A different type of party rolled into San Francisco Friday wheeling in enthusiasm and support for the bicycle culture. San Francisco Bike Party, a co-op organization, invites people of all ages and skill levels to join in on the first Friday of every month.
The Feb. 4 ride was the second organized SFBP celebration to date. Each event is themed and Friday night was deemed “Bike Love.” Some participants dressed in costumes and most adorned their bicycles in colorful flashing lights, blaring loud music as they rode.
Many who gathered heard about the event on Facebook, but had also previously attended Bike Party celebrations in San Jose and the East Bay.
Lindsey Ryan, 29, from Oakland, has attended the East Bay Bike Party since October 2010 and heard about SFBP via Facebook. Ryan explained how bicycling has changed her life in every way possible and explained how she put her nerves aside in order to come out for Friday night’s celebration.
“I ride it everywhere by choice,” Ryan said. “Society has made us think we are supposed to be in cars; now I won’t get in one again.”
The routes are mapped out before the celebration and volunteers passed out directions on strips of white paper to riders the night of the event. A man wearing a giant orange mohawk helmet is the ride leader and the other riders followed behind while dancing, singing and chanting “bike party” along pre-determined the route.
“This is one thing that people like about the bike parties more, is the planned routes,” said Corbin, who asked only be addressed by his first name. A San Francisco resident, Corbin attended the Friday night ride with two friends for the first time.
Although the event is planned to be a monthly event, organizers declined to give information on the group, the next ride or what its theme may be.
Friday’s ride consisted of a nine-mile trek around the city starting at Civic Center and traveling through Japantown, the Western Addition, the Castro, the Mission and Noe Valley. They stopped at Alamo Square and Dolores Park to have parties along the way before ending at Garfield Square.
Luke French, 33, from the Mission District rides a bicycle he calls “The School Bus”. His bicycle is a yellow two-seater and he is currently adding a third seat and speakers to the bike so more of his friends who don’t own bicycles are able to ride along with him.
“I have friends who don’t bicycle and I find their friendship is inconvenient,” French said. “I like being out and having fun with people. This is a fun creative place, people expressing themselves.”
Since SFBP’s first event in January, attendance has significantly grown.
Many who attend the monthly celebrations said they do so because they like the sense of community the SFBP brings together.
Edward Frank, an SF State alumnus, heard about the celebration by word of mouth. Frank is also a member of SFBC and rides an old Miyata 1000. He flies an American flag with a peace sign on the back of his bike, strung up by a fishing pole which was passed down to him by his uncle.
“This is the forward movement,” Frank said. “We aren’t burning gasoline, we are burning the food we eat.”
“This is ultimate freedom.”