If you’d like something a little adventurous and very out of the ordinary for Father’s Day, pack up Dad and your bikes and head for Windward Plaza Park on the Venice Beach Boardwalk to join the Captain — Marcus Gladney — and hundreds of other wheeled folk who ride in the dazzling Venice Electric Light Parade every Sunday at sunset.
Participation is free, but if you’d like to add a few strands of LEDs to your bike to blend in, get to the boardwalk early and seek out Sebastian “The Light Man” Butler, who sells strings of lights for about $40 and helps add them to your bike. His motto? “Get lit or get hit.”
These days, people start gathering about 7 p.m. and the ride starts as the sun goes down — about 8 p.m. — and Gladney cranks up the throbbing lights and music on his giant beach bike, Big Red. The route takes you west to the Santa Monica Pier, then back up along Abbot Kinney Boulevard and other streets in Venice, finishing at the end of West Washington Boulevard in Marina del Rey, about a half-mile from where it all began. If you don’t want to transport bikes, Gladney rents light-bedecked bikes for $99 a night (reserve ahead of time online). The rental includes a special Venice Electric Light Parade keepsake T-shirt. Plan at least three hours for the ride, and, if you rent from Gladney, expect to ride to and from the storage area where he keeps his bikes, about three miles from the boardwalk. — Jeanette Marantos
📍: Windward Plaza, 1 Windward Ave., Venice
⏰: Every Sunday at sunset (which, on Father’s Day, will be at 8:08 p.m.), except during heavy rains
💰: Free, unless you rent a bike for $99