Cruising is a social activity that primarily consists of driving a car. Cruising can be an expression of the freedom of possessing a driver's license. Cruising is distinguished from regular driving by the social and recreational nature of the activity, which is characterized by an impulsively random, often aimless course. A popular route (or "strip") is often the focus of cruising. "Cruise nights" are evenings during which cars drive slowly, bumper-to-bumper, through small towns. Another common form is a "Booze Cruise" this is where a group of people go out 'cruising' and drinking.
In the United States
One of the oldest cruising strips is located on Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Cruising on this strip became a popular pastime with the lowriding community during the 1940s before spreading to surrounding neighborhoods in the 1950s. Van Nuys Boulevard in the central San Fernando Valley has been a popular cruising strip since the 1950s-1960s; the 1979 film Van Nuys Blvd. depicted the cruising culture on the strip. Perhaps the most famous cruising strip (or main drag), however, is McHenry Avenue in Modesto, California. The cruising culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s was depicted in the film American Graffiti. The film was set (but not actually filmed) in director George Lucas's home town of Modesto, which also hosts an annual "Graffiti Summer" celebration in the film's honor.
Cruising in Detroit took place from the 1950s to the 1970s in the city's northern suburbs along M-1 (Woodward Avenue), from Ferndale north to Pontiac. Cruising along Woodward reached its peak in the mid-1960s, with muscle car competitions that were covered by journalists from Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and CBS World News Roundup. The cruising culture on Woodward Avenue faded in the 1970s when new car safety standards and higher gas prices altered American automotive design. Other popular cruising strips in the Detroit area include US 24 (Telegraph Road) from 12 Mile Road in Southfield to Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, and M-3 (Gratiot Avenue) on the East Side. The Woodward Dream Cruise occurs on the third Saturday in August along the original cruising strip in Detroit's northern suburbs. The event is a tribute to the classic Woodward cruisers and attracts approximately 1 million people and 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, and custom, collector, and special interest vehicles.
Cruising in the southwestern Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins, Minnesota was so popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s that people from all over the State of Minnesota traveled there to show off their cars. It became such a phenomenon that a local TV station went there and did a piece for a locally produced news program, Twin Cities Today.
The Dragging the Gut Festival is an event held each year on the fourth weekend of August (August 23–24, 2013) in the historic downtown of McMinnville, Oregon. The festival gives participants the chance to relive the classic 1950s car cruising on the main street that took place for decades in downtown McMinnville. The Dragging the Gut Festival was born out of a Facebook group called "I Dragged the Gut in Downtown McMinnville" which grew rapidly and led to the creation of the festival.
Cruises such as the one on International Drive in Orlando, Florida, from the early 1990s, were broken-up by city ordinance signs that stated what hours drivers could and could not turn around throughout the strip, which kept cruisers from turning around in u-turn areas during specific times at night or cruisers would be ticketed. Cruisers had to go to a light in order to turn around. Many cruisers saw this as a hassle and stopped going. Local businesses enforced the signs, but paid the price in the long run, because cruisers would purchase goods, food and entertainment from many of the shops, attractions and restaurants set up along the drive. Some of the businesses in and around the area have closed down since the ban, due to poor sales afterwards.
UK and Ireland
- Iowahawk (May 5, 2008). "Bajito y Suavecito: Cinco de Mayo Ranfla Especial".[unreliable source?]
- Genat, Robert (2010). Woodward Avenue: Cruising the Legendary Strip. North Branch, MN: CarTech Books. pp. 15, 41, 90, 124–5. ISBN 978-1-932494-91-4.
- Anderson, Elisha (August 22, 2010). "Weather Blamed for Smaller Attendance at Dream Cruise". Detroit Free Press. ISSN 1055-2758. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- "Official Dragging the Gut Festival Website at GutFest.com".
- King, Bonnie (October 11, 2010). "Dragging the Gut Drives Crowds to Relive The Good Ole Days in McMinnville". Salem-News.com.
- Knopp, Dan (October 9, 2010). "Dragging the Gut in McMinnville". PDX Car Culture.
- Klooster, Karl (October 14, 2010). "Retro cruise-in revs up Mac". News-Register (McMinnville, OR).
- "I Dragged the Gut in Downtown McMinnville". Facebook.
- Diedrich, John (June 21, 2006). "Cruising is getting harder to defend" (PDF). Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- "Cruisers' cars may be seized". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Bailey, Mary (April 29, 2004). "Let's get ready to rumble: Cruising in the Motor City". The Detroit News.
- "Cruising Notts". Where I Live: Nottingham (BBC). April 2004.
- Cullotta, Karen Ann (June 29, 2008). "Cruise Night, Without the Car". The New York Times.
- "Guildford's Boy Racing Phenomenon". Inside Out (BBC). September 16, 2002.
- "Legal car cruise event is held". BBC News. April 4, 2004.