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Rain or shine, Denver’s largest slow ride will kick off its 13th season tonight. The Denver Cruiser Ride (DCR)—which has traditionally been a weekly, free bike ride (and party) around Denver—will continue to bring thousands of costumed cyclists onto Mile High City streets on Wednesday nights. But in a change, this summer, the event will take place just once a month.
The decrease from 20 annual rides down to five was a financial decision, according to founder Brad Evans. DCR was able to get more sponsors to increase contributions for a once-a-month series. Although the DCR is free for participants, the cost of security, clean-up, and sanitation has ballooned into six figures—without sponsorships, much of the cost would fall on Evans. “Twenty weeks for any sponsor is a nearly impossible grind,” he says. “This way, hopefully I won’t be in debt at the end of the summer.”
DCR is also adding more starting points this season, so that riders can launch their journey from Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway, Monkey Barrel Brewing in Sunnyside, or Be On Key in North Capitol Hill, in addition to oldies The Ginn Mill (near Coors Field) and Little Machine Beer (down the road from Sports Authority Stadium). Everyone should still end up in the same place for the “Bike Party / Circle of Death”—a party that takes place a secret destination after each ride—but Evans doesn’t seem too worried. “Part of the adventure is finding it,” he says. Riders who make it to the final destination will be treated to even better parties this year, thanks to an increase in sponsor funding, with performances from bigger bands.
The dialing-back of the rides could also mean more awesome bike-related events down the pipeline. In August, when DCR’s bike parties come to a close, Evans plans to launch advocacy projects for bike safety. One of these is the brand-new City Spark, a monthly happy-hour event that will launch on May 24 and invites the public to engage about ways to make Denver a safer city for bicyclists.
“We’ve continued to inspire people to ride bikes,” Evans says. “That’s turned into advocating for and being part of making Denver a real bike city.”
If you go: The ride starts at 8:15 p.m., but cyclists are welcome to show up to any of the five locations mentioned above for drinks starting at 6 p.m. The theme for tonight’s ride is “Green.” Find more information about the starting points and what to bring.