Coasting fast down a straightaway, I grabbed the brakes on my mid-‘80s Raleigh Alyeska to avoid ramming into my girlfriend who, dressed as AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, had a tie flapping over her back. I was a little boxed in, a cyclist to my left pulling a modified baby carrier with loudspeakers blasting music. To my right, a guy had miraculously popped the top off a can of something while pedaling through the night.
Welcome to the Denver Cruiser Ride, an event started seven years ago as a small group of friends going for nighttime rides each Wednesday in the summer. The happening has exploded, and now that “group of friends” numbers in the thousands most Wednesday nights.
The informal event starts out at one of several bars in Denver. My girlfriend and I kicked off the evening for last week’s ride at the Denver Wheel Club at 404 Broadway.
The Denver Cruiser Ride is open to anyone, free and friendly. Last week, at about 8:30 the bar cleared out and bikers, almost all dressed for the first week’s theme of “Back In Black,” congregated on the street. A cheer rose from the group as leaders moved out. Soon, the pack was rolling through the streets of Denver.
The vibe was amazing and positive. After about an hour of riding, the group descended upon Civic Park in mass. Thousands of people who had started at other bars were already there. A concert was underway, and a “circle of death” of riders swirled ominously near the stage, basically a bicycle version of a mosh pit.
The circle swirled mostly counterclockwise and at a pretty good clip. I got into it and immediately was nearly plowed by a three-wheeler with a pilot in full motocross regalia. Awesome! I sped up and got into the groove of the 50-yard lap.
After a few minutes, dizzy as heck, I zipped out and rode back into the crowd to watch the concert.
I just happened to catch the eye of some old friends from the Virgin Islands who I hadn’t seen in years. Good conversation flowed, music poured over the park, and the crowd gradually thinned.
By about 11 p.m., we were rolling home completely exhilarated and certain that next week we would be back for another glorious Wednesday night.
Now, what costume should I wear for the “ZOO” theme this week? After my girlfriend’s Angus Young suit last time, I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me on the upcoming animal-theme ride.
—Sean McCoy is a contributing writer and a recent Denver transplant. See more about the Denver Cruiser Ride at http://www.denvercruisers.com/.