Cyclists at any skill level come together on Thursday nights At 9:00 o’clock PM on 900 South and 900 East. This cycling event is called the 999 Ride and is the largest weekly cycling event in Salt Lake City.
The first moments of tightly gripping the handlebars, feeling a little wobbly, gliding over the concrete with the wind pressing against your cheeks were the moments that gave you the precious capability of riding a bicycle.
Cycling may now be your passion, transportation, hobby, and or sport that has a large impact on your life. Why not socialize and enjoy a ride throughout Downtown Salt Lake City?
At Utah Bicycle Lawyers, we are avid cyclists ourselves and we couldn’t resist checking out this 999 Ride.
As the sun was setting, cyclists rode in from all different directions to 9th South and 9th East. The magic happening sparked an interest for us.
How the 999 Ride came to be?
In 2011 founder Naresh Kumar took inspiration from an Outdoor Retailers event for both the attendees and general public to get out on a bicycle and enjoy Salt Lake City. Naresh saw the request for someone to lead the ride, so he planned a route and showed the attendees a good time.
Naresh liked the idea of a regular ride, so he told his buddy Skylar Hoellein Although it was only the two of them for the first couple of rides, Skylar decided to call it “Evenings in the City with Naresh”.
After a couple of weeks of promoting they changed the name to the 999 Ride so people would remember the ride started at 9pm at 9th South and 9th East. Enough people began to say “happy Thursday!” throughout the ride so it would be hard to forget that the ride occurs on Thursdays.
There were several nights where it was only Naresh and or Skylar. Eventually the word spread and the ride grew, but the intent never changed. Naresh quotes, “the basic idea of the ride is for anybody of any riding level and with any kind of bicycle to come out, ride with others, get to know people, and just have a nice night.”
Naresh doesn’t ride on the 999 very often anymore, but feels as if, “over the years, different people have pulled the ride in different directions, and that’s okay. It is an organic thing”.
In our time talking he explained, “in 2013, I left Utah to work for a year in Uganda. In 2014, I spent a few months in India before heading to Hawaii and Alaska and then back to Utah to drive my car up to Minnesota. I worked there for the summer and Baltimore and Philadelphia in the Fall and Winter. It was a long drive from Baltimore back to Utah, where I spent the holidays. Spring of 2015 was spent in Tucson and then Summer back up in Alaska. Fall of 2015, I went to Southeast Asia and I returned to spend the new year in Seattle. I had a few months in Salt Lake City in 2016 before I went to New Jersey for the summer. During that time, I went to one or two 999 nights and saw how much it had changed in my years of absence.”
How has Naresh traveled so extensively? “Save and plan well.” He worked both abroad and in the States under annual or seasonal contracts. In addition he mentioned, ” I am not shy about roughing it a bit, there are ways to stretch your budget while still enjoying your travels.”
Naresh is currently busy with work and spends a lot of time climbing and doing yoga in addition to riding his bike. He does attend other bike events and for the time being is the Bicycle Ambassador Coordinator for the Salt Lake County.
Naresh continues to explain, “a group of riders as large as 999 can be incredibly difficult to manage. While there are no designated leaders of the ride, there are people who assert themselves to make things happen on the ride. Sometimes those personalities clash and sometimes they work really well together. I appreciate the efforts they make to keep 999 alive. As you can probably tell, the spirit of 999 is much bigger than me or even the vision that I had for it when Skylar and I started it.”
“There’s no organization, nobody in charge, nobody owns it or is crazy enough to take responsibility for it. Critical mass style means meet at a place & time prepared for spontaneous chaos, some might call it anarchy. The primary purpose of this page is just to help people find out what that large group of cyclists shouting “HAPPY THURSDAY” was.”- Cole
At Utah Bicycle Lawyers, we take pride in being apart of the cycling community
We hope that you enjoy the wonderful biking culture Salt Lake City has to offer!
Because the 999 Ride is not regulated by anyone and is open to all levels of experience, it is important to be extremely cautious while riding throughout Downtown Salt Lake City, especially at night.
To help you stay safe on the road, we provide a Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook free of charge, that can answer questions you may have about staying safe on the road. In case of an injury that was not your fault, remember your fellow cycling peers at Utah Bicycle Lawyers to represent you in your case.
To contribute to this event, share our article and to stay in the loop check out the Utah Bicycle Lawyers page and 999 Ride facebook page for updates.
Photo credit to author Krissi Karren