Photos by Mikaela Burns
Moonlight Cruisers, an eclectic group of cyclists, mountain bikers, and recreational riders at CC are back for their blockly rides. This hodgepodge crew meets every full moon for a carefree ride through downtown Colorado Springs.
The ride is organized through the Bike Co-op and run through the Outdoor Education Office. The Co-op provides “a resource for students to come and get their bikes fixed and learn about fixing bikes,” said senior Tasha Heilweil, cruise facilitator and co-op employee. However, the cruisers accept a mix of all levels and experiences. As active cruiser Chris Watters explained, “It’s a healthy mix of all years and all sorts of people.” Heilweil continued, “You just need two wheels!”
The night’s schedule features a relaxed ride and a plethora of dance parties. The group meets outside Worner at 10 p.m., ready with music in hand. “One person usually shows up with a speaker at about 10:02, just to make sure it’s a fun entrance,” Heilweil said. “’The Boys Are Back In Town’ is usually playing at that time,” or, as Watters described it, “blaring.” The cruiser’s legendary Spotify playlist features classics such as Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” Toto’s “Africa,” Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch,” and, of course, Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Like Co-op employee and frequent moonlight cruiser, described it, “The greatest song ever written.” Heilweil called the playlist, “A nice montage of The Boys Are Back In Town,” while Lloyd deemed the list “organic; it’s grown throughout the years.”
Watters elaborated on the evening events: “We all climb up on a statue and have a dance party. Then, we move to a park, which is approximately 400 yards from the statue, and play in the park. And then, from there, we go back through town and up one of the parking garages, to the top of the parking garage, and have another dance party up there.” The dance parties are a staple of the ride. Although the park’s location is “undisclosed,” the stories are not. “It’s a time,” said experienced cruiser Jordan Ellison. “There is a distinction of different cycling rides, and this would definitely fall under the category of party rides, because it’s more of like a hang-out than a ride, since you’re not riding very fast or very far.”
And this distinction is what makes the ride so unique. The relaxed atmosphere attracts a diverse group of cruisers, all with a passion for the ride. “I like stopping by the playground and having a swing session on our way to the parking lot,” said Lloyd. “And riding down Tejon and getting honked at in an ambiguously friendly or mean way, nobody quite knows.” “And we don’t stop at any red lights; that’s a critical piece,” Watters added jokingly.
Although the turnout varies depending on the time of year and the temperature outside, the cruisers attract a consistent group. As Watters explained, “There is a solid crew.” Lloyd chimed in, “A devoted crew.” Yet, as Colorado weather is unpredictable, the numbers can drastically change from block to block, ranging anywhere from 10 to 40 cruisers. But, as Ellison put it, “Getting people on bikes is always a good thing,” no matter the numbers.
The Moonlight Cruises are a Bike Co-op tradition, but since the cruisers were founded in the last five years, this year’s crew is still trying to find some of their own. If the cruise lands on Monday, the riders stop for a hotdog at a local restaurant just north of campus that offers specials on Mondays. Other times, the crew meets up to talk bikes at the Co-op. No matter the event, the enthusiasm is evident.
Next year, the Bike Co-op will be moving to the Outdoor Education Center. “It’ll be great because it’ll be a nicer space and we’ll have more places to store stuff,” Llyod said. The Moonlight Cruisers will continue into the fall semester, but, in the mean time, don’t miss out on the final cruise of the year this Wednesday, May 10. As Lloyd explained, “They’re always the most fun with the biggest groups. 8th block is always the best, so be sure to come out.”