04.01.13 // A Day with the Livermore Bike Cruise
Written by Peter Fleming
Photo credit: Ivan Angeles
A month ago, I’d never heard anyone use the phrase “bike party.” I’m fairly certain that given infinite time to ponder the mysteries of humanity and the nuances of the English language, the two words would never have come together in my mind to form a phrase. To me, a bike has always been something one used for transport or exercise, but partying? The thought was quite foreign to me when I first considered it. Who has a party on a bike? What does that even mean?
I found out what a bike party was a few weeks ago while visiting my cousin, although I can’t say it was an intentional discovery. I hadn’t seen my cousin Drew since the holidays, so I decided to go visit him on a Sunday in the distant land known as Livermore. Although it’s less than an hour away from my home in Oakland, California, I rarely travel out into the valley to see my cousin at his home. Occasionally, whether through guilt or boredom, I’ll break down and get onto the freeway to go see Drew on a whim, and this day was one of those times. The afternoon was fairly idyllic, warm sunshine with a light, cool breeze. For the first time in my adult life, I was genuinely pleased to be in Livermore.
When I arrived at my cousin’s house, I saw he had two beautiful, painstakingly rebuilt BMX bikes. He asked if I was up for going on a ride, and I gladly grabbed one of the bikes and took it for a short spin around his block to get a feel for the machine. When I got back to his garage, I told him that I’d love to take a ride. The bike, an Elf, was a perfect BMX in every way except that it was a bit small for me. BMX bikes, which are used for tricks as often as they are used for transport, aren’t the most comfortable bikes to ride, but I figured a short ride through town would be an enjoyable experience nonetheless. My cousin and I rode a mile or two to a local outdoor café called The Riata, where we met several of his friends who arrived on bikes as well. After a few snacks and beverages, our newly expanded group rode across Livermore’s downtown to Tap25 which specializes in craft beers. Again, another wave of bike-riding locals arrived to meet us as if on cue. Our group had grown from two to almost 20 people in the span of an hour. At this point I started to realize that the upcoming ride was a lot more serious and organized than I’d anticipated.
I had expected a relaxed, easy peddle through the sleepy town. Instead, I found myself amidst a rapidly expanding group of cyclists unlike any I’d ever seen before. First off, when one envisions a group of bike riders taking a ride together on a sunny afternoon, images of spandex-clad riders on tuned road bikes comes to mind. This group couldn’t have been any less like that stereotype. These riders were wearing loose t-shirts and baggy shorts, most of them looking as though they were preparing for a back-yard barbecue, not a serious bike ride. Many of the riders had backpacks on (loaded with beverages), and couldn’t have been less aerodynamic if they tried. Unfazed, the group departed Tap25 and headed down Stanley Boulevard, a highway-like main thoroughfare that bridges Pleasanton and Livermore. I turned on my phone’s workout-mapping app and joined the pack. At this point, after a few semi-urgent inquiries (I am not in peak condition, to put it kindly), I was told that we’d be going for a ten mile ride. I hesitantly consented to continue and began peddling.
13 miles later, and we were still headed west. I did the math and made the others aware that we were in for quite a bit more than ten miles of riding. Nobody seemed to notice my concern though – this group, which I later learned has self-branded as the “LBC” or the Livermore Bike Cruise, was more than content to ride until they had wandered all the way back home. After 24 miles and several stops that illuminated the term “bike party” along the way, we made it back to Livermore just after the sun had completely hidden behind the Dublin grade. My thighs were barking and I was a bit sore, but despite the discomfort, I felt really good. Everyone around me seemed as happy as I was, despite a day full of bumpy riding and several flat tires amongst the group. The members of the LBC told me about how they were planning to ride from Castro Valley to San Jose the following Saturday and invited me to join them. While I appreciated the offer, I was sore enough at that point to politely decline. That said, I really enjoyed my day riding with my cousin and his friends.
11.13.12 // Biking In Brooklyn
Written by Nick Moore One of the benefits of finding travel accommodations through the burgeoning peer-to-peer system (which includes organizations like CouchSurfing and Airbnb) instead of through the more established system of hotels, motels, and hostels is that you often get more than you pay for (and you almost always pay less). This notion was [...]
Well, it has finally happened: Lance Armstrong has been officially stripped of his Tour de France titles. His Boston and New York marathon rankings are soon to be scrapped as well. The US Anti-Doping Agency has found overwhelming evidence that Armstrong engaged in one of the most elaborate doping schemes ever conceived. Consequently, they have [...]
10.15.12 // Red Bull Rampage 2012
The Red Bull Rampage was held last weekend. This is the ultimate event of the year on the Freeride Mountain Biking World Tour. It is one of, if not the, most extreme mountain biking competitions in the world. Top riders from around the globe congregate in the desert just outside of Zion National Park in [...]
Last weekend was Governor Jerry Brown’s final chance to approve Senate Bill 1464, a bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles which would require motorists to give cyclists a minimum of three feet when passing. Hope was high throughout the cycling community that Gov. Brown would see this bill [...]
10.01.12 // Exploring the Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Trail
Written by Cheryl Carmo The fall is a perfect time to visit the Monterey Bay. Beauty, fun and adventure are at the tips of your fingers. It offers places to stay, dining, night life, plenty of activities, shopping and, of course, bicycling. The weather during this visit in September was a mixture of mild, marine-cool [...]
09.24.12 // The Not-So-Invisible Helmet
As you may have read before, I rode my bicycle for several years without even owning a helmet. Excuses were made, and consequently my safety was continually put at risk. A first-hand observance of my friend’s helmet in action decisively changed my prerogative, convincing me to finally purchase a helmet for myself. I now never [...]