Denver Broncos | News

Karlis, Hancock join Orange Night Ride

See the best shots of Broncos fans riding their bikes to Thursday night's game against the Chargers as part of the Orange Night Ride.

DENVER -- The goal may have been to go green, but the only color to be seen was orange.

Several hundred fans broke out their most Bronco-centric costumes and bicycles for the first Orange Night Ride, a group ride from the Denver City and County Building to Sports Authority Field at Mile High before Thursday night's game against the Chargers.

The Broncos' former barefoot kicker, Rich Karlis, and Denver mayor Michael Hancock joined Broncos superfans and Miles the Mascot for the trek before delivering the game ball by riding their bikes onto the field.

"It's nice to have a day to ride that has the Broncos in mind," said Rocky the Leprechaun, a Broncos superfan of 35 years, in an Irish accent. Rocky rode on top of a firetruck that brought up the rear of the group so he could pump up fans with his trademark cheers.

It was the fifth year in a row that the bike ride has has taken place, but Thursday was the first time it was done for a night game. Fans who didn't have tickets to the game tailgated at the stadium after the ride's first leg before continuing on to the Tavern Downtown to watch the game. Those that stayed for the game were able to use the Broncos' new bike valet system, which debuted in Week 1 of the regular season.

"We're just trying to be more bike-friendly, more green, so this is kind of one of those initiatives," said Brad Evans, who has helped organize the event since it began five years ago. "Now the stadium's gone all out with the bike valet this year, so this is just kind of another level of that."

Evans said one of his favorite memories of the event happened the first year, when it ran from Cherry Creek over to the stadium. Another organizer of the event took a car over to the stadium as the ride was going on and showed up 45 minutes later after being stuck in traffic.

"That was always the cool pivot point," Evans said. "Everybody's used to driving to (the game) or bussing to it. How do you get them to change their minds about getting to someplace and this is kind of the way. It's fun and then you don't have to pay for parking."

For Karlis, a participant in four of the five years, the event reflects the fans' enthusiasm for being green as much as for the Broncos.

"This has become a tradition for me," he said. "It's always very entertaining. You see quite a diverse group of people riding their bikes to the stadium and a lot of creativity in the bikes they've created. I just think it's great. I think it's a sign of how much enthusiasm there is in our community for the Broncos and how deep those passions run."

"Since I've been in Colorado I've really seen a lot of growth in trying to improve the green side of things. It's a lot of positives that I think have really made Denver kind of iconic in that space."

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