The Pioneer

East Bay Bike Party Provides Themed Fun for Thousands

Joseph Geha

Zohal Amiri
Contributor

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Many participants add lights or decorations to their
bikes to stand out.

Bay Area residents have added a new element to their social networking repertoires. No longer confined to their computers and phones, they are social networking on their bicycles.

The East Bay Bike Party is a way to for residents from all over the region to socialize, meet up with friends, dance, drink, smoke and even get in a workout.

CSU East Bay senior, Miranda Aguilar, has attended three bike parties.

“In the beginning, it is just really exciting to see all the people that get together just to ride bikes. The energy of everyone just makes you excited,” she said.

For most attending, the bike party is a fun way to spend a Friday evening. For Trevor Davis, 29, of Oakland, it means a bit more.

“It pretty much saved my life,” said Davis, who had a heart attack six months ago, which was followed by frequent seizures.

He said rehabilitation efforts weren’t doing much good for him, so he attended his first bike party, and a subsequent visit to a doctor showed some heavily improved results in terms of heart and brain function for him.

“There’s not too many opportunities outside of playing a sport, that there is people actually supporting you in something,” said Davis, referencing how even though he was toward the back of the pack for most of the night, he had a crowd of people encouraging him to push through.

As with many social gatherings, especially those with ‘party’ in the title, there are some who choose to make use of drugs and alcohol before, during and after the rides.

At Nov.’s bike party, there were cans and bottles of beer all over the Fremont Bart Station.

“It’s like being around a bunch of hippies,” said Steven Lam of Union City, who was attending his inaugural bike party.

“[My friends and I] thought it was going to be more people our age, but we were wrong. It’s mostly people over 30 years old smoking weed and getting drunk,” said Lam.

On their WordPress website, it is stated as a rule for riders not to get “smashed.”

“I don’t like the fact that some people get so drunk on the ride that they can’t finish the trail. It also makes the ride unsafe for the rest of the riders,” said Aguilar.

Carl Meadow, 27, El Cerrito, said despite the smoke filling his lungs from an occasional blunt hit, “I’m faster than everybody,” he said with a joking tone. He said he had yet to see people who “couldn’t handle themselves.”

East Bay Bike parties allow cyclists to show off their creativity with the different themes for each month’s ride. November’s theme was Old Hollywood. Attendees were dressed like flappers from the 1920’s and in suits that resembled the late Charlie Chaplin’s style.

Moya Poparad, November’s ride leader of the month, was in charge of picking the route and the theme.

“Every month we get more and more people that sign up for our Facebook page and come to our rides,” said Poparad. “A couple months ago, there was 1,300 cyclists at the bike party,” she said. That has proven to be the biggest turn out for the East Bay Bike Party so far.

Bike advocacy and “to show people how fun it is to ride bikes and just a social event,” said Poparad when asked why the riders gather every second Friday of the month. “Come out and have a party on your bike!”

“Dressing up and riding with my friends is my favorite thing about bike parties,” said Sarah Hrouda, who has attended over 20 bike parties all over the Bay Area. “My first one was a zombie bike ride. Just dressing up like zombies and scaring people was really fun,” she said.

Aguilar, Hirsch, and Hrouda enjoy meeting new people in a friendly environment that prevails at the bike parties.

“Most people are just really nice and they have casual conversations with you when they ride up beside you. You never really ride next to the same people for more than 20 minutes,” said Aguilar.

Conversations and friendships can have a few minutes to grow stronger as the parties generally include several stops throughout the route for resting and celebrating the event.

“Hook-ups happen here all the time. I’m sure some have ended up as relationships,” said Hrouda. She says she has met some of her good friends at bike parties. “It’s definitely the new social network,” she added.

Mark Haskett, 42, of Alameda was attending his seventh bike party in Nov. During a stop in the historic downtown Niles district of Fremont, standing outside of Bronco Billy’s Pizza Parlor, dressed in a suit jacket, round top hat and a faux sheriff’s badge, he easily summed up why he continues to participate.

“I just like to ride, I just like to ride my bike.”

California State University East Bay
East Bay Bike Party Provides Themed Fun for Thousands