Bike Party

bike_party_2010_april by billmo, on Flickr

Friday night, April 16, 2010 San Jose Bike Party hit the El Camino Real, bringing their two-wheeled high jinks to Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Stanford. Bike Party is a volunteer group that organizes monthly bike rides through the streets of the South Bay, attracting hundreds of riders. In contrast to the edgier and more confrontational Critical Mass, Bike Party seems to be a more festive and light-hearted event, but still a serious ride. Friday’s route was 27.57 miles long.

bikeparty  191I first heard of Bike Party last year when they rode past my house in the middle of the night. I was asleep in bed when I was awakened by a couple neighborhood dogs barking their heads off. I could hear voices and strange mechanical noises coming from outside in the street. That’s not so unusual; it’s a busy street and occasionally we’ll have boisterous pedestrians or vehicles going by. But this time the noises didn’t stop and the dogs kept on barking so I went to the window to see what was going on and slipped into the Twilight Zone. There were bicycles rolling down the street. Wave after wave of bicycles. Dozens of them. There were mountain bikes, road bikes, stunt bikes and beaters, riders in costumes, hipster types, and nerds in reflective vests. I thought I was dreaming. I went outside in my pajamas and found a couple teens from the neighborhood already standing on the curb, watching the spectacle. They’re the ones who told me it was Bike Party, being much hipper than I.

When I learned Bike Party’s route this Friday included a big chunk of El Camino, of course I wanted to go see the fun and maybe take some pictures. However we went to the anniversary celebration at Calvin’s and I stayed too late enjoying the festivities so by the time I got up to Palo Alto the ride was pretty much over. I saw a few isolated stragglers but hardly enough to constitute a party. I stopped to chat with two riders fixing a flat tire who told me they estimated there were a thousand riders out. I asked how the ride on El Camino was and they replied, “too many cars.” Fair enough.

I reflected on how tragically unhip I am. I drove my car to try to get a look at a celebration of bikes, and missed the whole thing. Ironic and sad. I drove over to the ride’s end at Sunnyvale Town Center and strolled up and down South Murphy Avenue to see if I could spot any riders enjoying a post-ride beverage at the many nighttime watering holes there, but all I saw was this well-populated rack. As it so happened several bars had the Sharks’ hockey playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche at HP Pavilion on their TVs, and as I was walking back to my car I heard the whole street erupt in cheers as Devin Setoguchi scored the game-winning goal in overtime to even the series 1-1, thrilling the home crowd. Friday night on El Camino the good times just rolled.

3 Responses to “Bike Party”

  1. BikerBill says:

    You were in Sunnyvale way too early if you were there when the Sharks won. I listended to the game on my bike radio and we (Bike Party) were still on the Standford campus in a “regroup” when Setoguchi scored. We didn’t leave that regroup for another 30 to 40 minutes.

    Maybe when you were in Palo Alto you were there after we went through the first time (on the way to the campus part of the ride) but before we came through the 2nd time (return leg).

  2. Bill says:

    Haha, yes that’s exactly what must have happened. I drove north on El Camino expecting I would see riders coming south. When I didn’t see any I assumed I had missed it and tried to catch you in Sunnyvale. Turns out you were all hiding at the regroup. I would have seen you if I had driven farther into Palo Alto, but I turned around at Oregon Expressway. The stragglers I saw weren’t heading to Sunnyvale, they were heading to Stanford! Like I said, ironic and sad. 🙂 I was baffled how the ride had finished that quickly, and I had assumed it was too big to miss so if I didn’t see it, it wasn’t there. Thanks for clearing it up.

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