OCEANSIDE — Dozens of cyclists gather for a new weekly tradition of riding through local communities.
Traversing through city streets from Oceanside to Carlsbad, Nick Evans has created a bicycle social club. His Saints Through Fire and the Chopaderos will now team up for a toy drive.
On Saturday, Evans and Chad Majer and T. Flores of the Chopaderos bicycle club will put on their biggest local ride to date with a Christmas themed ride through Carlsbad. Starting at noon at the Stag and Lion, 850 Tamarack Ave., riders will snake through Carlsbad to various bars and restaurants soliciting toys.
Of course, each rider is required to donate at least one toy, which will then be split between Toys for Tots and the Chopaderos, who will donate the rest to another organization the following week.
Riders, meanwhile, can join the ride at any time as long as they bring a toy.
“There is no reason why not to do it,” Evans said. “What’s best not to support the community and get the kids involved, too? I thought why not do a toy drive for all ages.”
The ride continues down Tamarack Avenue and turns north on Garfield Street. It moves on the second stop on Ocean Street followed by stops on Roosevelt Street and Coastal Rail Trail.
The stops continue until one hour after sundown when a parade will begin from Pizza Port in Carlsbad Village. Then, the cyclists, who are encouraged to decorate their bikes with lights and holiday themes, will ride through the neighborhood showing off their designs.
“We will do a little light parade,” Evans said. “When we go back to the Stag and Lion, we will raffle off the bike.”Also, with each donated toy, riders will receive a raffle ticket to win a custom made bike built by Evans and Majer, who operate their own side business, Barn Find Kustomz. The new ride is made from salvaged beach cruiser parts and carefully crafted into a new bike.
“We have enough knowledge of part where we can build anything,” Majer said. “If you have a rusty old beach cruiser … we will turn it into something awesome.”
For those who miss out on Saturday’s ride, the Chopaderos will run their 12 Bars of Christmas (21 and older) Dec. 12. Proceeds from that ride will benefit a women’s homeless shelter in Oceanside.
“It allows the children to stay with their mothers,” Flores said.
The rides, meanwhile, focus on exploring the community and meeting new people. The group begins from one location and rides to a number of other bars, restaurants and gathering places.
For those who miss the start, no problem, just peddle to the next stop and go from there.
And for Evans, Majer and Flores, their clubs are an identity and way they wanted to give back to the community. Majer, who also works at Electra Bicycle Company, which was recently bought by Trek, designs beach cruisers, famous in Southern California.
But Majer and Evans’ business venture, meanwhile, is about creating and designing flashy new styles of bikes.
“There are all these bicycle clubs working together,” Majer said.
To view and join the ride, visit plotaroute.com/route/138432.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.