The weather report was looking rather ominous on Saturday March 29th, 2014. It was to be the day of the 'Build Your Own Bike' pub ride hosted by the Sarasota County Off Road Riders. Cyclists were encouraged to scavenge together old klunkers with spare parts in a rusty soup of ingenuity and labor to build the ultimate pub cruiser for under $100.
The angry skies parted ways only minutes before the gathering began. Riders met at the Gazebo in Centennial Park on Venice Island and displayed their patchwork of frankenstein creations. While the weather made for a lower turnout than hoped for, those who did arrive brought the good stuff.
The cruisers ranged from those with outlandish geometry to those that were almost painful to observe. There was a bike painted with chalk in which people were encouraged to write their names on the dusty frame. One cruiser was so caked in rust that you needed a tetanus shot just for looking at it. One rode seated straight up reaching for handle bars set higher than a person's shoulders while another leaned so far forward the rider labored to keep the beast from tipping over.
After everyone had signed in and displayed their builds, the group set off for the first leg of the ride. Awkward balancing acts ensued as knees hit handlebars and shoes hit the pavement. Some of these contraptions didn't have brakes. It was one thing to shape such unique vehicles but it was another entirely to actually pedal them.
On the opening leg of the ride, one P.O.S immediately stood out. Thomas Obermeyer had put together a delicate pink contraption with a wooden seat and airless tires. It rumbled down the road sounding like a truck with two flats attracting the full attention of onlookers. Barely a quarter mile had passed before it started falling apart.
At first it was merely the box top that kept sliding out of place. This was a rear compartment where Tom stored his most important of repair items - a full roll of duct tape. After fixing the box, he rode on only to have part of the front tire brake loose. No problem - add more duct tape. This became a recurring and ever more hilarious theme throughout the night. Tom would ride, loud and proud and then something would suddenly snap. He'd add more duct tape and continue on.
The night became a whirlwind of neon lights, tasty brews, wobbly bikes and laughter so whimsical your cheeks start to hurt from all the smiling. They visited Pineapples bar, the Daiquiri Deck, The Brew House and then finished up at the Tap & Cork. Along the way riders were given yellow zip ties which they attached to the bike they thought deserved to win the prize for best pub cruiser.
At night's end the winners were announced. The prize for "Girliest" bike went to Terri Brashear for her Spring Fling cruiser covered in flowers and decorative butterflies. The "Rustiest" prize went to Janice for her chainless klunker. The Biggest P.O.S. and Cheapest build prizes as well as the Overall prize went to Thomas Obermeyer. He was handed a huge, hand carved drinking stein and the one hundred dollar prize.
Money raised from the event went to SCORR's ongoing commitment to trail building in south Sarasota County. Cameras were on hand to capture the creativity of the bikes and the fun of the evening.
As a special bonus we kept the cameras rolling and were able to put together the following music video. If you have ever wondered what a pub ride looks like, here is your chance to see. Enjoy!