Turlock got a surprise on Sunday, when over 150 bikes of various styles and function converged on Downtown Turlock for a ride to remember.
The ride was organized by Rolling Relics, a Stockton-based group of cycling enthusiasts which has been organizing monthly bike rides in various cities for over two years. The rides usually draw a large, diverse group of bike enthusiasts for a 15-mile ride – but not as large a group as the Turlock ride drew.
Organizers estimated prior to the ride that only around 60 riders would attend, or perhaps 100 at most. No one expected the epic turnout.
“It was an awesome turnout,” said Carlos Puga, of Hughson. “I met a lot of people that were locals but I had an awesome conversation with one couple in particular. The lady had lost over 100 pounds riding her bike.”
Though the numbers fluctuated throughout the ride – some riders dropped off after a few miles while others joined the procession along the way – the official total was, at one point, 190 attendees.
“Two hundred will do,” said Jason Loucks, a former resident of Los Angeles where organized rides can draw thousands, “especially around here where it’s so quiet. This made so much noise and was so cool to be a part of.”
Many of those riders belonged to bike clubs from all over California. The bike clubs in attendance were The Chopaderos, The Kruz3rmob, Broken Spokes, The Hooligans, City Style Cruizerz, The Eternal Rascals, Mellow Rides, Brothers and Sisters Hellrides, The Others, Cyclone Coaster and The Wobble Riders. Though many of the club names might suggest nefarious behavior, these clubs are 100 percent about family and community.
The ride began at Jura’s Pizza and quickly made its way up Main Street to Berkeley Avenue. As riders traveled north on Berkeley, a gentleman in his 60s rode up alongside the peloton and asked what the ride was for.
“For fun!” a few people exclaimed.
“Fantastic” replied the gentleman. “I’ll join you!”
As the ride continued, many passersby would ask the same question: “What’s the ride for?” The newly joined gentleman would gleefully answer “For fun!”
Turlock drivers were polite throughout as cars remained still at every intersection, waving bikes through and snapping pictures as they passed. The smiles on people’s faces were relentless as they watched the bikes weave through neighborhoods.
“Every time we passed cars, they were taking pictures of us,” said James Rocha of Turlock. “What a great ride.”
After a brief stop at Markley Park on Monte Vista Avenue, the ride continued up N. Berkeley Avenue to Springer Drive and headed west to the second stop: Medeiros Elementary School. The stop at Medeiros allowed children to hop off of their bikes, run around the playground, and meet new friends while the adults checked out all the various bicycles.
The ride made its way down Crowell Road to Tuolumne Road, where it stopped for lunch at Togo’s and Shooters. From there, the ride traveled east on Tuolumne Road to Berkeley Avenue, backtracking to the starting point.
Back at Jura’s the riders took group photos, exchanged club t-shirts and enjoyed a final meal before heading back to their respective towns.
At every one of these stops, attendees met someone new. The amount of amazing bikes seemed limitless. Everyone was more than happy to share building tips and invite others on their individual upcoming rides.
Given the ride’s success, a return to Turlock could be coming some time soon.
“Turlock is a beautiful city and the people of Turlock were very accommodating to us, cheering us on as we rode past,” said Chris Montoya of Rolling Relics. “These rides are all about having fun with friends and family.”