Tube to Work Day: a Friday Commute
Last Friday, for the 9th year in a row, Boulderites from businesses all over town ditched their wheels, picked up their inner tubes, and hopped into Boulder Creek to ride the waves to work. Dressed in everything from a full suit and tie to tight flashy spandex and wacky wigs, tubers gathered along Boulder Creek all morning and plunged into cold water with high spirits and a big smile. It was a sunny day with rushing ice-cold creek water and over 500 people tubing to work … a quintessential Friday in Boulder, Colorado.
Tube to Work Day has quickly established itself as a tradition in this town. It’s a bizarre event, and not really the most efficient way to get to work, but if the boss says it’s okay then why not? Groups of co-workers emphasize the sense of comradery that comes with hanging on to each other for dear life as you bump and grind on your way down the creek. “Even when I was interviewing,” states one Boulder tuber, “they talked about how all the employees took this ‘Tube to Work Day’ very seriously, so I knew I had to work there.” Boulder companies, it seems, can even use this day as a recruiting tactic. Can you blame them? It’s tight.
Tubers gather as early as 7 or 8 in the morning to participate in the rocky ritual and still make it to work on time. Unless you plan on strolling into work at 11am dripping wet, most people suggest you stash a change of clothes at work … but then again maybe this will just be an extra-casual Friday. You’re reducing fossil fuel emissions and engaging in an extreme outdoor sport at the same time. What could be better?
The event also draws crowds of spectators who gather to watch the action unfold. Some even hang breakfast foods and drinks down over a bridge to give to tubers as they pass by. One man was tossing some OJ and doughnuts out into a traffic jam of tubers as they slowed down enough to catch the occasional treat. It really adds another layer of expertise to the sport.
One thing is for sure, though: Tube to Work Day has become a tradition that embodies the best thing about Boulder: people from all walks of life can come together here and take advantage of a funky, beautiful, bizarre mountain town … even if it’s just on the way to work.