Boise Bicycle Project headquarters at 1027 Lusk St. was dark by 7 p.m. Feb. 8, when the Bikin' For Lovin' IV—a night bike ride through downtown Boise ending at 13th Street Pub and Grill—was supposed to begin. From the outside, the only illumination coming from the cavernous interior seemed to be from the lights left on at night to discourage would-be thieves.
But by 7:30 p.m., groups of chatting cyclists had begun to fill the shop's workspace, while silent films played on a screen. By 7:45 p.m., the groups had swelled to a mob. Beer donated by Crooked Fence flowed from a freshly tapped keg and the silent film had been replaced by videos of James Brown performing live circa 1976.
Event organizer Jimmy Hallyburton, wearing a stocking cap and red flannel, summed up the point of the Valentine's Day-themed ride.
"It's for anyone who loves bicycles," he said.
Ascending to the top of a workbench with a megaphone, Hallyburton announced the end of festivities at BBP and the beginning of the night's ride.
"There's no more beer here, anyway," he said before handing the mic off to Marcus Orton, who went over the rules of the road to a crowd of about 80 people.
Outside, riders turned on lights, checked tire pressure and rang bells. One couple had built a bike apparatus under a couch so they could make the ride in comfort.
The route followed Capitol Boulevard, swinging around the statue in front of the Capitol Building onto Jefferson Street, then pedaling up 11th Street, where the whole group filed through the columns at the entrance to the Boise High School track. Everyone took a loop under the stars before making their way to the evening's destination.
At 13th Street Pub and Grill, a room had been reserved for riders hungry after an evening of drinking and riding, and a photo area was set up in the lobby, where Valentines could get their pictures taken with a tandem bicycle.
Wrapping up their evenings with beer and appetizers, the riders then wrestled with the thought of biking home in the cold.