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Fruita or Moab?

We asked you, dear readers, where you would rather mountain bike and a whopping 68 percent of you like the singletrack on the Colorado side of the border over the stuff in Utah. But was the question even fair? Rob Coppolillo butts his own head in response.

Ah, what questions spring forth from the fevered minds of editors. Sequestered in darkened offices, they count their stacks of money (ha!) and devise interesting queries for their crack writers (double ha!!).
“Fruita or Moab,” they ask.

That question demands a soul-searching response, so I slaughtered a free-range alpaca and read omens in the viscera. I practiced six hours of tai chi balanced atop an Egyptian obelisk. I shaved my body with Amazonian soap-tree lather and waters from holy Mount Kalis. Forthwith, I found the answer.

Fruita or Moab? That’s like choosing between doggy and reverse cowgirl. Wait. Both! The answer is both. Enlightenment.

I don’t expect many to understand such an answer. The inescapable fact, though, is I possess untold reservoirs of knowledge and insight. You see, I have just become a father and as a buddy reminded me,

“Dude, you can tell your kids anything and they’ll believe it!”

Bottom line: the little buggers will soon expect me to have all the answers. (Yes, buggers—twins!) When EO‘s editors asked me to choose between mountain-biking meccas, I had to ponder it in the context of my little dudes. Where would I tell them to go?

All Good: Racers eat up trail in Fruita’s Rabbit Valley.

Fruita is a godsend to Front Rangers. It’s almost two hours closer than Moab, the singletrack is plush, gorgeous and buff and there’s a decent scene.

Gas the mega-efficient car, load the bikes, stock the camping supplies, head west at top speed and in no time you’re camping out on Road 18. Snag a site, set up shop, and sneak a ride before dark. Visit Over the Edge if in need of info, parts or just to browse the vintage gear.

When the time comes, Hot Tomato in town is the natural spot to be. Chow down, drink, smile, sleep and repeat the next day. Good living.

Now on the down side, you are near I-70 (which is a drag once you gain some elevation and look back towards town). If you’re riding the Loma-Rabbit Valley stuff, then you’re even closer, though out of sight. I’m no Ed Abbey, but four lanes of asphalt nearby warps the vibe. And Fruita’s proximity to the Front Range is also its Achilles heel. Lots of SUV’s, lots of MBA’s and lots of traffic on some trails. Ouch.

Wait … Moab!
I talked to Mark Sevenoff, co-owner of Western Spirit, a guide service offering singletrack trips all over the West. He lives and works in Moab, so let’s say up front, he’s biased. But he’s no dummy and he’s ridden the hell out of Fruita and everywhere else for that matter. Here’s his thought on his hometown of Moab:

“Five awesome bike shops. Five world-class tour companies. Six shuttle companies. When you climb 3,000 feet up to Porcupine Rim, there’s no Wal-Mart just around the corner, a la Fruita or Grand Junction. You’re in the fricken back country!”

No argument, sir. Then again, Sevenoff’s not the poor schlub driving 7.5 hours back to Boulder. I also protested about all the motorheads, but he was quick to counter that there are plenty of trails—Hazzard County, Bar M, Intrepid–reserved for singletrack with no gas-powered engines in sight. Not to mention the “Whole Enchliada,” which entails a shuttle to the top of Glacier Pass and a 35-mile, 9,000-foot drop to the Colorado River. Uh, yeah, that counts as a positive.

Now, the flip side. The drive. It’s long, longer still with 12 hours of pedaling in your legs, sunset at your back and 350 miles to beddy-bye. (At least you won’t roll through Idaho Springs at rush hour.) And of course, Utah’s liquor laws are simply ridiculous.

I also hit up the David Carradine of the cycling world, Scot Nicol. Carradine? You get it–white guy with Zen-quality utterances worthy of a Chinese monk? All right, it’s a stretch, but still, Nicol’s no slouch. He’s the creator of Ibis Cycles, an inveterate two-wheeled traveler, a mountain bike Hall-of-Famer. The man has done all that’s worth doing astride a bicycle … and then some.

“Why limit yourself? Is it really more important to get back to your cubicle than to ride both and decide for yourself? Call in well and try both of them,” Nicol said.

Wise words. Soon my boys will be big enough to get it done and I won’t be wrecking their little brains with words like “better,” “never,” “only” and “abstinence.” Come to think of it, if they’re riding Zippety or Porcupine, then girls won’t be far off, either. And I sure won’t be telling them doggy is any better than reverse cowgirl.

Rob Coppolillo is a Boulder-based freelancer and AMGA-trained mountain guide and cycling guide. Read his blog “Master of None” at

Reader Response from the Web
Because in the world of anonymous online comments everyone has a say.

Ick. Utah? Great for when there’s still snow on the Colorado trails but you can only have one drink each on the table. How do you know it’s spring in Utah? All the license plates turn green. Then we bail back up to the mountains for better trails and two-fisted drinking. Have fun sweating b*lls.

While I do love the two “classics” in this poll, I just can’t help but feel that the Winter Park/Fraser Valley has the best and most extensive riding network in the lower 48. Winter Park and the Trestle Bike Park have invested unprecedented amounts of money into building and maintaining a trail network that truly offers something for everyone. Add in the seemingly endless cross country terrain spread throughout the valley, the dirt jump park that the Fraser rec district funds, and Sol Vista’s bike park just down the road, and it’s no wonder events like the National Championships, Crankworx Colorado and the Mountain States Cup all make an appearances in the valley. Moab and Fruita have some amazing cross country riding but today’s mountain bike world is larger than just cross-country trail riding. The Winter Park/Fraser Valley simply has it all

What do you ride … fat skis or skinny skis? Let’s us know at and butt heads.

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