It’s always ambitious to host an Undie Bike Ride in January, even when we make it an Undie/Onesie ride. It’s SoCal’s coolest month, the weather is as unpredictable as it’s going to get. And let’s be honest, Californians are not known for their willingness to brave the elements unless they are on an adventure somewhere.
Then with winter storm jerkface pummeling San Diego with rain (and even hail!) the odds of Undie Bike Ride 6 going off without a hitch seemed slim to none. For all the support and sharing on social media, and the willingness of ChuckAlek Biergarten to promote it we were concerned that the SoCal Sessions team would be riding in our underwear alone.
We got to ChuckAlek about 3pm on Friday. Plenty of time to set up the One Wild Life Adventure Lab (thanks for the hook-up guys!), do a full route test to make sure all was safe & dry, and have a few “belly-warming” beers before everyone (hopefully) showed up. The weather report said a cool 50 for the temperature and less than a 10% chance of rain. When the sky started to darken there was beauteous sunset over ChuckAlek, and the fire pits were lit. We posted that the ride was definitely on. No sooner than we hit the “enter” key did that sunset disappear and raindrops the size of melons start splattering all around us. Shit.
It didn’t last long but it was enough to soak the roads again making our route test less than reliable. We also feared it may have dampened quite a few peoples enthusiasm for riding sans shirts and pants. Worst case we’d be sitting under the tent and heaters at ChuckAlek drinking beer. We spread the word. Each beer was still worth a dollar to charity. We could live with that even if we didn’t ride.
Then about 6:30 our friend Chris showed up with some clothing donations wearing StarWars pjs. Then some new faces. Then some old friendly ones followed by new ones. Our ride was scheduled to take off at 7:30. 35 or so upstanding citizens had shown up with donations ready for a bike ride and beer. Then at 7:25 PM the skies opened up again and the rain started coming down, but there was no turning back. This group of ruffians was going to hit the streets with or without our blessing. As always, I got up to address the crew. Any stress I had felt about organizing, the weather, our charity choices disappears without fail when I look out at all the people who do the Undie Rides. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you awesome, kind, generous, sexy people and fuck you rain!” I said (I’m paraphrasing a bit there). “We’re going to ride!” The crowd whooped. “We’re going to ride, but for safety in the rain we’re going to shorten the ride by half, make a loop and then drink a bunch of good beer!” The crowd whooped again. They’re a fun bunch but not crazy.
We pulled out of the biergarten en masse and headed for 30th. We turned south past the bookstore and Waypointe Public House, down to Modern Times and veering left onto Upas St. We meandered back along Grim to North Park Way and finally back into the biergarten. It was quick, wet and dirty. It was perfect. One of the funnest rides we’ve hosted recently. And one of the most successful clothing drives. Even with the numbers down about half of our summer rides we had the most clothing to donate since our first ride three years ago. Some fine folks and ChuckAlek donated a bunch of monies to a special needs teacher with a medical need and some local special needs students. And across the board our riders had smiles on their faces.
Every time I host this ride, every time, I think it will be the last one. Hosting rides can be stressful, and we put an added pressure on ourselves to make each one a special experience. But seeing the enthusiasm and the goodness come out of all our Undie Bike Riders makes it hard to stick to that feeling. You radiate goodness and make me proud to be apart of this community. Not just the bicycle community but San Diego in total. People show up to ride, donate, have fun no matter where we’ve done these rides. You’re as fine a bunch of weirdos as I could ever hope to call friends. Thank you again for your support. See you on the bike path again soon.
Do you dig what we do here? Awesome. We’d like to keep doing it and could use your support to keep the computers on, to keep going out exploring and supporting our community, to keep bringing you the best of SoCal’s bike, beard, beer and modern badassery.
Thanks for your support.