Holiday Lights bike tour Tuesday

When all the presents are opened and the holiday dinner shared, there is one last Christmas tradition still to take place in Marietta.

For the 22nd year, the Holiday Lights Bike Tour will take place the day after Christmas, allowing participants to get a little fresh air and exercise–and one more chance to enjoy all the holiday lights around the city.

“With the bikes at a little slower pace, you get a chance to see everything,” said Hallie Taylor, who will be leading the tour this year. “We do a circuit around town.”

The entire ride is more than eight miles but cyclists are never more than a mile and a half from the starting point, said Roger Kalter, a longtime organizer of the event. People who don’t ride at all can even enjoy part of the festivities, he said.

“One of the things that’s developed over the last couple of years is that a number of people hang out the church fellowship hall during the ride,” he said. “They have hot drinks, homemade cookies and get a chance to talk.”

Fo those pumping the pedals, the hot chocolate and snacks will be available after the ride, which departs at 7 p.m. from the First Unitarian Church at Third and Putnam streets. The course includes part of the River Trail, as well as streets from Front to Sixth, excluding Third Street, which is a state route.

A registration form is required so participants are asked to arrive a few minutes early. Other requirements are headlights and tail lights for each bike and a helmet, said Taylor.

Many people go way above and beyond those simple measures, she said, decorating their bicycles with a holiday theme.

“We’re seeing more and more of that every year,” she said. “It really makes it more fun.”

Over the years, participation in the ride has ranged from 15 riders to 145, often depending on the weather. The tour takes place no matter what Mother Nature brings, said Taylor.

“Rain or shine, snow or sleet, some of us will be out there enjoying the lights,” she said.

Kalter advised wearing something warm underneath the helmet and remembering extra layers for the fingers and toes.

“Even the ones when we’ve had the most hellacious weather, if you listen to the people riding, they’re just laughing and talking,” he said. “It’s a great time to get people together.”

If you go

¯ What: Holiday Lights Bike Tour.

¯ When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

¯ Where: Departs from First Unitarian Church, Third and Putnam streets.

¯ Cost: Free.

¯ Who: Open to the public, organized by Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club and Marietta Adventure Company.