Local biking enthusiast aims to broaden appeal of group cycling
Cycling — it’s more than exercise; it’s a viable form of transportation and a way to bring the community together. Wes Hanna, the man behind the Williamstown bicycle scene, is a living example of that.
Hanna got his start in the cycling scene roughly seven years ago when he took part in the Philadelphia Full Moon Bike Ride. The interesting part about that particular bike ride is that it’s organized by a Williamstown native.
“It’s organized by a man named Carly Drexler,” Hanna explained. “The ride was about 10 miles [long], we would ride five miles then do some urban-explorer type things.”
Hanna said one of the memorable things about the bike ride was visiting the Graffiti Pier.
“It’s an abandoned pier that has beautiful graffiti art because nobody takes it away. It’s a nice peaceful place in Philadelphia.”
That ride inspired Hanna to take more responsibility within the Full Moon Bike Ride and eventually start his own group called Night Cycle Philadelphia. One of the goals of the new group was to encourage diversity in both the ridership and leadership. He also wanted to break up some of the “boys club” stereotypes that are generally found in cycling culture. Hanna found his group was critical to educating people who were riding for the first time.
“We were showing them routes that are smart to take,” he said. “We took them to interesting and useful places. We were teaching them to ride with traffic and becoming more experienced.”
Recently Hanna has taken his fascination with cycling to a new level, and he’s going to share his love of cycling with the community he loves — Williamstown.
“I live in Williamstown and I thought if I start riding around here there’s no reason why we can’t share some of that knowledge here. We’d have to adapt it because riding in the suburbs and a rural area isn’t the same as riding in a city,” he said. “It presents different challenges, but at the end of the day we want to say riding your bike is a clean, safe, fun way to get from here to there.”
So he started the Williamstown Bike Party, an inclusive event where Williamstown’s cyclists can come together and enjoy a ride through town.
When Hanna says “inclusive” he means anyone can show up.
“You can ride a tricycle, electric assist bicycle; you can ride whatever you want. If you want to come out, we’ll show you a good time on some neighborhood roads,” he said. “You can be the roadie [someone decked out in gear], a mountain biker, you can be the BMX biker, you can be the person who just bought a cruiser from Wal-Mart yesterday. If you come out to Bike Party you’ll have a good time.”
The Bike Party, which will take place on July 28, is a 10-mile ride through Williamstown. It will start at the intersection of Main Street and Blue Bell Road and loop back to the start. Riders will see scenic fields, the bike trail and even a dragon sculpture. Hanna said the goal of the ride is to have a good time and stressed that it is not a race.
“I want to take cyclists as they come,” he said. “What I mean by that is sometimes you have roadies, sometimes you have mountain bikers, but I want to make it clear that if you can ride 10–12 miles per hours you can ride with us. You don’t have to have a fancy bike or gear, I don’t have either. You just have to have a desire and will to do it”
For more information about how to get involved with the Williamstown bike scene, follow the Facebook pages “Williamstown Bike Party” and “Cycle Scene NJ.” Hanna is also active on the Williamstown/ Monroe Township Facebook page.