By Karen Kefauver
July 12, 2013
Link to Sentinel Article
Right now, the world’s strongest cyclists are suffering through the 2,115-mile course of the Tour de France, cranking hard on their pedals until they cross the finish line on July 21.
But you’re not in the Tour de France, and you don’t need to be in top-notch shape to enjoy cycling. Not in France and certainly not in Santa Cruz County.
Here are a few free cycling events coming up that you can get psyched about, regardless of your fitness level. So pump up your tires, oil your chain, put on your helmet and start pedaling.
Santa Cruz Bike Party
If you like to mix costumes and bicycling and ride at a mellow pace, this may be the right ride for you.
Wacky outfits are not mandatory at the monthly Santa Cruz Bike Party, but many participants choose to dress in accordance with the monthly theme of the ride and decorate their bikes, too. Modeled after social rides in San Jose and other cities, the Santa Cruz version is a traffic-law-abiding ride that meets the second Friday of every month in downtown Santa Cruz.
“It’s a party on wheels and a great way to socialize!” said Greg McPheeters.
McPheeters often tows a full-size couch equipped with powerful stereo speakers (aka “The Happening Couch”) behind his tandem bike, which is co-pedaled by Kim Delkener. He has an iPod mounted on his handlebars to control the tunes as the ride rolls along, creating a fun, parade-like feeling.
“I like all the smiles I see on the faces of the cyclists and spectators, Delkener said. “It is an amazing feeling to just be able to ride my bike with an awesome group of people of all ages.”
The next party is this evening. Themed “Rainbow Ride,” it begins at 7 p.m. at the Bike Church, 703 Pacific Ave., in Santa Cruz. Bring lights if you plan to ride after dark.
Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz Slow Ride
So you are not the fastest mountain biker, but you love getting out on the trails? This monthly ride, organized by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) and simply known as the “Slow Ride,” may be for you.
“This ride is designed for folks who like to ride at a slower, more social pace. It’s a great opportunity to meet new riding buddies and learn trail etiquette,” said Mark Davidson, president of MBOSC.
“Mountain biking can be a strenuous activity, so general fitness and basic bike-handling skills are needed even for the slow ride. We ride in the back country, so cyclists should be prepared with enough food, water, tools and a mechanically sound bike.”
That said, MBOSC ride leaders are excited to use the Slow Ride to showcase the new Emma McCrary Trail, which officially opened June 1.
The gently rolling, 1.5-mile trail winds through the Pogonip forest and is designed to flow smoothly. It is the first multi-use trail to open in Santa Cruz since 1999, and it has quickly become a favorite of many local and visiting cyclists. It is named in honor of Santa Cruz County trail advocate and equestrian. McCrary, who died June 24, 2011, was renowned for her decades of volunteer trailblazing.
The next slow ride will be Saturday, July 27. The slow ride repeats the fourth Saturday of each month, meeting at 10 a.m. at the parking lot at the corner of River Street and Golf Club Drive. It’s free to join.
Clips Beer and Film Tour
While it’s not technically a bike ride — it’s a night of bike movies, friends, food and drink — you may as well ride your bike to and from this Westside event. The Clips Beer and Film Tour travels nationwide to 18 cities. The third annual tour will make its Santa Cruz stop at the Wrigley Building Parking Lot from 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 19.
Featuring 17 short movies made by cycling fans, the tour returns to Santa Cruz to raise money for Project Bike Trip, a non-profit organization launched by the store Bicycle Trip. The film begins at dark and admission is free to this giant outdoor movie theater. Bring a blanket or camp chairs. All ages are welcome. Proceeds from the beer and raffle sales will be donated to Project Bike Trip’s two programs: Bike Tech and Bike Club.
Karen Kefauver (www.karenkefauver.com) is a freelance writer who is based in Santa Cruz. Also view her stories on the Sentinel’s Out and About blog.
Santa Cruz Bike Party
When: 7 p.m. on the second Friday of every month
MBOSC Slow Ride
When: 10 a.m. on the fourth Friday of every month
CLIPS BEERS & FILM TOUR
When: July 19, 7:30 p.m.