If you’re familiar with the outdoorsy and athletic Boulder’s particular brand of environmentalism, you’ll have heard of Bike to Work Day (with its aligned designated day, Walk To Work Day). This sort-of celebration, sort-of environmental awareness campaign is now an entire month in Boulder. It was created to encourage Boulderites to eschew the use of their single-occupant cars and do a commute that’s healthier both for the environment and the body.
Bike to Work Day has spread to Denver and even other more urban areas, but Boulder isn’t content just yet. June may have been Bike to Work month (with Bike to Work Day on the 26th), but this Friday, July 19th, is a special day for a different kind of unusual, Boulder-specific, alternate commute:
It’s Tube to Work Day.
What’s Tube to Work Day, you ask?.
Tube to Work Day means inner tubing. It’s a softer version of whitewater rafting. Like, riding a tube down the Boulder Creek to work.
I’m not kidding.
Don’t believe us? Check out this Facebook Live video from last year’s event. (It start’s getting real exciting at the 20-minute mark)
The Creek is the Path
You’ve heard of the bicycle track called the Boulder Creek Path, right? It’s named that because the main arteries run right along the creek, from the foothills down to the plains. Much of the Creek Path that runs through the downtown area is so near the creek that sections of it are often closed due to flooding; this season the creek has been very flush and rough (which is why Tube to Work Day was moved a week forward from its original date of July 12th).
On July 19th, why bother with your bike and the Creek Path, when you can travel on the creek itself as your path?
The Tube to Work Day course begins up at Eben G. Fine park (at 8am sharp) and goes to, well, however far down the creek you need to go to get close to your Friday morning at work.
Paperwork – Though the event is free, you need to register, and to sign a waiver in order to participate, and it may be pretty crowded on the morning itself, so it’s a good idea to sign your waiver ahead of time.
Your Ride – It’s a BYOT (bring your own tube) event, so do bring that. What the officials of Tube to Work Day would rather you not bring, however, is your car. They want to keep it an environmentally friendly, alternative commute event.
What to Wear – You are REQUIRED to wear a helmet and closed-toed shoes.
You are ENCOURAGED to wear a life jacket and a wetsuit under whatever work clothing. After all, it’s not a warm ocean you’re riding into town, it’s an icy cold river. And it’s pretty high and quick these days (hence them changing the date to the 19th).
It is RECOMMENDED that you wear business attire, or any costumes you feel like.
It is a big highlight, seeing all the business suits splashing down the creek, having so much fun getting cooled off before their work day begins.
Why Tube to Work?
Just like biking to work in June, tubing to work reduces the carbon footprint of the regular commute. Plus, it’s super fun to boot. What’s not to love?
Tube to Work Day is in its eleventh year, and it’s always a party: there’s a free breakfast provided by one of Tube to Work Day’s sponsors (it’s a Boulder company called LogRhythm—they also usually send around a hundred employees to tube to work, too), and the atmosphere is so much more fun (and cooler in the water!) than your average Friday morning commute slog.
Coverage of this event always goes viral—it’s one of the many weird and wonderful things that has put Boulder on the map as far as making our name as a city that loves its outdoors. There is all kinds of media coverage, and a live feed of all the tubers in what’s been called “the best traffic jam ever.”
At Central Park, just past the Broadway underpass, there’ll be breakfast, live music, and other festivities happening all throughout the morning’s tube commute, so it’s recommended you get to work a little late (or call in tube-sick?) so you can enjoy all that Tube To Work Day has to offer.
Love the Creek You’re In
The Tube To Work Day event this year (as every year) begins up at Eben G. Fine park, and continues as far down as you need to go. The commute begins at 8am—after all, this is still really meant to be an actual commute to your real job—and you’re allowed to literally commute to your job, however far down the creek that happens to be.
This year with all the epic rain, hail, and snow falls in Boulder and in the mountains nearby so late in the year, the creek is super quick and nicely full, so you won’t find yourself without a good river run this year.
Want to participate, but not get in the water? They’re still accepting sponsorships for this year’s Tube To Work Day—will your company be a Level 5, a Level 3 whitewater sponsor? Or another level altogether? Let them know, and let your business be the business of keeping Boulder weird, and keeping Boulder’s environment beautiful and healthy.
Plus, it’s a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s supposed to be 98 degrees on Friday the 19th, and I can’t think of a better way to get cool in that kind of heat than to take a nice cold plunge in Boulder Creek.
Once again, the Tube To Work Day event begins at 8am at Eben G. Fine park, with live music and festivities happening in the Central Park area shortly thereafter.
The event is free but you do need to register and sign a waiver.
The officials strongly discourage the use of your cars on Tube To Work Day. Make it an ecologically sound choice of commute, as well as an odd one.
You can get yourself an inner tube at any local sporting goods store, or check Front Range Anglers—they have a sign up saying you can get inner tubes there.
Sign up for Tube To Work Day here, or at the official website above to sign your waiver before the morning of.
So what do you think? Will you be tubing to work on Friday?