Glow’d up How Hamilton Glowriders have kept shining for the past seven years

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You may have noticed the parade of glowing cyclists around Hamilton during the summer months and wondered what exactly was going on.

Glowriders is a friendly, group bicycle ride around Hamilton that sees both bikes and riders decked out in glowing lights. Originally launched in 2012 by Tyler Roach and a group of friends, these monthly rides are open to anyone of any cycling ability. 

The project began as a relaxed cycling event to promote good cycling in the city and to show the public that cycling can be fun. Since then, the project has grown to nearly 120 participants each ride, fostering a sense of community for cyclists and building a harmonious relationship between cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. 

Roach is expecting this season to have the biggest turnout yet. 

“We started with about a dozen people and every year we’ve kinda doubled in size,” said Roach. “This year we’re expecting two to three hundred people at every ride. Now we have music, people with huge sound systems, families, tandem bikes, unicycles and the whole spectrum of cyclists and those who want to participate.”

Every month, glowing cyclists gather in Durand Park until it gets dark. Once the sun sets, the group makes their way on an extensive bike tour through the city’s best cycling spots, including Victoria Park, Locke Street, the Princess Point trail and James Street North. The ride ends at Augusta Street for a celebratory refreshment.

As the rides began growing in size, Roach became weary of the logistics behind organizing a hundred-person bike ride. However, citing Toronto’s annual Bike Rave, which sees nearly 700 participants every year, and mentioning that interactions with Hamilton Police have been positive, Roach and his team have been able to keep shining for nearly seven years. 

“I was hesitant to let it get this big because I was worried about how we were going to manage having hundreds of cyclists on the street,” said Roach. “We kind of let it grow organically and slow to start, and eventually we kind of realized that this is manageable, we can do this.” 

Roach and the Glowriders team launched the 2018 season on May 26, and are expecting to keep growing over the next few rides. As for what’s next, Roach is hoping to continue passing along good cycling vibes, in addition to building this glowing community. 

“It’s really hard to say what’s going to happen with how it’s growing,” said Roach. “If we’re going to get to the point where we have too many people, it might get challenging being on city streets but I’d like to let it keep growing and keep fostering a community.” 

The next Glowride takes place on June 23, following a monthly schedule until their final ride on September 22.

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Author: Emily O'Rourke

Emily is a recent Communication Studies grad. Now you can find her in the big seat as Editor-in-Chief. She mostly talks about PR, meme culture, coffee and dogs. Emily was also voted biggest klutz in her high school's graduating class, FYI.