Monumental. Beautiful. Well-organized. Noisy. Unbelievable. Brilliantly costumed. Poorly lit. Clean.

Those are just some of the words this webmaster has heard about Bike Party tonight – and for those that were keeping score, the good outweighed the bad by 3 to 1. Tonight, our second anniversary ride, struck yet another new mark in South Bay history, as four thousand riders (see count) hit the streets to build community through bicycling.

I’m proud of this city, proud of all of our riders, proud of our fantastic organizers and volunteers, and even prouder of the potential we still have to achieve. A lot of heart and soul (and sweat and lost sleep and sometimes even blood and tears) goes into these rides, and it’s showing. Things that were uncommon just a few months ago flowed smoothly tonight:

  • Riders largely kept to the right (when reminded)
  • Riders left significantly less trash and/or helped pick up trash
  • Turns were marked both by volunteers “posting up” and by signs posted up by volunteers
  • Most riders rode responsibly, sober, and in predictable directions
  • Soooo many people decorated bikes, rode in costume, or somehow tried on the “Dia de los Muertos” theme

Of course, life isn’t perfect: We still get a lot of complaints from neighbors about noise, we still leave trash at regroups and along the route (because really, we ultimately need to leave NO trace, not just little), and there’s still room to improve our organizing with better communication and more organized volunteers.

But when you allow yourself to sit back and think of the achievement, it’s wild. Think of all of the now-regular riders you know who never or almost never rode their bikes before they started riding Bike Party. Think of all of the friends you’ve met. Think of the impact we’ve had on passers-by and spectators, demonstrating without a doubt that cycling IS an accessible and reasonable method of transportation in this highway-slashed city. Consider on top of it all that this started 2 years ago with 25 riders and it’s still run completely by volunteers with small donations, and it’s even more impressive. It’s worth a huge pat on the back.

Happy Birthday, Bike Party! Here’s to many more!

If you would like to add your photos, please join our flickr group

Need updates? Join our facebook group or our twitter.

Loved it so much you want to volunteer? Sign up here.