If you head to the Hoboken Coffee Roasters parking lot at around 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays, you’ll be met by the sound of classic rock music playing from car speakers. You’ll also be met with over a dozen colorful characters tuning up their bicycles, and even a baby doll that goes by the name of Vanessa.
Daphne Summers found Vanessa on the side of the road during one of the group’s routes a year ago. She’s kind of a big deal.
“She’s a mainstay,” fellow rider Burk Cornelius said. “We rescued her from the side of the road.”
Cornelius teased about how Vanessa has become one of the most important parts of every ride.
“There have been rides where Vanessa fell out, and we had to turn around and go back five miles to get her,” Cornelius said. “We wouldn’t even do that for her (Summers)!”
Vanessa has clearly seen better days, but now she spends most of her time sitting in a basket on the front of Summers’ bike. Summers bestowed the name Vanessa, but other than that, the doll is still exactly how she was the day she was found. She dons a tie-dye bandana and guides the way for the group.
“I found her and then just started riding with her,” Summers said. “Really, it’s kind of just about not taking this so seriously and it’s supposed to be fun, right?”
Last Thursday, 17 people came to Guthrie Bike Night to go on a 17-mile trek around Guthrie. The group takes off around 6:30, but most get there early to socialize.
The group is three years old, and people from all over the region travel to Guthrie to meet up and bike around the town.
Summers has been making the drive from Norman to come to the meets for a year.
“It’s just a super fun group of people,” Summers said. “Great roads, great people, what more could you ask for?”
The group was founded jointly by Dave Power, Josh McCullock, Trey Woods, Travis Foote and Guthrie Tourism Director Justin Fortney. Fortney said the routes are usually between 14 and 17 miles.
“For the last couple of years, we’ve had one kind of main loop that we’ve done, but a few weeks ago, the county commissioners were fixing a bridge out there,” Fortney said. “I haven’t figured out whether they’re done with that yet or not.”
As the winter months come along, the start times will vary based on daylight. As it gets darker earlier, the meets will leave earlier as well.
“Eventually, people won’t be able to get here in time from work, so it’ll fizzle out for the winter months,” Fortney said. “During that time, a lot of us will get together Saturday mornings for morning and weekend rides.”
The group has a Facebook page, but most updates are shared through a group chat.
“Our more widely used platform is a GroupMe chat,” Fortney said. “It gets a lot of nonsense.”
Fortney said anyone who wants to join does not need to have a particular kind of bicycle or setup, but that off-road bikes will serve them well. All people who want to join have to do is show up.