You’d be hard-pressed to find an activity any more Colorado than a summertime cruiser ride. Think about it: exercise, self-expression, and 40,000 of your closest friends. Some 40,000 pedal-pushers were estimated to have participated in the monthly ¡Viva! Streets events last year, which is a shame because the event will not be returning in 2024 due to cost and permitting issues.

But don’t fret if you have a ¡Viva!-size hole in your heart. Your tricked-out two-wheeler is welcome at these eight social bike rides, which are all free and encourage newcomers.

Wednesday Night Cruisers

  • When: Wednesdays at 6 p.m.
  • Where: The Gin Mill (2041 Larimer St.)

The vibe: If cosplay is your thing, this is your social bike ride because for this cohort of two-wheelers, Halloween comes once a week, every week. Expect themes ranging from prom to beach to Mad Max—and be prepared to be jeered if you show up sans costume. Join the dedicated Wednesday Night Cruisers Facebook group for regular updates and meet-up info; find ride themes on the Colorado Cycling Connections Facebook page.

Denver Cruiser Ride

Denver Cruiser Ride spins through the Mile High City. Photo courtesy of Denver Cruiser Rides
  • When: Thursdays starting May 30 through September 5, usually beginning at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Meeting spots change; check the website or Facebook page for weekly details

The vibe: Denver’s OG social bike ride isn’t fast, but it’s mighty. Expect to join hundreds of fun-loving cyclists who hoot and holler as they lay claim to the city’s streets and back alleys, all in the spirit of two-wheeled freedom. The routes are safe and well-planned (revealed right before the ride) and typically lead the group anywhere from three to six miles through urban and neighborhood streets before arriving at a secret location. Once the throng reaches its destination, there’s a good chance food trucks and live music will be waiting. Chances are also good that there will be beer; after all, a little liquid courage helps with participation in the Circle of Death, a Denver Cruiser Ride staple where masses of cyclists ride around a stationary party, forming a kind of cruiser whirlpool.

Belmar Summer Cruiser Ride

  • When: June 9, July 14, August 11, and September 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Belmar Shopping Center (7337 W. Alaska Dr., Lakewood)

The vibe: Want to bring the kids or even tow your littles in a bike trailer? You won’t be the only one in this family-friendly ride hosted by Alameda Connects, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering community in Lakewood. Unlike some of Denver’s more rambunctious nighttime jaunts, this short spin through Lakewood’s leafy suburban neighborhoods is actively promoted by the city and local politicos. The loop begins and ends at Belmar, where food trucks post up for Lakewood’s Street Food Social events every Friday through September.

The Golden Bike Cruise

  • When: May 28, June 25, July 30, August 27, and September 24, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
  • Where: The upper deck of the Calvary Church/Armory parking garage (818 14th St., Golden)

The vibe: Apparently cruisers and costumes go together like peas and carrots, a phenomenon the kid-friendly Golden Bike Cruise fully supports. Rides this summer include themes like superheroes, Barbie and Ken, Olympics, and more. The roughly 30-minute social ride starts and ends on the top floor of a parking garage where kegs are tapped and local food vendors like Bob’s Atomic Burgers set up shop to the tune of live music. Raffles benefit a slew of local nonprofits and schools.

Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride in Boulder

People wearing togas sit on bicycles in Boulder, Colorado
Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride in Boulder. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
  • When: Thursdays at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Greenleaf Park (between Spruce and Pearl streets, west of Folsom St., Boulder)

The vibe: It probably comes as no surprise that one of the oldest social bike rides around was born in the People’s Republic. Since 1992, happy Boulderites have been spinning their pedals every Thursday, year-round, rain or shine. At the Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride, folks don on-theme costumes (upcoming themes include glitter, prom, plants, and lingerie) before riding around Boulder’s downtown and bevy of bike paths. The nighttime ride tends to morph into a dance party, too.

Littleton Social Cycle

  • When: Select Sundays, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
  • Where: Sterne Park (5800 S. Spotswood St., Littleton)

The vibe: Cyclists south of Denver now have a ride of their own: Established in 2023, the casual Littleton Social Cycle takes participants along different routes each ride with multiple fun stops and activities along the way. Local breweries, restaurants, and cafes tend to be included on the itinerary, and occasionally there are themes when rides coalesce with holidays like Earth Day or Halloween.

Longmont Bike Night

  • When: Wednesdays starting May 29, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Roosevelt Park (700 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont)

The vibe: Wrap your ride in rope lights, throw some speakers in your backpack, and don your finest neon for this family-friendly rolling party. Every Wednesday in summer, thousands of folks head out from Roosevelt Park to tool around Longmont on routes revealed the day of that tend to utilize bike paths and float through downtown. Stay current on Longmont Bike Night’s Facebook page for weekly themes and routes.

Tour de Fat

  • When: Saturday, August 24, 2024, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
    Where: City Park (Sheldon and City Park streets, Fort Collins)

The vibe: Advertising itself as the “world’s greatest costumed bike parade,” this free annual ride and festival thrown by New Belgium Brewing Company combines a whole lot of quintessential Colorado fun into one event. Beer? Check. Thousands of costumed revelers? Check. Live music? Check. Expect to see wildly customized bicycles—think: a couch affixed between two bikes—and nationally known music acts. And though this year’s Tour de Fat is only happening around New Belgium’s HQ in Fort Collins (the rides also used to take place in Denver before the pandemic), the event is still well worth the trek. And who knows? Maybe with enough pressure, the Tour de Fat will return to the Mile High City.

Chris Walker
Chris Walker
Chris writes for various sections of 5280 as well as