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The second after I volunteered to write this story, I felt a pang of regret, worried that I was perpetrating a crime equivalent to exposing a treasured surf break or a secret backcountry hiking trail. Such sins are doubly perfidious in a town that can seem like it’s overrun by students, tourists,
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The truth of this matter, however,
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Even so,
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To some, I suppose, the Cruiser Run can look like chaos. A few days after Fiesta last year, Police Chief Cam Sanchez told the City Council that the riders "really have no reason but to cause a mess." His conclusion struck me as particularly off, not only because I had been one of those riders. I could think of several reasons people were pedaling their single speed steeds that day: catching up with friends, showing off pimped out cruisers, enjoying another day of fine ass Santa Barbara weather outdoors.

And yet, there was a kernel of truth in the police chief’s description of the event. Part of the thrill of the ride is a lawless, carnival atmosphere where riders can ignore the strictures of their everyday lives and blow off steam, where social divisions collapse and earthly pleasures trump the intellectual. In short, it’s a party on wheels.

Like many a brilliant idea, the Fiesta Cruiser Run was fueled by alcohol and THC. "I was 18 years old when the ride started,
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That first casual ride would soon become a test of hangover endurance. Each year,
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Despite this history, most people will tell you that the ride is "good, clean fun," as does 30 year veteran Sergio Alvarez, who works at Hazard’s Cycles. The atmosphere isn’t exactly the Magic Kingdom, and there is no dearth of beer filled bellies, but there were no arrests or accidents last year. "We’re not looking for trouble," said Alvarez, who is friendly with police because Hazard’s services the department’s bicycles.

Some of the ride’s stalwarts are even venting complaints similar to those of the police. City officials have asked in vain to speak with the event’s leaders, and while no such mythical figures exist the ride is, after all, a tradition Rex Stephens is trying to take on that role. The owner of Santa Barbara Cruisers who hosts the King of the Cruisers show at his Haley Street shop before the ride every year, Stephens is trying to go legit. Realizing that the Cruiser Run "is spiraling out of control," he has made himself a liaison to the police and envisions turning the ride into a "zero tolerance," family friendly, permitted nonprofit fundraiser.

"It’s not about dressing up in sombreros and getting drunk," said Stephens. "It’s about community, involvement, and generations,
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This is America and sadly SB today people. Where the police act as revenue generation agents while ignoring the real crimes and the people who cause us the most harm. Where happy,
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Very few actions symbolize the oppressive police state we now live in better than the SBPD giving tickets to innocent citizens having a fun cruise,
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Nothing is more indicative of the asinine management of this city,
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Nothing could be more symbolic of the lack of leadership and the underlying greed and power hunger that plagues our cities leadership and the police itself than their reaction to this event. Nothing.

While they were "enforcing" meaningless laws,
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