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As everyone wraps up their phone calls, texts and emails, the cubicles at the Stages office turn into makeshift dressing rooms, with leg warmers and vests being donned ahead of the upcoming lunch ride. The internet tells us that Boulder averages 245 days of sunshine per year. This happens to be one of the 120 other ones as high, sweeping lenticular clouds hover over the town, prognosticating the return of snow in the next 24 hours.
Words/Images: Andy Bokanev
When everyone is ready, we roll off into the cold air. Eventually, the bustling suburban roads give way to much quieter and less-frequented farm roads. The luxury SUVs and Teslas give way to grubby pickup trucks and a handful of tractors; the strip malls get replaced by horse farms; and the pedestrians and joggers on the roadside give way to hundreds of prairie dogs (you know, the ones with the plague).
You start to get the feeling that this lunch ride is not just arranged because someone is visiting from out of town. This is more of a ritual, a job perk and a privilege to be able to get away in the middle of a busy workday to enjoy the very thing that you are working so hard on. It is not unusual for lunch rides like these to get skipped, or worse, be frowned upon. But not at Stages. The lunch ride is encouraged and celebrated. Even in the true winter months and in the days following snowstorms the lunch ride continues. And though not everyone always chooses to brave the elements outside, they can take their lunch ride indoors. Stages, after all, makes a world-class stationary bike. That’s when the relaxed outdoor ride turns into a ferocious indoor race.
When we return after the 90-minute ride, everyone scurries back to their desks. It’s Friday, after all, and there is still plenty of work to be done.