Denver Cruisers season preview: Brad Evans on Social Ride Summit and more
The Denver Cruisers know how to stir things up. Rather than simply announce the 2013 themes for the mega-popular Wednesday rides, Brad Evans and company released an April Fools' Day version first -- one that turned heads via concepts like "Skid Marks & Seamen Stains."
More photos below.
Behind the edgy irreverence, organizer Brad Evans has a slew of appropriately big plans for the season, including a Social Ride Summit to be staged during the USA Pro Challenge. He talks about the state of the Cruisers below.
The first Cruiser ride took place in May 2005, Evans recalls, "and there were thirteen people on it." Contrast that with the July 4, 2012 get-together. "I think there were 3,500 people on that one," he says, "and even the rainy rides last year were a thousand.
"We never planned it to be like this," he admits, "never intended it to be like this. My favorite is when people say, 'It's not like it used to be.'"
This statement "works in multiple phases," Evans feels. "It's like people who liked the band first; the Denver Cruiser ride is the band you used to like. But at the same time, the ride has become the gateway drug for people riding bikes in Denver. Nobody's telling them it's wrong or bad that you should do this. Instead, it's a creative interpretation -- like, 'I can ride my bike to the grocery store. I don't really need my car.'"
Photo by Renee' Gautreaux
But even as the ride spreads the cycling gospel, the concentration of Cruiser participants presents challenges aplenty. "I'm trying to re-envision the Cruiser Ride," Evans says. "It's like, how do you manage this many people on a Wednesday night? We're just trying to figure out, 'What does that look like?' And how do we get the city and police involved in a different format?"
Officials haven't balked at coordinating with the Cruisers even as the group has grown. "Nobody has ever come to me and said, 'You've got to stop doing this,'" he stresses. "We've had a great working relationship. Whenever there's been a problem, the questions have been, 'How do you address it? How do we make this work?' And they realize this is a Denver phenomenon. There are some big rides around the country, some critical-mass stuff. But people didn't even believe it was possible in Denver, and it is."
With that in mind, Evans is hoping to brand Wednesdays as Denver Bike Night, with bike safety a key component. "The City and Bike Denver and Steve Sander and I have been working on a bike-safety campaign, and as part of it, we're hoping that the Denver police will come and give away five-thousand sets of lights. I'm working on that right now, and I got an e-mail from one of the police commanders that said, 'The best way to engage the bike community is through education.'
"That tells me we've got a green light with someone who wants to work with the bike community -- that the relationship doesn't have to be adversarial with the cops and us and drivers."
Continue for more of our Denver Cruisers season preview with Brad Evans.