Cyclists of all ages will gather next Thursday for Bike Moves, where community members dress according to a theme and ride a short route around downtown Santa Barbara on the first Thursday of each month.
The event sports a different theme each month and begins at 7:30 p.m. at Plaza de Vera Cruz, located off East Cota Street between Anacapa and Santa Barbara Street. According to the Bike Moves website, the “non-event” welcomes newcomers with any type of bike to join the trip while regarding the three rules: “have fun, respect our community and obey all traffic laws.”
John Hygelund, who cofounded the event in 2009, said Bike Moves is meant to bring the community together and promote a positive, exercise-based environment.
“The purpose of the ride is to create a positive bicycling culture in Santa Barbara, and it is meant to be an all-encompassing ride where anyone can come and feel welcome,” Hygelund said. “It is not an athletic ride. It is short distance and the speed is very slow, and it is to get people that like bikes and people that don’t like bikes to come around and have a good time.”
According to Hygelund, cyclists will loop around the busiest part of downtown Santa Barbara and can interact with community members at the open studios and galleries which are known to support them with cheers and waves as they bike down the path.
Lindsay Deener, a hostess at Harbor Restaurant on the pier and regular participant in the ride, said cyclists will make a stop at the pier, where a game of bike sumo commences.
“You ride onto the pier and you go to the end of the pier,” Deener said. “It is called bike sumo where all the people on bikes are in a circle on the pier. Two bikes go in the middle and ride towards each other and the first to put their feet down are out. They will go at each other and try to knock each other off.”
Hygelund said that in addition to bringing people together, the event concludes at a different bar each occasion and a percentage of the proceeds support a different nonprofit each month.
“Each month we choose a different restaurant or sometimes a bar, and everyone gets together afterwards and grabs a beer and negotiates a part of the sales to give to a local nonprofit,” Hygelund said. “A few weeks ago a bike shop owner got hurt and we raised money for his medical bills.”
Past themes of the ride have included “‘Jama Day,” “Lord of the Chain Rings” and “Bikemare Before Christmas.” Hygelund said he has yet to decide on a theme for the upcoming Nov. 1 trip.
Maxwell Frank, a sales and media manager at Velo Pro Cyclery in downtown Santa Barbara, said he has attended Bike Moves every month for the past six months and feels the themes give the events a playful twist.
“The purpose is to get together and have a good time on your bike and promote awareness of bicycling,” Frank said. “We have fun with it; everyone dresses up and there is a theme every time. It is pretty relaxed. I have never seen any casualties or have seen anyone run into each other. It is definitely a mellow event. People bring their kids — it is a family time as well.”