Summer is the best season. It’s also the most ethereal, so hang on while it lasts and ride out every moment from daybreak to twilight on one of these glorious group bike rides, clothes optional. Really, you can leave the chamois at home.
About half a dozen bikephile organizations work to host events year-round in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Many are family-friendly, while others set off to tour breweries. Pay attention to the details if you like to dress up — or dress down — because some rides ask you to don your best tweed suits — while others require nothing but your birthday suit.
World Naked Bike Ride
Where and when: To be confirmed on Saturday, June 10
Who: Cheeky, multi-modal urbanists.
In the spirit of critical-mass bike rides, this annual June event takes place around the globe. At its heart, this ride is a protest. “We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians,” declares the global mission statement.
For the uninitiated, clothing is optional, which means you can opt to wear what makes you comfortable. Body painting also encouraged.
The Vancouver organizers were still trying to nail down volunteers to lead the political bacchanal, so confirm the ride closer to the date by following its Facebook page.
Where: Secret location TBA
When: Departs 9pm, Saturday, June 10
Who: For cyclists who “like to party all night” riding a bike, hosted by Party4Health and Velopalooza.
It’s exactly what it sounds like, exclamation mark included: music, lights, two-wheel action.
The start location will be announced 24 hours in advance. Get the goods by signing up for its newsletter, accessible through Facebook.
Summer Solstice Ride
Where: Crab Park
When: Departs 6pm, Saturday, June 24
Who: Bikes that light up the night, hosted by Terminal City Riders.
Wrap your bike in lights, plant speakers in your basket, and adorn all the things that glow in the dark for this sunset ride. Hundreds come out for this annual group ride, so adopt a leisurely pace and take in the cityscape under the fading light of one of the longest days of the year.
People gather up to an hour before departure. The parade route circles through Gastown and the Olympic Village before heading west towards Kitsilano for a respite at Spanish Banks.
Bicycle Beach Crawl
Where: Hadden Park
When: Departs 3pm Thursday, June 15
Who: Hosted by Party4Health, this ride promotes a seaside ride free of drugs and alcohol.
The hosts of this ride promise there are no bouncers except the lifeguards and no cover except your own sweat equity to get this party rolling. The ride leaves Hadden Park along Spanish Banks, making stops at Locarno, Jericho and Kits beaches along the way for volleyball, frisbee, bocce, slacklining and other summertime games for kids of all ages.
Led Zeppelin Ride
Where: Crab Park, by the gazebo
When: Departs 8:15pm, Friday, June 16
Who: The Vancouver Slow Bicycle Group invites you to climb aboard the mothership.
Your stairway to heaven could be paved with pedal strokes and glowsticks on this creative ride, which syncs the Best of Led Zeppelin to blast from as many speakers as possible for a seawall cruise. It’s not mandatory to bring the album, a player or speakers. The invitation is open to ride and rock into the sunset around Stanley Park.
Riders will meet 30 minutes before departure. The ultimate goal, as promised by the hosts: “We end at Third Beach to watch the sun set at 9:20pm to the masters guitar.”
Pink Floyd the Sea Wall
Where: Creekside Park, beside Science World
When: Departs 9pm, Friday, June 23
Who: Part of the Velopalooza cycling festival.
The seventh annual bring-your-boombox nighttime ride to Third Beach takes place to the soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The remastered version is the official track for the ride; find it on iTunes.
The hosts remind riders this event goes along the seawall, obvs, which is shared by other cyclists and pedestrians. So, be cool everyone. Also: “If you are coming in the interest of being a drunken fool with a mob mentality, stay home.”
In the DIY ethos of the ride, decorate your bike and body with lights, paint and art that inspires more than comfortable numbness.
Wheelman Annual Vintage Ride
Where and when: Seawall, beginning at noon on Sunday, July 16
Who: The Wheelmen Vintage Bicycle Club wants ‘em old, sleek and steel.
The Wheelmen celebrate vintage authenticity by collecting, fixing and restoring bikes that are decades old. Bikes have a story to tell, and riders add to that with every kilometre.
The once-a-year vintage ride welcomes all cruisers, but the hosts prefer your wheels be dated.
They haven’t specified a start-point for the ride, but look for updates on Facebook.
Where: David Lam Park
When: Departs 5pm, Saturday, August 19
Who: Hosted by the newly minted 365 International Sport Foundation, which includes five-time Olympian Charmaine Crooks, the inaugural and city-permitted ride and festival is free for youth under 18 and $20 for everyone else. Registration required.
This ride will shut down city streets (with permission) for a 90-minute tour back to David Lam Park, where a festival picks up with food trucks, a kid zone, beer gardens and live entertainment. There will be a bike valet, too. Someone will also win a trip for four to Amsterdam, courtesy of festival sponsor KLM Airlines.
Bike the Night
Where: On the open lot near Pacific Boulevard and Carrall Street, between BC Place and Science World
When: Departs 8pm, Saturday, September 16
Who: Hosted by HUB and sponsored by MEC, early-bird tickets are $8 for HUB members and $10 otherwise until June 15. Riders 16 and under are free. Registration required.
The streets will be cleared for this 10-kilometre ride, promoted as Vancouver’s only official nighttime ride. (Like Our Cityride, it’s sanctioned by the city.)
The skyline and cityscape will sparkle on this late-summer tour over the Burrard Bridge and back to the start point. The festival begins at 6pm, followed by the ride at 8pm.