Susan Rome cruises up to Jamestown, one of the most popular rides in Boulder County.
Susan Rome cruises up to Jamestown, one of the most popular rides in Boulder County. (MARTY CAIVANO)

Boulder is a killer place to have a road bike, no matter what you prefer to ride.

Whether the rollers on the plains past prairie dogs and tall grasses are your thing, or dipping your knee into the curves as you fly down a mountain or canyon road brings your bliss, you'll find something to love about road cycling around Boulder.

Map it

To find maps of these and more great local rides, go to 303cycling.com/boulder-colorado-bike-rides. 303cycling is also a great resource for local racing info and cycling news.

Climbers, take note: Extra clothes can save your butt on a ride into the mountains. The temps will drop as you climb, and some of the descents are long. The wind chill on a long downhill combined with easier pedaling can leave you shivering, even in August.

But it's oh so worth it to see the backside of Boulder County by bike.

1 Fruit Loops

40-plus miles, Boulder to Lyons loops

This mellow ride cruises north out of town to Lyons to take two lovely loops on quiet roads. Build base miles or roll out a recovery ride.

Route: Take U.S. 36 north out of Boulder to Lyons. Continue through town and uphill a half mile outside of town to Apple Valley Road; turn left and loop back to 36. Head due south through Lyons on Colo. 7/South St. Vrain Road to Old St. Vrain Road; turn left and loop back to Colo. 7 near town.

2 Flagstaff

6 miles up up up

The ride up Flagstaff Road is one of the fiercest climbs around Boulder, which makes it a must-do.

Route: From Chautauqua, head west on Baseline Road, which turns into Flagstaff Road. Then just pedal and pant your way up until there's no more up to go. The full Flag -- all the way to the summit -- is just over 6 miles.

3 Niwot-Neva loop

20 miles of rollers north of town

The quintessential lunch ride, or between-classes ride, the Niwot-Neva Loop is easy to squeeze in whether you take it easy or hammer it.

Route: From Gunbarrel, head north on 63rd Street to Niwot Road. Head west. Niwot jogs around two 90-degree turns and becomes Neva Road. Climb to U.S. 36 to head south back to Boulder.

4 Jamestown

30-plus miles of gradual climbing

The ride up Lefthand Canyon to Jamestown is one of the most popular bike routes in the county -- you'll rarely be alone on this gorgeous climb up the winding canyon. There's usually a thermos of water at Jamestown's park for cyclists.

Route: Take U.S. 36 north out of town to Lefthand Canyon Drive; turn left. Stay right at the fork 5 miles up; only 3 more miles to Jamestown. Bonus climbing points if you head back to Boulder via Olde Stage Road (steep!).

5 Ward-Lyons loop

50-plus miles from Boulder to the snowy Peak to Peak

If you have the legs for a half-century with 4,000 feet of climbing, the ride up through Ward, along the Peak to Peak Highway (don't crash gawking at the high peaks) and down the South St. Vrain Canyon is perhaps the best ride in the county.

Route: Head north on U.S. 36 to Lefthand Canyon Drive. Continue up and up through Ward (where you can stop to refuel) and make a right on the Peak to Peak Highway (Colo. 72). Head east on South St. Vrain Drive for a long, mellow descent into Lyons.