A perfect summer evening in Laramie deserves to be celebrated, when the sky is clear, the air is still, a hint of coolness foretells fall, and the streets are quiet before university traffic returns.
More than a dozen cyclists took to Laramie streets Thursday evening on such a night, riding around town as the afternoon light softened into evening. The event was the Cruiser Ride, a weekly group ride led by the Pedal House bike shop, 207 S. First St. The last one of the summer is set for next week.
“The Cruiser Ride is my favorite ride of the year, by far,” Pedal House owner Dewey Gallegos said. “It’s a bunch of people riding around, being real social, chatting.”
Cruiser bikes are designed for comfort. They allow riders to sit in an upright position with wide tires and a springy seat.
The name of the ride, however, suggests its personality rather than mandating what type of bike must be used. Many riders brought their cruisers, while others rode fixed-gear or road bikes. The group adhered to a speed limit of 5 miles per hour.
“It’s a relaxed pace, a relaxed atmosphere,” Gallegos said.
The Pedal House used to lead Cruiser Rides several years ago but stopped for a while, Gallegos said, because he didn’t have enough employees to allow him to break away at the end of the day. This summer, a full staff meant several employees could leave for the day as the shop closed.
“It’s been nice to be able to bring the rides back and have energy at the end of the day,” he said.
Zoey Lozano, 12, came on the ride with her mother and 8-year-old brother. She said it’s a regular pastime for the family.
“They’re a nice way to hang out with some of my mom’s friends,” she said of the rides.
Rory Palmer joined his friend Tim Scherden on the ride for the first time, partly enticed by the promise of a slow pace.
“I had a free evening, and it’s beautiful out,” he said.
Scherden was eager to ride his newest bike.
“I have an old cruiser that I just picked up maybe a month ago,” he said.
Leaving the Pedal House on First Street, the group backed up traffic for a moment as it rode down to Garfield Street and turned west, making sure to obey traffic rules while honking horns and ringing bells at pedestrians. A 4-year-old and a 5-year-old were part of the crew.
From Garfield Street, the riders turned north to make a loop around Prexy’s Pasture. The wide, empty sidewalks invited carefree coasting.
“We’re the scariest bike gang in town right now,” someone joked.
After a lap, the group cut through an empty University of Wyoming parking lot, rode through Greenhill Cemetery, turned north once again and eventually made a meandering curve on quiet streets back toward the downtown district.
Dewey said Thursday’s ride, scheduled for 6 p.m., will be the last of the season, before shop traffic picks up with the return of UW students.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a whole mess of people to celebrate Laramie,” he said.