Burning Man Meets Bike Fair at 24 Hours of Riverside

Nothing welcomes in the cycling season like riding your bike for 24 hours in an event that is something like Burning Man meets Bike Fair (replacing the illicit drugs of the former with the electrolyte mixtures of the latter). For the long Memorial Weekend, Riverside State Park turns into a veritable village of cyclists and their support crews, pop-up pavilions, bells and whistles, hoots and hollers, and hopefully a few taco trucks, as participants pedal their way around a 15-ish-mile lap from noon to noon.  

While many ride in teams, there are those courageous souls who solo this ride, and those who ride fat bikes and fixies and every other category of insanity available (though I don’t believe I’ve seen a unicycle out there yet).

24 Hours of Riverside

The course is a mix of single track and gravel path with a few small rock gardens to keep one spry in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a ridable, fast loop that passes by the camp twice (convenient for motivational bystanders and pitstops), winds through the beautiful floral spring forests of Riverside, and skirts the edge of the river. In other words: It never gets dull, even if one wishes their pain would.

This event feels more like a weekend of riding with friends old and new than a bike race. Family teams are known to be eating pancakes on a sofa on Sunday morning while they wait for their rider to come in. Riding comrades are high-fiving each other as they roll through camp, a burrito in their other fist. And inevitably, someone will have some techno music and coffee available at 3 a.m. for the weary. Which is where you’ll find me, with a vat of vaseline mixed with lidocaine, before hopping back on the bike for another grinning lap. Visit 24hoursofriverside.com to register and learn more.

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