It was a chilly fall night under the full moon, and at the north entrance to Worner, Halloween arrived a month early. An energetic crowd of costumed students on bikes bobbed along to blaring pop music, shouting to new arrivals, while members peeled off to pop wheelies on the side. It was “flair” at its best: every type of bright clothing imaginable was on display, from sequined tops to fluorescent tights to painfully loud Hawaiian shirts. There were capes and Christmas-light adorned bikes and full-face helmets, hair ribbons and knee socks and even a laser pointer. Two full-suited Pooh Bears walked through the crowd, adjusting their snouted headpieces.
The Full Moon Cruiser is a monthly Colorado College tradition that follows the cycles of the moon. Scheduled on nights as close to the full moon as possible, the ride has a typical turnout anywhere from 20 or so students on the coldest nights to over 50 on nights such as last Wednesday, the first cruiser of the year. Alternately called cruuz, crooooooze, crooze, or even crüz, one of the organizers of the event, Adam Jolly ’19, explained that “the etymology is complex, but all modern variations are derived from the formal title ‘the Full Moon Cruiser.’”
While not affiliated with the Outdoor Education Center, emails about the cruise typically egin coming out on its listserv several days before the event. “The cruiser has been going on for as long as I can remember, though it was probably started by either the ORC or the bike co-op,” Jolly said. “[Now] there is a small group of bicycle-oriented people who manage the cruise,” Jolly says.
The crooz started biking down Tejon from Worner at 10 p.m. Cars honked their horns, pedestrians yelled in support, and in the middle of downtown, people stepped into the street to get videos. The group made its way to America the Beautiful Park, putting bikes on the grass and scrambling around the Julie Penrose fountain. Perched by the swirled metal structure, people began a rhythmic thumping, howling for the full moon rising over the city. An impromptu dance party broke out at the base, centered around an enormous boom box strapped to the back of a rider.
“I think people like the cruiser because it both brings people together, and because it helps offload some of that block-schedule stress,” Jolly said. “It’s a lot of fun to dance around with a bunch of people in flair while howling at the moon.” From the way people sprinted for the swings and slides after reaching the nearby Fantasy Playground, quite a lot of Block Plan stress must have accumulated by the first Wednesday of Block 2. As a mild mosh pit developed in the center of the park, students climbed onto the top of playground structures to show off their dance moves.
Suddenly, back into town they went, up to the top of a parking garage in the middle of downtown for a last dance and howl, plus a Conga line so energetic that the entire pavement parking lot of the garage started to bounce. Several skateboarders and rollerbladers, pulled by their friends this far, arrived and took the elevator up. There was even a student on a PikeRide.
“It’s not a full-moon cruiser without mishaps or funny stories. I’ve seen people Uber to the park, someone once rode a tall bike in their birthday suit, and absolutely random people from downtown have joined in on various parts of the cruise,” Jolly said. “Every single time something different happens, which is what makes it so unique.” Perhaps this time it was the random citizen who appeared on the edge of the crowd, on top of the parking garage in the middle of the night, to tell everybody how cool it was. Or perhaps it was the girl who struggled uphill on her one-speed, suffering through honks of passing cars, or a rollerblader who was tugged down Tejon by a friend on a bike. Or maybe it was just the energy emanating from the neon, howling, wheelie-popping group of CC students on their first cruiser of the year.