Annual Fiesta Cruiser Ride Takes Over State Street
By Robert Bernstein
The Fiesta Cruiser Bike ride is the biggest and longest running event in Santa Barbara that I had never heard of! An article in the Independent by Casey Kellogg traced it back to Fiesta 1979 and claimed that the ride grew to 1,200 riders by 2012. Back in 2016 I learned about this ride and gave it a try. And this year I was back to try it again.
Here are all my photos and videos!
I have been bicycling since I was six years old and have been president of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition. I do the Thursday Bike Moves rides. Yet, I had no idea about any of this. Although I saw a few people at this Fiesta bike event who I knew, my impression is that mostly this is a whole different crowd!
As in 2016, the police were out to be sure the cyclists obeyed the traffic laws. In 2016 I saw them issuing several tickets along the way. But this year everyone was on their best behavior. The police facilitated the riders in the congested downtown area and I did not see them issue any tickets. The cyclists took care to obey the laws and allowed motorists to pass.
It was a bit of a surprise when the unofficial parade of bicyclists started up State Street a few minutes before the "official" noon start time.
Interestingly, this was the only place that had a collision. A bike trailer hit a cyclist and knocked him down. Some scrapes and bruises, but he was back on the ride.
At 12:38 PM I arrived at Talevi's Wine and Spirits at the corner of Hollister Avenue and Nogal Drive. Back in the late 1980s our business was next door and this was Miratti's Liquor if I remember correctly.
Here is a short video I made of people arriving and then of me wandering among the first arrivals
People kept streaming in for the next half hour of so. They bought drinks and snacks at Talevi's and hung out and mixed and mingled.
The final stretch of the Obern Trail runs alongside Ward Memorial Drive. I stopped to take photos of the riders. And I got this video that ended with a young man doing a wheelie right at me!
My hike leader friend Diane was out for a ride on her recumbent tricycle and was caught by surprise by the crowd!
When we arrived at Goleta Beach fisherman David Bagley had some sockeye salmon for us that his son had just caught up in Alaska. Here he posed with Spencer and Gigi who rode a tandem with a boom box trailer for music.
Around 3PM I headed up to Isla Vista on my way home. I stopped at Sushiya which has good sushi and is run by a friendly family. A couple Kim and Henry from the ride came in as I was finishing up. We ended up talking for another half hour or so as they shared stories of their rides and other adventures. Here they kindly posed with their old mini-tandem Schwinn:
The ride traditionally continued out to the bluffs past the end of Isla Vista. Then over to the "jumps" in the area near Old Family Student Housing near Storke Road and El Colegio Road. But an electronic sign on the path from Goleta Beach to UCSB warned bicyclists not to go out there. A few other riders headed out to Isla Vista. But most seemed happy to hang out at Goleta Beach.
A fun and safe bike ride as a final farewell to Fiesta!