The day began with a baby llama sighting. Our group oohed and aahed as we cycled past the fluffy creatures grazing in a Longmont field. They paused for a moment to gawk at us in return, their big, blinking eyes following our ascent up the winding gravel road.
It was no typical Sunday outing: The three-hour, bike-to-brunch ride through north Boulder County offered a breadth of quirky imagery, including an osprey, a marijuana garden, goats, a fossil shed, an abandoned silo-cum-public art project (pictured above), cutting horses, solar electric tractors and a lattice of hops plants.
Herschel Goldberg, founder of Boulder Bike Tours, says these eccentricities—along with the deep, symbiotic relationships he’s forged with participating local farmers—are what make the easy 10.5 mile bike-to-farm tour unique.
“Part of my business model and mission with the Sunday bike-to-farm tour is that by enjoying the ride and meal, participants help benefit several local organic farms and families,” explains Goldberg, a New York City native who’s lived in Colorado for 48 years.
His company provides guided tours in Boulder (and Cuba and Scotland), and expanded this year to include the bike-to-farm offerings. There’s a Thursday night bike-to-farm dinner in downtown Boulder, as well as the aforementioned Sunday morning bike-to-farm brunch in north Boulder County, which I attended on a steamy day in late August (don’t worry; water is provided).
About 10 minutes after our llama encounter, the group of 18 peeled off the road for a stop at Lone Hawk Farm, an organic produce farm and popular wedding venue. Goldberg pointed out the farm’s solar power machinery—all designed and built on site—and allowed us time to scope the airy loft where visitors can purchase freshly harvested veggies through the honor system (simply drop coins in a little red box). From there we continued north, making a pit stop on Hygiene’s 59th Street for photos of the picturesque sunflower silo before pedaling east for a peculiar drop-in at a local Hygiene home. We met the owners—an affable elderly couple—and toured their in-home hobby spaces: a belly dancing studio and a fossil shed stuffed with uniquely shaped rocks and other geological finds collected around the state. Yes, we were most definitely in Boulder County.
The two-hour ride concluded at Sol y Sombra Farm, a family-owned and -operated organic farm in Longmont. At a long table shaded by an oak tree, farm owner and chef Allison Edwards delivered our four-course brunch, a meal sourced almost entirely with ingredients grown at Sol y Sombra and other local farms. We dined on deviled eggs; a mixed greens salad with grilled Palisade peaches, candied walnuts, blue cheese and red onions; three wood-fired pizzas (a veggie version with bell peppers, a prosciutto-pesto version, and a honey-chèvre pie with peaches and prosciutto); and vanilla ice cream sandwiches built with homemade chocolate chip cookies.
It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, but it was perfectly satisfying after two sweaty hours on the trails. At any rate, the day wasn’t so much about the meal or even the biking. It was about experiencing—and supporting—Boulder’s quirky, thriving farmers. And also baby llamas.
If you go: Tours run every Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. as long as the weather holds—likely until Thanksgiving, Goldberg predicts. Meet at Sol y Sombra Farm, 11971 N 75th St., Longmont. Book online at www.boulderbiketours.com/tours/farm-tours or call 303-747-6191. Cost: $99/person. You can rent a bike or helmet for an additional $25 fee.