Each year the Atlanta-based tandem club (aka, PEACHES) attempts to hold an annual Christmas Lights Ride a week or two before the 25th. While it's hardly an original idea, noting that Birmingham Bicycle Club (BBC) and I"m sure many others have held similar outings. I recently heard back from some friends in Newport, CA, who participate in annual Holiday ride... Do any of the other list members participate in similar holiday outings?
Although Atlanta is often times thought of as being in the 'deep south', as I think back on our past rides I'm reminded that the first was held just days after an ice storm with the temps hovering in the 20's and instead of calling out "car back" or "bump" the refrain heard most often was "ice in the middle". Despite the very cold temps, it was still a great time. In years since then we've had either cold evenings or rain-outs, never a nice balmy night that I can recall. The shortish 10 mile night rides have included decorated tandems, decorated riders, and visits to Centennial Park, Atlantic Station, and certain neighborhoods with some of the more spectacular lights displays, usually followed by a warm meal at a local eatery.
This year one of our club members elected to host the ride from their home, with a social to follow. Although we were treated to unseasonably warm temps in the 70's earlier in December, the week before Christmas we finally got some much needed rain in Atlanta and more seasonally-normal temperatures in the 30 - 50 degree range. Although the forecast for December 22nd didn't call for rain until later in the evening, a steady mist was falling as the appointed departure time of 5:30pm grew near and the "no ride if raining" caveat was put to the test. Well, as it turned out a total of six intrepid teams braved the 'misty' conditions coupled with high 40 degree temperatures and headed out for a 10 mile night ride that meandered from Decatur, Georgia to the Inman Park community and back, passing some spectacular displays of exterior holiday illumination.
I'm not sure if a winner was ever declared for the tandem decoration contest, but I would have called it a tie: one team's tandem was resplendent with lights and silver garland running the length of their top tube and finished off with an illuminated miniature Christmas tree surrounded by neatly wrapped packages on their rear rack. Another tandem was equally glorious fully decked out in colorful mini-lights that covered all of the frames main tubes with the Grinch riding in their trunk bag clad in a Santa suit.
Truly a festive and enjoyable evening that even a little "mist" couldn't ruin. However, as we neared the end of the ride one of our friends correctly observed that if it had been the middle of July with temperatures in the 80's and raining like it was during this year's ride we would probably not have headed out for a night ride which prompted the post ride observation and commentary: "What were we thinking!?". Of course, once the cold and wet riding gear came off and was replaced by warm and dry clothes and then all of the glorious food was put out at their home, the chill was replaced by a wonderfully warm holiday glow from the good times spent with our tandem friends, including a few other couples who passed on the ride but joined us for the social.
In Tucson, we hold an annual Christmastime 'Toys for Tots' bike ride.
We do two short morning rides to the local zoo and bikes and riders are decorated and loaded with toys for the toy drive.
We get free entrance into the zoo and stop for coffee/munchies at zoo snackbar after we deposit the toys in a huge box.
We have led one of the rides for about the past half-dozen years. Get all sort of riders and bikes.
The pace is on the slow side to accomodate all, from youngsters to seniors.
Our ride had BMX bikes, mountain and comfort bikes, three 3-wheeld recumbents, racers, and and a couple upright tandems (besides us) including a 'bent twicer + some tag-a-long bikes too.
Between the 2 rides about 50 cyclists made it to the zoo to help out with 'Toys for Tots.'
Bicycling mag even lists our ride. A good ride for a good cause.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Smilin (an chilly) ride leaders at the 2006 Toys for Tots event.