...


    LIMON.


    hell yes. all kinds of awesome.
    Very helpful

  34. #34
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    A note: living in Denver is an hour bus ride to some great trails. I linked up Chimney, Apex, Dakota Ridge and Green Mountain on Monday.

    Some areas I have accessed from bus lines:

    Golden
    Deer Creek Canyon
    Evergreen
    Nederland
    Boulder
    Lyons
    Buffalo Creek (with some road riding, or linking with Indian Creek)
    Indian Creek
    Colorado Trail
    Colorado Springs
    any one have any more?

    Like everything, it takes some planning and adjustments (always be prepared for a long ride home, or have a willing sag wagon on-call). Now, if we could get a rail-line up I-70 a lot more possibilities open up.

  35. #35
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    What does everyone think of living in Broomfield? It would be close to my girlfriend's job and I work from home. I'm familiar enough with it to know that I have no interest in the area other than being close to work (and Boulder, and some concerts). I'd imagine it puts me closer to some of the northern trails (Halls Ranch, etc). I know it's not the most exciting place, but is there any other reason I should definitely avoid it?

  36. #36
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    the problem with these threads is that people continue to answer them. everyone is an expert on the local area eh

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by llama
    Very helpful

    no kidding huh? Should have just sent me a PM & saved the hassle.

    I'm there for ya bro-brah.

    THis same thread happens over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over


    it's impressive that people answer them at all, but they want to sell themselves on how much where THEY live in the city isn't as big a POS as they think it is every morning. (hell, I drive an hour each way every day...so obviously I ain't got things figured out EITHER! )
    Last edited by backcountryislife; 04-14-2011 at 11:44 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountryislife
    no kidding huh? Should have just sent me a PM & saved the hassle.

    I'm there for ya bro-brah.

    THis same thread happens over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over &
    (etc etc)

    it's impressive that people answer them at all, but they want to sell themselves on how much where THEY live in the city isn't as big a POS as they think it is every morning. (hell, I drive an hour each way every day...so obviously I ain't got things figured out EITHER! )
    We've missed you, bcil. Refreshing to hear your side of the story once again. So, why is it you're back?
    Don't load onto your day your year's burden

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    I was thinking the same thing but did not even bother getting him to spew more knowledge on this subject or any other topic on earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    We've missed you, bcil. Refreshing to hear your side of the story once again. So, why is it you're back?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    We've missed you, bcil. Refreshing to hear your side of the story once again. So, why is it you're back?

    Hey, another 2 months & it'll be bike season for me... I've got to get ready!

    Besides, the front rangers are finally leaving us for the season, so I've got nobody to hassle... had to get back on here to get my fix!

    C'mon, you guys really like seeing the same thread over & over? It doesn't at all get old for you?

    Either way, stoked to get out riding with all my front range buddies who are smart enough to live 10 min from work, so I can pick on them for living in the city to make myself feel better about the 600+ miles I drive a week just to survive!


    Cbrock, I'm always there to help when it comes to spewing useless info... just say the word!
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

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