The what club? Yes, the name will make you pause. Who would call themselves that and what kind of people are they? It turns out the Fucking Bike Club, or FBC for short, is not a rebellious group of antisocial youths intent on destruction. Rather it’s a social event attended by people from a wide variety of backgrounds who share a joy of cycling as well as each other’s company. Every night of the full moon this informal group of cycling enthusiasts meet, have a drink and hang out, go for a ride, have another drink and hang out some more. Unlike Hash House Harriers, the self-professed drinkers with a running problem, the FBC is completely informal and doesn’t emphasize drinking or serious cycling. The rides are easy. There are no dues, no board members, no by-laws and essentially only two membership rules: participate in one of the rides and don’t be an—uh…don’t be all stupid or mean.
The FBC got its start in St Louis, Missouri, where they recently held their 40th Full Moon Fiasco. Jeff, one of their members, moved to Spokane last year and the second chapter of the FBC was born. The only advertisement for the rides was his posts on the FBC web site. Consequently the first few rides were attended by only Jeff and his wife. Then another cyclist noticed the site and word began to spread. Four people showed up in November and eight braved the slushy roads two nights before Christmas. Warmer days and later sunsets convinced twenty-five riders to meet at Bennidito’s in June. In July, thirty-two members celebrated the FBC’s first birthday with a ride from The Swamp to the Maxwell House. Jeff seems to be as happy with two as he is with thirty-two, but he was thrilled with the turnout.
The typical ride begins by meeting at a designated location around 8:00 pm. Everyone has an hour to meet people, have a drink, or just hang out. Drinking is not required—remember there are only two rules—nor are you required to memorize everyone’s name or talk about frame geometry and gear ratios. You are free to show off your fixie, share the instructions for your homemade fenders, or answer questions about your one-of-a-kind winged helmet cover if you like. Normally you hear lots of chatter and see lots of smiles among the helmets, messenger bags, and beer glasses. Jeff designs and makes a unique spoke card for every ride. Be warned, the Full Moon Fiasco cards are highly coveted. Sometimes Jeff runs out because he never knows how many people are going to show.
The bikes overwhelming the bike rack—hopefully there is a bike rack—and leaning against walls and street signs vary as much as the members. You’ll find an old Huffy just as easily as you will a track bike among the single speed cruisers, high-end racers, mountain bikes, and road bikes. Around 9:00 pm the group saddles up and a swarm of white headlights and flashing red taillights hit the road. The Full Moon Fiasco rides are relatively easy and usually go no longer than three or four miles. After all, it’s less about the ride than it is enjoying the company of others.
Why is it called a fiasco? More for alliteration than an expectation of what is to occur. The riders politely travel through Spokane neighborhoods, occasionally cheered on by people out enjoying the cool summer night—not much cheering on the cold winter ones—and they answer with bells and squeaky horns. When they reach their final destination their bicycles once again smother the bike rack, if present, and the light posts and fences. They get another drink and hang out some more. If you go you are free to participate at any level you like. You can skip the ride and meet at the final destination or do the ride and skip the final destination. You can drink beer or water or nothing at all. It doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy the evening.
In addition to the Full Moon Fiasco the FBC occasionally has theme-based rides. In May, forty people rode in attire that varied from the formal to the whacked out for the “Prom Ride—A Night To Try To Remember” with the Baby Bar providing the dance venue for the prom goers. In June, the 2nd Annual “Man Ride”—yes, it was men only—rode out to the Stateline Speedway to watch the 4th of July demolition derby. [The “Man Ride” was actually started by your not-so-humble editor and his buddies last year. It is also known as “The Debauchery Ride” and “The Ride For America.” Jeff attended this year’s ride whilst I sat out with a torn meniscus. FBC has sort of colonized the ride. –Jon Snyder.]
The FBC site states, “Our flagship ride is the Full Moon Fiasco. It happens when you think it does.” So you already know when the next ride is. To find out where the next Full Moon Fiasco is, check their site at http://fbcspokane.blogspot.com three or four days before the moon reaches its full phase. Whether or not you bring a friend along you can count on making some new ones. Show up on time if you want a spoke card. Show up at any time if you just want to enjoy the night.