If you happen to pass through Midway on a Monday evening, don’t be surprised if you encounter a swarm of locals of all ages happily buzzing through this bucolic, pastoral mountain village on their Midway Cruiser.
Welcome to the Monday Midway Cruiser Cruise, a grassroots “slow ride” that began two summers ago with a few invites via text message and resulted in 40 enthusiasts gathering for a casual bike ride by the end of the day.
Midway-based filmmaker Steve Olpin is evasive about the genesis of the Cruiser Cruise but says, “It’s an unorganized ride that was inspired by Boulder, Colorado’s ‘Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride.’ It’s a chance to meet people, have fun and bike a few miles in a non-competitive setting.”
Now in its third season, cyclists meet behind Midway Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Mondays, take a slow-paced bike ride through the community and end up at Fernweh Lifestyle Co. on Main Street. Lola’s Street Kitchen is often there to serve up great après-ride eats and local legend Soda-Pop the Clown occasionally offers free face painting and balloon animals for the kids. On hot summer days, riders take an impromptu dunk in the Provo River.
The group occasionally has themed rides like the “Tweed Run” where participants dressed up in their best British cycling attire — a penny-farthing bike even made an appearance. Other themes include a Bike Prom where you can dust off that old prom dress (if it miraculously still fits), a Swiss-themed ride (because you never outgrow lederhosen) and Soda-Pop is rumored to possibly host a clown ride — a surefire way to traumatize every coulrophobic en route.
Jayne Kepsel, a huge supporter of the Cruiser Cruise, says, “My three-year-old daughter’s birthday was on a Monday last summer, so we gave her the choice to have a party or go on the Monday Midway Cruiser Cruise. She chose the latter!”
The ride’s lack of official ownership has become a running joke but rumor has it that Danny Antonio, a handyman who lives in Midway, allegedly started the ride. As to the group’s sense of humor, Olpin posted to Instagram a picture of Antonio, professing that, “Danny is from Columbia and grew up in the circus. He is an amazing cook, a brilliant bike mechanic and can juggle like a madman.”
Regardless of who started the Monday Midway Cruiser Cruise, one thing is certain: nothing builds community quite like a slow ride through one of Utah’s most idyllic towns, clowns and all.