Community bike rides
With bikeshares popping up in every major city and bike lanes becoming the status quo, practicing sustainability on your commute to work is easier than it’s ever been. Combine biking to work with buying local and organic produce, drinking only responsibly raised coffee, and buying most of your clothing secondhand, and your carbon footprint shrinks down to more like a paw print. But cycling around downtown isn’t just about saving the environment; it’s also an easy way to make connections with fellow city dwellers.
It’s easy to feel like a nameless face in the city, but the biking community brings people together around a common cause. Plus, there’s the benefit of not having to hit the gym as hard (or at all) when you’re constantly biking around town. If you’ve been thinking about getting more involved in the local cycling scene or have been wondering how it looks in other cities, here are a few examples of the large and small community-based bike rides you can join all over the country.
The D.C. Tour De Fat
Long before biking snaps flooded your Facebook feed, New Belgium Brewing Company launched its first Tour De Fat festival. Its goal 13 years ago was simply to bring three things—”biking, beer, and community fundraising”—to places that were lacking in any of the above. Today, the Tour De Fat takes over six major cities every year, bringing fun for serious cyclists, newbies, families, and everyone in between. The D.C. Tour De Fat fest just hit the nation’s capital on May 21, transforming a city park into a hub for food, booze, live music, and, of coursing, biking. The Tour De Fat kicks off with a bike ride first thing in the morning, then melts into various forms of live entertainment later in the day.
You don’t have to live in a bustling metropolis to get in on the biking action. The beloved Halloween Cross Crusade and Cyclocross Festival proves that much. This popular ride unfolds in Bend, Oregon, a city of about 80,000 right in the heart of Oregon. Every October 31st, the Halloween Cross Crusade and Cyclocross Festival kicks off with a crowd of costumed cyclists. In past years, the ride has drawn about 2,000 people over the course of two days, making it one of the most highly attended races anywhere across the globe. Participants dress up in their Halloween finest and climb atop their bikes to weave along the course’s curving dirt trails with fellow cyclists.
If you want to get into a consistent riding routine, the annual events might not be enough to keep you motivated. Lucky for you, most cities have at least one or two athletic stores that host group rides on a weekly or monthly basis. Take Arlington, for example. Its local organizations and businesses hold weekly bike rides of different lengths and difficulty levels, regularly scheduled rides for kids, and other frequent events to keep cyclists coming together. Check out your city’s events page or search local cycling shops to find out about similar rides near you.