Are you looking for Santa Barbara nightlife that involves friends, fun and . . . bicycles?
You are? Well, you're in luck. Santa Barbara Bike Moves is just the ticket! This fun, free community event is not to be missed, both for visiting enthusiasts and resident cyclists. Even if you haven't ridden a bicycle since you were ten, we think you're going to love this alternative to the traditional downtown scene.
On the evening of the first Thursday of every month, droves of bicyclists meet at a predesignated area to travel a predesignated route that usually ends at a predesignated drinking establishment (although you can certainly take a 'time out' at any spot along the way).
Stearns Wharf is a popular destination for Santa Barbara Bike Moves' monthly ride — Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Bike Moves
There's even a predesignated theme each month. Participants are encouraged to come in costume or decorate their mode of travel in accordance with the theme. But it's perfectly acceptable to come as you are, too. Past themes have included prom, dinosaurs and "Bike to the Future."
Joining Santa Barbara Bike Moves for an evening of fun is a snap. On the first Thursday of the month, check their website or Facebook page to get the theme for the night, as well as the after-party location.
Then grab your beach cruisers, road bikes, rollerblades or scooter (or anything with wheels, really) and roll on down to Plaza de Vera Cruz, where the group meets at 7:30 p.m. before riding through town. Popular past destinations have included Stearns Wharf and Figueroa Mountain Brew Co.
Santa Barbara Bike Moves only has three rules that it asks participants to abide by: have fun, respect the community and obey all traffic laws.
Take a tip from us, and don't forget your light. Or lights, as the case may be. Many riders decorate their bikes with strands of battery-operated lights. It's easy to see and makes for an impressive spectacle when dozens of lit-up rides are rolling down the street.
In addition to their monthly ride, Santa Barbara Bike Moves also hosts bicycle-oriented events throughout the year. A percentage of any event proceeds is donated to local nonprofits.
Are you a visitor who is traveling without a bike? Not to worry. Many area hotels offer free bicycle rentals with your room reservation. Hotel Oceana and Canary Hotel are just a few such accommodations. We recommend you call ahead to verify if your hotel offers complimentary cruisers when you are booking your trip.