Flashlights adorning handlebars, holiday lights decorating whole bikes and maybe a Christmas decoration or two will be seen on myriad bikes on Thursday when the Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour makes its 18th cycle through Marietta.
Mild days are leading up to the bike tour and Roger Kalter, ride coordinator and founder, said the tour will happen regardless of the weather.
Kalter said riders on the bike tour have seen all kinds of weather, from "quarter-size snow flakes and 20 degrees to clear and 40 degrees," and that the best thing riders can do is be prepared.
"There is no bad weather, just bad clothing," he said. "The secret to a successful ride is dressing in layers."
The bike tour will cover the usual route: Starting at the First Unitarian Universalist Church at the corner of Putnam and Third streets, from Putnam to Fourth Street, Fourth to the River Trail, the length of the trail to Front Street, Front to Greene streets, Greene to Second Street and then to Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets.
Third Street will be avoided because it is a state route.
If you go
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
Where: The First Unitarian Universalist Church, Third and Putnam streets, Marietta.
What to bring: bicycle, helmet and lights.
Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High: 36, Low: 24.
Hot Chocolate and cookies will be served at the church after the ride.
A new addition to this year's bike tour will include riding Phase Three of the River Trail, the newest section.
"There's very little motor vehicle traffic," Kalter said of the route.
Kalter said in addition to riding the new section of the River Trail, another new item will be added to the event: a slideshow of the Natchez Nine.
The Natchez Nine made up a group of cyclists who biked the Natchez Parkway in Tennessee. The slideshow chronicles the trip.
Kalter said the benefits of participating in the event are huge.
"Rather than (gaining weight) on your couch you can get out and exercise," he said. "You can also socialize with the most wonderful people in the world."
Cyclist Ryan Smith, owner of the Marietta Adventure Company, said he's looking forward to the good exercise riding a bike brings.
"It's a good way to burn off all those extra calories you build up during holiday eating," he said. "I've done it for a few years."
Kalter said the event has transitioned: those not wanting to cycle are staying at the church and socializing while the ride is taking place.
While lights are mandatory on the bikes, as simple as flashlights on handlebars, the bike ride has become a time for decorating bikes for Christmas, right down to the Christmas tree lights.
Smith was on the fence about decorating his bike this year for the tour.
"It's always a possibility," Smith said, adding, "I haven't decorated my bike in the past but several people do. Being festive is encouraged."
"Besides taking in all the Christmas lights, anytime you get a bunch of people together on their bikes, it's fun," Smith added.
"We're looking forward to a fabulous ride," Kalter said. "It's a relaxed, fun time...It's just worth seeing the goofballs on bikes with lights."