So you know...

There wouldn't be a bike park without a cooperative parks department and a rad grassroots organization of cyclists. That organization is Boulder Mountainbike Alliance , bouldermountainbike.org. If you like the bike park, you should probably give join and give them a little bit of your parents' hard-earned money (we know they're totally loaded). Also, check out a map of the park and the finer points of bike-park etiquette at vamlontbikepark.com .

T he Valmont Bike Park has been rocking and rolling -- but mostly rolling -- for more than a year now.

If you don't think it's the bossiest of all bike parks, you're a spoiled kid who grew up in Whistler.

Shut up. We're all jealous.

After years in the making, this square of concentrated dirt-riding gluttony flung its non-doors wide open last summer for public consumption. Now it's home to races, clinics and tons of fun on two wheels. And its fair share of injuries.

If you're new to Boulder, you probably can't wait to go over there and shred some sick-gnar and do other things that require rad lingo. But before you don your favorite dirt-riding pants (the ones that say, 'I look cool because it looks like I'm not trying hard to look cool') and roll over to the bike park (at Valmont and Airport roads), pause for a sec, Cap'n Gonzo. Put on your big-girl underpants for a grown-up reality check. Because you're smart. You even got into college at the No. 4 "reefer madness" school, according to Princeton Review a couple of years ago.


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Don't rush to the bike park and do dumb stuff and get yerself all mangled.

First, check out these five things you need to know about the bike park:

Wear a lid

We all know it's kind

of crazy to pedal around this town without a helmet.

Don't do it at the bike park, either.

The bike park has singletrack trails, pump tracks, a slopestyle course, a dual slalom course. It has jumps, banked turns and features to ride that are made of wood and rock.

There are a lot of things to crash on and possibly hit your head.

Besides, your head is arguably the most important part of your body. (Dudes, I know you think otherwise, but seriously.)

Wearing a helmet will also save you from looking like a total jackass. A 15-year-old wearing a helmet with full face protection at the park told me he always wears it because: "I'm not an idiot."

Smart kid. He just might get into the school Playboy named the No. 1 party school in 2011 (your CU).

Shit's hard

The bike park is

awesome. It's full of rad shit. And shit that's hard to ride.

If you could ride it all right now, you'd be bored and would never go back.

It's part of the beauty of the bike park -- it will challenge you to be brave, try hard and come back again and again to improve. And as you improve, you'll probably crash.

Crashing is OK, as long as you walk away in good enough shape to come back out again soon.

Remember that when you go out for the first time. You don't have to do everything at once, o bike park virgin. You can explore more next time, try exciting new things, perfect your technique, your timing, your mom...

Your mom throws down at the bike park. I saw her there the other day.

Know your bike

You'll see people

riding the bike park on all different kinds of bikes -- BMX bikes, freestyle, cross-country mountain bikes.

I've seen my gal-pal's ex there pedaling around on his stupid clowney cruiser with dopey gorilla handlebars. He looked stoned out of his tiny little mind. He almost certainly was.

I hope he crashed.

Is that bad?

I'm sure he was a desirable man way back when. Like when he was only stoned like 4-2, not 24-7. PS, dude, you have powdered sugar on your unkempt beard and I can smell your inability to shower from the next trail over.

Anyway, point is: His bike is only appropriate for riding the bike park's big, wide trail that links all the trails and pump tracks and whatnot, and that's it.

Use the right bike for the job. If you're taking your full-suspension all-mountain cushy bike off some sweet jumps that are best for a dirt bike with no suspension and flat pedals, you'd better be super confident that you know how to land it.

I wonder if dopey-ex crashed. Man I can't stand that guy. If I see him there again imagonna throw a stick in his wheel, steal his weed and make a donation to a local dispensary.

Am I still writing out loud?

Squirrel Catchers

Everything at the

bike park is marked with either a size designation -- small, medium, large, extra large -- or a ski-slope style color: Green is a beginner trail, blue is intermediate.

Yes, you are a sick mountain biker. But do yourself a favor and start small.

The good news is that if you don't start small, you will hopefully get caught by a squirrel catcher.

The squirrel catchers are designed to stop those of us, ahem, I mean, you who think a little too highly of your skillz. If you don't nail the first feature on the slopestyle course of a given size, you won't be able to do the second, either because of a lack of momentum (because you totally ate shit and torqued a handlebar, whoops, and hey, your smile's so purty with dirt in your teeth), or because it's more difficult than the first.

Squirrels are cool.

You're not that Kid

Whoa, did you see that kid throw down that backflip?!? Holy carp!

That kid has been doing tricks for 12 years. Before Valmont opened, he was practicing on jumps in his backyard every day after school.

You can ride a lot of the local trails pretty much clean. You like to launch off "big" rocks when you ride in Moab. But you're not that kid. And your experience isn't the same as riding jumps at the bike park. So be careful and don't get into "that kid did it, so can I!" thinking.

Where's dopey-ex? Imagonna point him toward the extra-large jumps on his stupid clown bike. PS he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Howsabout I calm down?