As a kid, the only thing that could make whizzing through space on my bicycle more fun would have been to ride it someplace unusual — like an empty shopping mall.
That never happened, but I can approach the dream — and thrill the bike-riding kids I know — by throwing our bikes in the back of the SUV and heading to Bike Night in downtown Tempe.
Beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, the city will celebrate how fun it is to zoom around on a bike, whether you do it as a jersey-wearing racer or a family with a set of beloved beach cruisers.
For casual riders, there’s a 6 p.m. “Light Ride” hosted by ASU-based bicycle innovators CycleLights. The trip takes cyclists on a tour of downtown Tempe, allowing for conversation with friends at a leisurely pace. It begins and ends at Hayden Square Amphitheater.
For the more intense, athletic supply store TriSports will host a 90-minute “Endurance Ride” aimed at triathletes and other racing cyclists. It starts at 6 p.m. and will take riders from Tempe through Scottsdale and back to Mill Avenue.
After the rides, indie rockers Race You There will give a free concert, and cyclists can enter a raffle to win bicycle equipment, accessories and a new bike provided by CycleLights and AZ Bicycle Exchange.
A pre-ride dinner at nearby University Drive’s Bad Mother Cluckers char-grilled chicken restaurant includes two entrees, two sides, a drink and a set of CycleLights LED rim lights for $20. Proceeds go toward CycleLights’ efforts to buy old bikes, new parts and paint jobs for bikes to send to families in Africa.
DETAILS >> 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. Hayden Square Amphitheater, 404 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. Free admission; bring money for raffle tickets and food. (480) 355-6060 or MillAvenue.com/bikenight.
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