For the past 10 years, it looked like Halloween every Wednesday night in LoDo, as droves of cyclists pedaled around the city in costume.
But the ritual won’t be weekly any longer, as the founder of Denver Cruiser Rides plans to reduce the number of rides to once a month.
“Have you ever thrown 20 parties in a row every week?” founder Brad Evans said. “From a logistical standpoint, it was a lot. It was fun for a few years, but it just became another unpaid full-time job.”
Evans, a commercial realtor for 12 years, launched Denver Cruiser Rides in 2005 after moving back to Denver from Boulder. Boulder had a weekly night rides, so Evans started inviting friends to ride with him through downtown Denver. Now, the group has grown to 3,000 cyclists on busy nights, all in costume. Denver Cruiser Rides meets at the Ginn Mill in LoDo and four other rendezvous points for drinks before everyone rides to one of five secret locations for a party, Evans said.
The rides – free for participants – cost Evans about $100,000 every summer in security, clean-up, insurance and sanitation expenses.
“We’ve never quite gotten to the point where it pays for itself,” Evans said.
Evans said he’s unsure how much the revamped monthly events will cost, but also wants to make time for advocacy-related ventures. He’s launching a monthly meet-up called City Spark, a group he hopes will strengthen enthusiasm and involvement in city issues. Evans describes City Spark as an outgrowth of Denver Fugly, an online group he started to debate the architecture of Denver’s booming building scene.
“Griping about things is one thing,” Evans said. “The goal is to get people together to come up with real-time solutions.”
Some of City Spark’s future meeting topics will be on the potential eastbound Interstate 70 highway expansion, homelessness and affordable housing, Evans said.
Evans’ other initiative, Bike City, is an advocacy organization for bikers in Denver, with its website launching in June.
“We need to figure out how to convince the city to be more bike-friendly,” Evans said.
Both City Spark and Bike City do not have costs associated with them yet, and are unfunded ventures.
This year, Denver Cruiser Rides will start at the Ginn Mill on May 17, June 21, July 19, Aug. 9 and Sept. 20.