I had other plans tonight but had about an hour free so I hit the start of tonight’s San Jose Bike Party.
Of the 50 photos I uploaded tonight, I think this one of the little boy with his dad is my favorite.
We didn’t just take the lane on El Camino Real – Bike Party took over all three lanes of southbound ECR in Santa Clara. A couple of BIRDs (Bicycle Information Resource Director) tried vainly to heard Bike Party out of the left lane and leave it open so faster vehicles (e.g. cars and buses) could safely pass. There seemed to be a number of newcomers to the ride who didn’t know (or didn’t care) to stay to the right to let other vehicles pass. One of the aims of Bike Party is to foster some cooperation on the road, and, well, there were several people who didn’t do a good job of that. The cyclists I saw did do a pretty good job of stopping at red lights, more or less.
The crowd seemed a little less rowdy than the June “Hoolgians” ride. I smelled only a little herbal essence, and there seemed to be more families with small children on this ride. The atmosphere was downright relaxed, and it was very nice that we had so many lanes to spread out at the ride start.
One downside: Bike Party disrupted the funeral mass of Father Paul “Papa Loc” Locatelli at the Santa Clara University chapel. Locatelli was Chancellor of the Jesuit school and passed away from pancreatic cancer last Monday. It didn’t help that some twit with a semi truck kept randomly blasting his horn at the bike party. Bike Party organizers were notified of the funeral just a couple of hours before the Bike Party start. Some of the guys towing the big audio systems kept their volume down until we got out to ECR.
The Jesuit priest and educator was known as a crusader for social justice. When his friends in high places (and he had many, including current CIA director Leon Panetta) complained of his incessant reminders of their obligations to help their fellow man, Locatelli’s response was always, “Tough.” He sounds like he was a pretty cool dude, even if he did advocate to extend BART to the South Bay.
The thing I like about Bike Party is the diversity of the participants — BMX kids; a few people who fit the ‘avid cyclist’ label; the fixed gear riders in their skater pants; Latinos with their chopper bicycles; and safety nerds with their flags, helmets and vests. The vast majority of bike party riders, though, are just people with cheap bikes — the kind of folks that a lot of us bike snobs might mock as unwashed newbies, but the Bike Party organizers have done a tremendous job encouraging all kinds of normal people to come out and go on crazy bike rides in the suburbs of Silicon Valley. I see a good cross section of the South Bay at Bike Party – Caucasians, African Americans, Latinos, and East Asians of all ages show up in large numbers at Bike Party, with a good gender mix as well. The only demographic I haven’t really seen are South Asians, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern — there are large numbers of all of these groups in Silicon Valley, but they seem under-represented at Bike Party.
A shout out to Dan Goldwater (MIT Media Lab genius, co-founder of Instructables, proprietor of MonkeyLectric bike lights, bike audio columnist for Momentum Magazine, and all around bike nerd) who joined Bike Party representing the East Bay Bike Party. I tried to get his photo but then I was distracted by the dude with the bagpipes.
Hello also to Greg McPheeter of Santa Cruz, who brought his couch trailer to San Jose Bike Party for the first time. Greets as well to long time Bike Party friends Ian and Carlos.