The first day of spring was only Wednesday, but staring at the budding trees, greening grass, and short-shorts around campus lately might have clued you in to the early dawn of the season this year. It seems as if, all over town, people are coming out of hibernation and embracing the sun-shining serotonin boost that goes along with longer days and being more active outside.

Take their cue. Starting last week there are more than 12 hours of daily sunshine, and it's light out until after 7 p.m., so even if your class schedule is booked, there's time to sneak away with a love interest.

Kristy Holland
Kristy Holland

Since Boulder's one of the bike-friendliest towns in the country, mounting a bicycle is one of the best ways to explore the city's offerings. I'd wager that along with streets, services, and 380 miles of paths and lanes catering to cyclists, you can also find a little romance atop two wheels. Impress her with your exploratory spirit, and your wrenching know-how -- or with your eagerness to learn along the way.

What if she doesn't own a bike? Are you sure you're even interested? Just kidding, bike ownership isn't a prerequisite for escaping farther than walking distance from the dorm. Boulder's B-Cycle has 12 bike-rental kiosks within a mile of campus where you can get access to a ride for just $5 a day. (Hint: B-Cycle charges an access fee, but you can avoid incurring a $4-per-half-hour useage fee after the first 60 minutes by returning your bike to any kiosk within an hour and just checking in for another free 60-minute time period.) There is no excuse, the bikes even come with helmets. Go on a ride-and invite your lady friend with you.

For beginners: There's an updated GoBoulder Bike/Pedestrian map available this spring displaying all 380-plus miles of the city's network of paths, bike lanes, and trails. Look for the credit-card-sized foldout around town (or print one out from bouldercolorado.gov) and use it to navigate outside of your existing bike-path comfort zone. Romantic spots to hop off the bike path and explore: South Boulder neighborhoods (look for Rock Park for a fun diversion near Eisenhower Elementary School off Gallatin Place on the west side of town), the Boulder Creek shoreline alongside the prairie dog fields east of 55th, the playground and hilltop of Scott Carpenter Park, and the shoreline of North Boulder's Wonderland Lake.

For cycling enthusiasts: You're already bike-path savvy and your lady lives on her basketed ride? After exploring the bike paths, impress your bike-savvy gal with a stop into Community Cycles (2805 Wilderness Pl.; communitycycles.org). The nonprofit operates a bike shop, classes, and hosts volunteers for it's Build-a-Bike program where you can do 15 hours of community service around the shop to earn yourself a bike-and learn to build it yourself. Signing up to volunteer is a great way to spend some quality time getting to know each other-and also learning how to wield a wrench. The busy shop also sells bikes, accessories like pumps, lights, and racks that have been donated, and is a great place to setup your bike for safety (and on the cheap) for the coming season.