EVERETT — Like a moving Christmas light display, a stream of bikes, trikes and other wheeled transports snake from downtown Everett to the waterfront every Saturday night.
The Sunset on Saturdays ride is a lit-up slow-roll joy ride organized by Randy Morris, who lives in the Riverside neighborhood. Morris, 64, took on the weekly event a couple of years ago when it was just friends riding occasionally.
“It’s really gotten to be a lot of fun,” Morris said. “People are hootin’ and hollerin’ at us.”
People on bikes, scooters, roller skates and skateboards gather around dusk in front of the Eight Ball Cafe at 2727 Colby Ave. Once the sun sets, the light parade makes a visual spectacle along the route south toward Pacific Avenue, west to either Grand or Hoyt Avenue, north to Grand Avenue Park (where riders take the bridge elevator to West Marine View Drive), north to the 10th Street boat launch, and then loop back. It’s a slight incline from downtown to the park, but flat along the waterfront. It’s about 6 miles roundtrip.
“It’s not a workout,” said Wendy Poischbeg, 52, of Everett.
Poischbeg has been on a few of the “healthy, unique, funky, arty” rides and promoted the event through her eatstaylovesnoco social media profiles.
The Venice Electric Light Parade in Los Angeles inspired Morris and others to do something similar in Everett. There’s no club to join, fees to pay or purpose, other than doing something fun, if a little eccentric, that highlights the city and its bike paths.
“It is quite spectacular when you see all these bicycles lit up in a parade,” Morris said. “We tend to get cars behind us to watch.”
The social nature and low speed lets people on the ride talk with each other, Poischbeg said.
So far the largest group was about 30 people, Morris said. Recently the ride included someone who wore a lighted T-shirt and socks.
Anyone with a bike or skates can join, even if they aren’t sure how to set up the electric lights.
“Anybody who does show up, we’ll show them what to do and how to hook up their rigs,” he said.
Morris is a fan of older bikes, such as the pre-war Elgin his wife rides. He’s 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 whatever he rides is lit with modern tech, and lots of it.
“I think I’ve got like 300, 400 LEDs on my bike,” he said.
Some displays go beyond lights, including a disco ball, speakers and spaceship figurines. LED lights for bike wheels cost around $20 and more and are available at online retailers and some local bike shops. Other decorations are up to the rider’s discretion and imagination.
“The more color the better,” said Poischbeg, who taped battery-powered LED Christmas lights onto her mountain bike for the rides. “Once you have blinky lights and Hall & Oates playing, you’re definitely in a good vibe.”
Morris said he plans to continue the rides through fall and winter, but the route could shift. He wants to coordinate sunset on Saturdays up to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett as a visual boost for patients and staff.
With cooler weather already settling in, people should bundle up. But they may not see Poischbeg’s lit-up bike much longer.
“I don’t know if I’m going to do it through the winter,” Poischbeg said. ”We’ll be back this Saturday for sure.”