While the bicycle is becoming a significant transportation tool in the City of Vancouver, it is also important to recognize its growing role in increasing sociability, while enabling an ability to stay connected with others in the city. Over recent years, our family has been privileged enough to take part in countless organized and spontaneous group rides, from a couple dozen to a couple thousand participants, all focused on simply enjoying this stunning setting on two wheels.
With an increase in ridership, there has also been a surge in the number of different groups cropping up to host themed rides, each designed to showcase riders of all ages and abilities in a fun, safe, celebratory, and social environment. These themes include – but certainly aren’t limited to – Vintage Bike Rides, Bike Raves, Formal Rides, Craft Beer Rides, a Lucha Libre Masked Ride, a Hallowe’en Ride, or – as went down this past weekend – a Summer Solstice Ride.
The Vancouver Cruisers are one such group, formed in 2005 under the motto: “ride what you’ve got, take it easy”. They host a year-round ride calendar where members are welcome to post their own themed rides, and attend whatever event piques their interest. Most routes are designed for frequent stops and a moderate pace, staying away from traffic as much as possible, while making use of the excellent bike infrastructure we have available throughout the city.
On Saturday, June 20th, 2015, we joined over 300 Vancouverites on bikes to mark the ‘longest day of the year’, with the Vancouver Cruisers’ annual Summer Solstice Ride. The route itself was exactly as advertised, approximately 12 kilometres from Gastown to Spanish Banks. But there were plenty of stops (including Leg-In-Boot Square, Vanier Park, and Volunteer Park), and everyone was riding at a speed that made it easy for our six- and eight-year-olds to keep up.
Bicycle-based gatherings such as the Summer Solstice Ride and the Bike Rave have quickly become highlights of our summer social calendar. They offer a great opportunity to spend an evening in the great outdoors, and catch up with our friends. The fact that we’re riding bikes is a bonus. Although the beautiful part of these casual rides is when you get people riding for recreation, it’s only a matter of time before they realize they can do it for transportation too!
To view the full collection of photographs taken by the authors please click here.