Pac-Man rides
OCC bike shop quintet adds gaming look to Starlight Spectacular event

       “Pac-Man” was on wheels during the Starlight Spectacular bicycle ride June 12.

Four of the five members of the Starlight Spectacular "Pac-Man" bicycle team are shown before costume-pedaling 14 miles in the event, which started from the Garden of the Gods at 11:59 p.m. June 12 with 1,287 riders in all.
Courtesy of Debra Hoke

       Five employees of Old Colorado City's CS West bicyele shop decided to enter the wee-hours non-racing event as a group, in hopes of winning its costume contest. The original plan was to go as Mario Brothers characters, but that proved too expensive, explained Theron Tate, one of the five. Then they had the bright idea of using excess cardboard in the back of the store to make themselves into the simple but recognizable characters of one of the earliest video games.
       Matthew Hoke was Pac-Man, being “chased” by his game nemeses, Pinky (John Howland), Inky (Ben Niell), Blinky (Rob Klausch) and Clyde (Tate).
       They just had to be careful to design the costumes so that their bikes carried the weight instead of themselves along the 14-mile route to and from the Garden of the Gods. “We knew it was a long ride,” Tate said. “But it all went pretty well.”
       In fact, considering that they didn't finalize the costumes (spray-painted with liberal use of duct tape) until they got to the parking lot the night of the Spectacular, the riders were surprised at how fast they were. “It was pretty funny, passing people on the uphills, even on the downhills,” Tate said. “We didn't think we would because we weren't aerodynamic, but we were flying.”
       Unfortunately, they failed to win the costume event, in which a donated cruiser bike went to the winner. But this disappointment was soothed when the game- impersonators decided to detour slightly from the ride's course through the downtown around 1:30 a.m. At the time, the bars were closing and patrons were spilling onto Tejon Street. The CS West riders entertained them by enacting a Pac-Man game chase scene along Tejon. “People were cheering and yelling,” Tate recalled. “It made us feel better.”
       The Starlight Spectacular itself was successful although wet weather prevented the numbers from exceeding last year's, according to its sponsor, the Trails and Open Space Coalition. The total number of participants was 1,287, the Coalition website states.

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