A "Light the Night" evening community bike ride will take place at Barker Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec.14. It will be a fun event focused on bike safety education while bringing the community together.
Participants will be provided with glow lights to decorate their bicycles. Volunteers will be on hand to help with this.
"It will be cool to see a big group of bikers light up the park," said Councilmember Alex Garcia.
The event is organized by Garcia and is made possible through generous sponsorships from Kern Family, Good Samaritan Health Center, Bike Bakersfield, Strata Credit Union, Future Farmers of America and private donations.
There is no charge to participate; it is open to all ages and skill levels.
"We want residents to engage with their neighbors and just have a good time," Garcia said.
The City of Wasco will be giving away bike helmets while supplies last. There will be a bike raffle and refreshments like Abuelita Mexican-style hot chocolate provided by LifeHouse Wasco.
Wasco local DJ Bob Fuentes from Forge Radio 103.9 FM will bring the music to get everyone excited.
Garcia said that the event is in collaboration with Mayor Gilberto Reyna, who initiated monthly bike rides.
Garcia hopes to bring people and life back to the parks. "The general theme we hear is that residents want to retake their sense of security," he said.
In addition to sparking community engagement, the focus is to raise awareness around bike safety.
"Teaching them to use lights and practice defensive riding, which means being a courteous commuter and mindful of others on the road, is very important," Garcia said.
He thinks this will support caring for the environment while strengthening one's health and wellness.
"We all know it's a good thing to keep our bodies moving and our minds active. It's a way to improve your mental health and long-term wellness. Through this, we are fighting back those generational diseases we see in our community like high blood pressure and diabetes."
Bike riding has a special place in Mayor Reyna's heart. He is an avid cyclist who sees many benefits of the sport and believes bike safety should be paramount.
"Concern for the safety of our Wasco community prompted me to reach out to Tony Renteria from Bike Bakersfield. I have also collaborated with Chris Serna from the Wasco Recreation and Parks District and Oscar Luna from the Wasco Union Elementary School District," Reyna said.
"My goal is to provide local bikers with basic bike riding skills and road safety education. We had our first educational 'Fun Bike Ride' on November 5, and I'm working with Tony, Chris and Oscar to make this a monthly event.
"I am also looking at how we can improve our bike and walking lanes infrastructure to encourage additional alternative transportation, all while improving the health and safety of our community.
"I really look forward to seeing residents of all ages come out for this fun evening event that will light up the night," Garcia said.