Saturday, September 19, 2009

Creating Cyclists - The San Jose Bike Party !!

Last night's San Jose Bike Party was epic beyond compare. It was filled with happy smiling faces, not the ones you see preoccupied with the clock and/or cadence or heart monitors, etc. All I saw were people dressed in regular street clothes. And as we rode, speed was not an issue, camaraderie was. The cyclists who rode from Mission College, in Santa Clara, to Palo Alto and back last night were more concerned with seeing all the bikes that were out there and talking with friends and making new ones than who was going at a speedier clip than they were.

Granted I went faster than most because I wanted to see who all I was sharing the road with so I could make this report. And, I only reached the front one time. Partly this was so because I
had to stop at lights, which everyone was very good about doing. Partly because it stretched out for miles and miles. Partly because I was not on my Eagle HiWheel but on my recumbent (yes I ws the guy riding a short wheel base S&B recumbent with a pith helmet on) and I could go fast. And mostly because I live in Palo Alto....

Since Charleston and Middlefield was the end of the line for me. I stopped and counted cyclists. A neighbor named Joe Cowen, even came out to see what all the hub bub was about and decided to help me. As group after group after group arrived, he hit the cross walk button to give the riders a longer light. He and I briefly talked and had fun in between the bikers that were non stop.

In all, I counted over 2000 cyclists. And I don't know how many were ahead of me but I suspect that it was a few hundred two wheel (I did see maybe half a dozen trikes) fun makers.

A 24 niles ride, there were recharge stations set up along the way. The one at the Castro Street Cal Train parking lot was filled with people having good clean fun. No snell of marijuana wafting in the air. No alcohol. Just one guy set up with a bike trailer selling cold vitamin water.

Here are some of the bikes I remembered seeing:

- innumerable one speed cruisers
- a guy (Josh Agie) playing bagpipes as he rode (if I get time, I will put up what I recorded as an mp3)
- Greg McPheeters on a tandem towing his couch trailer
- 2 tall bikes
- one guy on a skateboard (24 miles ouch)
- 6 to 10 stretch bikes that I only saw at the beginning
- 2 circus bikes where the front end can be moved independent of the rear
- 10 recumbents
- 2- 38" wheel Coker unicycles
- one woman (Aisha Hicks) on a kick bike (more ouch)

What a night, I even got to meet one of the event co founders. She was on the train to Santa Clara. We became Facebook friends today. Here is what I just posted on her wall:


Martin Krieg
Lauryn McCarthy is the one who is **Bad Butt**. I was on my bent (I am the Penny rider she talks about below. See the ride, also below, I just did to Salt Lake) for the SJ Bike Party and, from the Cal Train station, she dropped the four other guys who were riding with me. I had to hammer with her just to see where the start was located. Big Fire Lauryn and major WOW on the SJBP that U helped begin...

SF to Salt Lake on a HiWheel

We need more of these kinds of rides. All over America! This will grow cycling a lot faster than the 'look over your shoulder, he could be catching you' consciousness that our industry's magazines and bike shops often tend to promote. As well, that is why I also applaud Critical Mass. In rides such as these, the stars of the show are not the ones with the technology that can make them go the fastest.

At the San Jose Bike Party, everyone is a star - just because they ride!!

Martin Krieg "Awake Again" Author
'79 & '86 TransAmerica Bike Rides
Coma, Paralysis, Clinical Death Survivor
2010 w/"How America Can Bike & Grow Rich"
NBG Founding Director, HiWheel Cyclist