Posted by marilynch
Deck the Bike with Boughs of Holly
RAIN CANCELS [and it did for 2012]: Sunday, December 23, 2012, 13th Annual Critical Christmas Monterey, organized by Jim Wrona. Details below.
Also note that for the December event of Salinas Bike Party, a courteous social bike run, many riders from the Salinas vicinity plan to head over together to participate in Critical Christmas Monterey. (For a holiday ride in Salinas, SBP had participated in the 11/25/12 “Holiday Parade of Lights” –as evidenced by the precious little girls in opening scenes of that Salinas Californian video clip. The girls were waiting to watch their papa, a Salinas Bike Party rider.)
Critical Christmas Monterey
Review CA bike laws, prep your lights, and meet up with new and old friends!
Monterey County Weekly has proclaimed this event a hot pick. Keeping it fun since 1989, event organizer James Wrona welcomes everyone to participate in this annual holiday celebration.
Cali bike laws and personal safety:
- Organizer Jim Wrona reminds participants that there is no pressure on an individual cyclist/family to venture beyond the Custom House Plaza and bike/multi-use path. Some bikers, especially those with children pedaling their own wheels, may prefer to drop out when other bicyclists ride the streets.
- In the same vein, be aware that biking is not officially allowed on Old Fisherman’s Wharf/Wharf I. (It’s easy to miss that “no biking” sign, above eye-level, at top of Wharf I.) However, since the ride is at night (when there are usually very few pedestrians, as compared to daylight), some bicyclists may choose to include Wharf I in their Critical Christmas riding. If so, and if you prefer to stick with the posted signage about no biking on Wharf I, wait at the top of Wharf I to rejoin the group. (And if you’re curious, yes, biking is allowed on both Wharf II and the Coast Guard pier.)
- “Same roads, same rules, same rights.” Unless you are part of a calvacade/procession that is formally excused (by the presence of a directing police officer) from obeying traffic lights and stop signs, California traffic laws apply. Refer to one or more of the following to prepare for this ride:
- CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety Tips on this site.
- State of California Rules of the Road: Operation of Bicycles
- Download Spanish and English summary of California bicycle laws here: Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary
Charge up your bike headlamp. If you don’t own one, see “Biking in the Dark” for tips on purchasing one locally or rigging up a low-cost option. A rear light is not required by CA law but is recommended for safety. Rear reflector and other reflectors are required by CA law; for specifics, see Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary.
For info on decorating your bike, see below, and contact Jim Wrona with questions. Of course, avoid decorations that could get caught in spokes or otherwise cause an accident.
Critical Christmas Monterey – Gather at 5:30 PM, ride 6:00 PM to approx 7:30.
Rain cancels event.
Start and Finish at Custom House Plaza, Monterey
Which plaza is that? Click here.
Photo contributed by Jan Valencia, Velo Club Monterey’s Answer Man
Press release below provided by Jim Wrona, event organizer
Critical Christmas is very loosely patterned after, and an amalgam of Critical Mass plus that goofy event they do in Ukiah where truck drivers decorate their 18 wheelers and parade through town. Critical Christmas is intended to get adults and kids out for a leisurely, fun, and goofy bicycle ride, although not necessarily in that order.
One goal of Critical Christmas is to ride either the worst bicycle you can get your hands on, or a classic bicycle (Schwinn StingRay’s are highest on the pecking order), decorate it with as much Christmas stuff (also known in popular culture as “bling”) as you can duct tape in place, and ride and sing your way through Monterey. The Critical Christmas motto is “More of Everything,” which pretty much sums how much wattage you should be considering when buying those battery powered LEDs. This is, after all, Critical Christmas, where it’s not the bicycle but the decorations taped to the bicycle that really count (caveat: anyone sporting a racing bicycle will be made fun of relentlessly).
The event starts Custom House Plaza at 5:30 PM for the ceremonial decorating of the bicycles (bring lots of tape and batteries, please). We will roll at 6:00 PM out in some random direction. The only known along the route are hot laps in both directions around the Custom House Plaza
fountain. We usually finish riding in less than an hour.
Dress for the weather. Rain cancels. Food and libations follow at a local establishment [Dutch treat]. Critical Christmas is free, however complimentary pints of post-ride beer will be graciously accepted by the organizer, Jim Wrona.
Call Jim Wrona at (831) 633-1819 with any questions.
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Here’s a little history…
The Monterey County Herald’s 2011 story (12/19/11) by Kevin Howe, “Light on Wheels: Cyclists maintain unofficial bike parade tradition.” (Update from organizer Jim Wrona: A total of about 75 participants turned out for Critical Christmas 2011, Jim’s count taken on the return trip from Cannery Row.)
As Howe’s story noted, Girl Scouts [of the Central Coast/Northern Region] were represented by at least one troop leader and a cadette. Curious to learn more about Critical Christmas 2011 participants? Read 13-year-old Rebecca and 11-year-old Justine Warwick’s story, “Campfires and flat tires: The Warwick sisters on keeping up with Dad.”
Two days after Critical Christmas 2011, Salinas High Cowboy Racing’s Jim Warwick–coach of the first organized public high school mountain biking team in Monterey County–and his daughters returned to the same spot to share with friends the pleasures of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and other bikeways by daylight. Below they are at the Custom House Plaza on the morning of December 20–a bright, beautiful morning and early afternoon that brought out a lot of cyclists; click here for a gallery of other 12/20 cyclists!
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This post has been updated from the 2010 and 2011 editions.