Monday, July 27, 2015

Variety of Bicyclists Rolls Every Monday Night in Vegas

Nothing like a new bicycle ride to see a new side of Las Vegas.

For nearly three years, I biked the roadie circuit in Red Rock Canyon, pedaling a nice Specialized Roubaix road bicycle into the Red Rock foothills and feeling the awe and power from those big red stripes on the mountains.

And for jollies, I would bike a steel-framed, single-speed fattie cruiser -- the Surley Pugsley -- for that rolling party on wheels known as the Blinking Man Ride in downtown Las Vegas twice a year.

But on Monday night I discovered a third great ride to create the Holy Trinity of Las Vegas bicycling -- the weekly Monday night Smash Brothers ride that rolls out from The Beat coffeehouse on East Fremont in downtown.

It featured a stunning array of working man bicyclists from Rich, a white dude with a rolled-up bandana in his waivy hair who was a full-time substitute teacher on a fixie and wearing long purple shorts; Henry, a black guy who lived near Desert Breeze Park, rode a 2002 Trek 1000 (Trek's intro road bike) and worked as a handyman; and Edgar, a Latino in long gray shorts and Vegas Bike Store bicycle jersey while pedaling an upscale Cannondale road bike.

There were probably about 60 in all, mostly riding fixie bikes, but lots of roadies and non-Spandex types on old mountain bikes, too.

Five reasons why I love this ride:

-- Monday. Gets the week off to a flying start and rejuvenates you after the first day of the work week.

-- Night. A big crowd of blinking red lights makes safe to ride at night.

-- Cross-section of bicycles; Fixies, road, single-speed, mountain bikes -- they were all there.

-- East Vegas: Most bicyclists ride the western suburbs, and then the Red Rock Canyon area. This offered a taste and view of the East Vegas grit and working man side of town.

-- No bicyclist left behind: Every several miles, we stopped and re-joined up with our fellow bicyclist. You were never alone on this ride.    

We biked out of downtown to Maryland Parkway, flew down a hill at 30 mph and made a right turn on Washington for a ride through Vegas' working class east side.

These weren't the Summerlin roadies or the Blinking Man rolling bike bash folks. It was a different crowd; An unpretentious crowd of bicycle lovers who were rolling together and had each other's back as we pedaled east.

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