Can I hear you say BIKE PARTY!?!
While we were away from the Bay Area a beautiful thing happened. That thing was the lovely, dorky, all-out-fun celebration of cycling for cycling’s sake. It was the emergence of the Bike Party.
Critical Mass was born in San Francisco and has spread to the world as a political statement to show the cyclist’s right to the road. Agree or disagree with the Critical Mass movement, it is hard to deny that it has been instrumental in the development of urban cycling as we know it today.
Now we have come far enough to have a new chapter, one that is overtly friendly, respectful and offers a safe and welcoming place for people to enjoy cycling around their city. Bike Party started in San Jose and has sprung up as a monthly ride in San Francisco and the East Bay as well. The routes are planned and publicized in advance and riders are encouraged to stop at red lights and to avoid taking up more than one lane of traffic.
Perhaps the most important element of the Bike Party is the celebratory shouting of “Bike Party!” at every red light, every turn and every opportunity. The pedestrians and drivers even join in! It’s infectious.
To top it off the organizers plan monthly costume themes and designated party stops where folks can dance and socialize. Kyle and I rode in our first Bike Party a few weeks ago in the East Bay. The theme was rockstar and you had better believe the bike sound systems were pumping out undeniably awesome rock star anthems.
It was an excellent way to spend Friday evening riding and chatting with friends. It is often in these huge group rides that you discover new places of your own city and realize how bikeable even seemingly long urban distances can be.
On our ride we headed out to Alameda for a bay-side party. The weather was chilly but the company and the dancing kept everyone energized and just overwhelmingly positive.
It appears that Bike Party is still a Bay Area only event, but my sense is that we will soon see Bike Parties springing up in other areas as well.
In the meantime you can join the fun in San Francisco on the first Friday of the month, the East Bay on the second Friday and San Jose on the third Friday. With Critical Mass always on the last Friday that gives you a whole month of group rides to check out!