You know you’re in a hip city when it’s got its own social bike ride. Well now, Waco’s got one. Bicyclists meet at Truelove Bar on Franklin Street on Wednesday nights to—yep, just like when you were a kid—ride bikes.
The story seems to be the same for everyone on the ride: they used to ride bikes when they were kids, then they stopped riding for a while. And then at some point it hit them again: bike riding is a lot of fun.
"Since I was a kid I really started to get into it after high school when I got a road bike and learned how to rebuild them and stuff," says "Noodle" Landon, one of the riders. "This is like the only opportunity I've found but it's way more fun with other people.
The group is called the "Urban Pushers." There are about ten people who ride every week, but it’s a rolling cast and informal. The group is made up of a wide spread of riders—from ex-professional bicyclists to casual peddlers. They pick a different route every week, set out from Truelove Bar at about 9:30 p.m., returning after about an hour cruise.
Chris Schickner, who also moonlights as DJ Versatile, is the defacto leader of the group. He says the group started last year when he and a couple of his friends started riding bikes around town at night.
"We were just riding around on fixed gear bikes and we called it the SSS group," says Schickner. "SSS stood for sexy swag sweaters cuz we wore full-on like parka sweaters every time we rode."
Dropping the sweaters and changing the name, they started recruiting more riders over Facebook and word of mouth.
"What I tell anybody, just when we see someone riding on the street like when we’re out riding in the group we see someone just riding doesn’t look like they have a destination or mashing it out trying to get somewhere, we’re like ‘hey come ride with us,’" says Schickner.
Audra Clark found out about the group on Facebook. "I’m not an experienced rider by any means all the guys totally kick my butt. But I do like to ride and I have a lot of fun," says Clark. "I didn’t know anybody but I just thought it looked fun and I wanted to try it so I found a bike, I bought a bike, and now I come up here."
Jon Pursley manages Bicycles Outback, a bicycle store on Waco Drive. He says part of why he enjoys the Urban Pushers that it’s relaxed, even if some people are biking hard.
"This is something that has trended or is trending all over the world this type of riding, this type of community, says Pursley. "It definitely has the spectrum of riders so there are casual riders that ride with us as well as fast ones and you kinda play that accordion effect where the people out in front go out in front but you know they stop and wait for the rest of them."
The Urban Pushers meet at Truelove Bar near the corner of 4th and Franklin every Wednesday night. They ride out at about 9:30.