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Arts & Life

Nothing Says Boulder, Colorado Like Tube To Work Day

Hundreds of Boulderites took to Boulder Creek Tuesday for an annual alternative commute -- tubing.

"I love that there are so many people who are willing to do something strange all at the same time," says Tube To Work Day co-founder Jeff Kagan.

About eight years ago, it was just the two of them tubing down the creek to work. Now the impressive turnout is leading to its own quirky problems.

"I think we're actually for the first time gonna have some commuter traffic, and if there are any tube to tube fender benders please do make sure you exchange insurance info," Kagan joked.­­­­­­

Joel Haertling has tubed to work before. His attire today is a gray suit and a pair of oversized glasses.

"Oh I always wear a suit," he says. "I have low self­-esteem."

Gathering at Eben G. Fine Park, at the western end of Boulder, people tube east down the creek until they reach their workplace. A group that works at Twitter might bail before the Broadway bridge, but some people plan on taking the creek all the way to 55th Street, at the eastern outskirts of town. For those tubers, a wetsuit might have been a better option than a work suit.

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Credit Poncie Rutsch / KUNC
Tubers gather at Eben G. Fine Park before they take the 8 a.m. plunge for the annual Boulder Tube To Work Day.

Luckily for Haertling, the library isn't far from the park. He plans to bail early, and he’s all set up for a warm dry day, even if the start is a little frigid.

"I have an elaborate stash system at work. The only key I have on me is my key card to get into the library," explains Haertling. He'll then shower in the library's secret spa. "I've got my other set of clothes and then I'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work."

Other people have a little farther to go down the creek. But there are bagels and coffee waiting just past the Broadway bridge ­­donated by Boulder company LogRhythm. They also bought tubes and bussed more than 80 employees for the commute. As if on cue, co-founder Kagan was ready with a quip at the starting line.

"Anyone want to guess why they got bagels?" asks Kagan.

"They look like tubes!" yells the crowd of tubers.

With that, Kagan recites a https://youtu.be/_FziWUIXKF0">call-and-response poem, and the tubers take to the creek. Lots of people flip into the water, and some hop out because it's pretty cold. Everyone looks happy to stand in the sun and sip hot coffee when they hit Broadway.

"It was a blast. It's my first time tubing," says LogRhythm employee Paul Cartee. "When I first got in the water I was absolutely freezing. And it was like 'Why do I do this?' And then you warm up and you're like 'Oh yeah, because it's fun.'"

So will he be back next year?

"OH YEAH!" says Cartee. "If you have a chance, DO IT!"

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