Night riders light up downtown and Everett’s waterfront
EVERETT – Like a moving Christmas light show, a flood of bikes, tricycles and other wheeled transport meanders from downtown Everett to the waterfront every Saturday night.
The Sunset on Saturdays Ride is a slow-moving, illuminated merry-go-round hosted by Randy Morris, who lives in the Riverside neighborhood. Morris, 64, took part in the weekly event a few years ago as friends occasionally rode.
“It just really became a lot of fun,” Morris said. “People are yelling at us and yelling at us.”
People on bikes, scooters, roller skates, and skateboards gather at dusk outside the Eight Ball Cafe at 2727 Colby Ave. Once the sun sets, the parade of lights makes a visual spectacle along the route south to Pacific Avenue, west to Grand or Hoyt Avenue, north to Grand Avenue Park (where cyclists take the bridge elevator to West Marine View Drive), north to 10th Street boat launch, then loop back. It’s a slight incline from downtown to the park, but flat along the waterfront. It’s about 6 miles round trip.
“It’s not training,” said Wendy Poischbeg, 52, of Everett.
Poischbeg participated in some of the “healthy, unique, funky, arty” rides and promoted the event through his eatstaylovesnoco social media profiles.
The Venice Electric Light Parade in Los Angeles inspired Morris and others to do something similar to Everett. There are no clubs to join, fees to pay, or goals, other than doing something fun, if a little eccentric, that showcases the city and its cycle paths.
“It’s pretty spectacular when you see all those bikes lit up on a parade,” Morris said. “We tend to have cars behind us to watch. “
The social nature and the low speed allow people on the ride to talk to each other, Poischbeg said.
So far, the largest group has been around 30 people, Morris said. Recently, the ride included someone wearing a bright T-shirt and socks.
Anyone with a bike or skates can participate, even if they don’t know how to install the electric lights.
“Whoever shows up, we’ll show them what to do and how to hook up their platforms,” he said.
Morris is a fan of older bikes, like the pre-war Elgin his wife rides. He connected a 500 watt electric motor and converted it into an e-trike. Morris also has a pre-war Hiawatha and a 1967 Schwinn Hollywood.
But everything he drives is informed by modern technology, and a lot of it.
“I think I have around 300 or 400 LEDs on my bike,” he said.
Some displays go beyond lights, including a disco ball, speakers, and spaceship figures. LED bike wheel lights cost around $ 20 and up and are available at online retailers and some local bike stores. The other decorations are left to the discretion and imagination of the rider.
“The more color the better,” said Poischbeg, who stuck battery-powered LED Christmas lights on his mountain bike for the rides. “Once you’ve got some flashing lights and Hall & Oates playing, you’re definitely in a good mood.”
Morris said he plans to continue the rides through the fall and winter, but the route could change. He wants to coordinate the sunset on Saturday to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett as a visual boost for patients and staff.
With the cooler weather already setting in, people should bundle up. But they may not see Poischbeg’s illuminated bicycle any longer.
“I don’t know if I’m going to do it during the winter,” Poischbeg said. “We will be back this Saturday for sure.