Last winter some friends and I decided to start a new local ride here in the East Bay (Oakland area). After talking about all the great rides we'd done all over the US, we realized that San Jose Bike Party had it down and we'd try to model our ride after theirs. SJBP isn't just about the bikes and the route. Music and a theme are important too. But the real key is that the party is for everyone, and its easily accessible for novice riders to join. Bike Party brings together the community of riders and non-riders by riding fun and safe, with stops to dance and socialize.
We talked to the leaders of SJBP about how they did it. Their success in rapidly growing to 3000+ riders is the result of a couple key planning steps, both before and during the rides. We've now had our 6th East Bay Bike Party following a lot of their tips. I wouldn't say we're experts yet but that also means every detail is still fresh in our minds. Lets get to it!
This article first appeared in Momentum magazine issue 47
Step 1: How We Ride
- Stay in the right lane (avoid blocking traffic when possible)
- Leave nothing and nobody behind
- Stop at red lights
- Right predictably and in control
- Roll past conflict
- Tell people its a Bike Party
- Communicate the rules to other riders
- Building community through bicycling.