Bike Party started in the parking lot
of Toys R Us in Sunnyvale. It was a bit cool, but there was no threat
of rain. In short, perfect weather for riding with many hundreds of
your closest friends. It was still early when the Mountain View
pre-ride got there.
The guy in the black suit and white tie
said his helmet was the first one that was really designed for
This woman was trying to solve the
ninja biker problem by selling blinky lights for $2 each. Seems she was
finding lots of customers. Haven't yet heard a review of her lights
from a user.
The MoGo truck was still getting set up
when I got in line for a burrito. They often show at bike party, and
when they do I get my supper from them. Delicious Korean-Mexican fusion
Yoshi was the first person that evening
that I saw fix a fresh flat. I think he got it cruising around the
parking lot encouraging people to leave the parking near the stores for
Maybe a block or two after I took these
pictures of the two guys on the tandem I saw Dora and I had to pull
over to talk about something. Unfortunately I didn't look to my right,
I just turned as if I was the only one on the road. Bad mistake. Turns
out the tandem was right there. We crashed. I gather no harm was done.
I apologized to the guys. They accepted my apology and rode on. Later I
found out that something like half a dozen of bike party's birds had
spills during the course of the evening. I haven't examined what caused
the other accidents, but in my case it was clearly a lack of experience
with riding in traffic. I just haven't had much experience with riding
in crowds. There weren't any in my experience before I found bike party.
We passed my favorite Chinese
restaurant, and then had to wait for the light to change at California
Street. There were a lot of people out on the sidewalk, just watching
all the bicycles going by with interested looks on their faces.
The first regroup was at the San
Antonio shopping center. By this time the party vibe was kicking in.
Everybody was having a good time.
The ride headed west towards Stanford
after maybe half an hour of partying in the parking lot.
At Stanford the music thumping off the
sound trailers was making dance floors out of the street.
Usually I ask people "can I take your
picture?" Those three in the formal clothing heard as far as "picture"
and then boom! They were posing. It was such a fun moment. On the other
hand, the guy with the green lit bike didn't want his picture taken,
but he did want his bike's picture taken. I try to work with what
That freaky orange hair thing had
blinking lights built into it. I couldn't capture both the mystery of
that and the beauty of the wearer.
I found out later that the ambulance
was responding to a call for Martha, another bird who had fallen off
her bike. All I knew at the time was that the cop was calling out "keep
moving". They just didn't want a plug of people blocking the road and
making things difficult for the paramedics. I obeyed that bike party
dictum, Roll Past Conflict.
I asked the guy in the HUMAN
TRAFFICKING shirt about it. He said "a guy came to talk to my class
about human trafficking, and he gave each of us a T Shirt."
Diane Soloman is super charged that her
cover story for this weeks Metro about bees is in newsracks now. She
said writing for the Metro is well worth doing for a writer.
My friend in the Mountain View Police
Dept. said that there had been a few accidents, but nothing serious. He
also said he liked the vibe coming off the crowd. He found it "quite
The guy in the blue dress with a red
beard is a bike party regular. He saw me and said that he is looking
for his backpack. He said he'd heard from a friend that it was in the
possession of a guy on a unicycle with a watermellon helmet. I thought
"Super Mike", whom I'd seen a bit earlier and still knew how to find. I
found him and said I knew where the guy missing his backpack was. Mike
needed to talk to the guy himself, so I led him to the guy in the blue
The first thing SuperMike did was ask
the guy to list off the things in the backpack. He started "light gray
sweater, cell phone, snacks..." and SuperMike handed it over. Then he
said he'd picked it up in the utterly empty parking lot after everybody
had left. He'd found the cell phone and called the top three names on
the "frequently called list" looking for someone that knew where the
owner was. The air was thick with gratitude, so I knew he'd done the
Somebody said I should take a picture
of the moon, because it was throwing so much light. I reached the top
of an overpass and did it. Then I realized that the bikes going by were
leaving fun trails in the time lapse pictures. I caught a bunch of
If I hadn't been so far back in the
pack I could have gotten a lot more of those.
By the end people were fading into the
woodwork. There wasn't much of a crowd at Toys R Us when I got back
there. People would show up, thank whatever birds they saw (or not) and
some parked car to go home in.
I asked Billy Cool if he'd heard about
Martha. He said "yes, she hurt her cheek and
knees, but it wasn't bad enough that she had to take a ride in the
ambulance." A friend had come with a car to pick her and her bike up.
That was good news. Later I found out that one of the other
people that fell broke his collarbone.
After a while Yoshi said the post ride
back to San Jose was leaving in five minutes. It didn't matter much to
me. I was going the other way. Maybe I was half an hour of pedaling
from home. Those guys probably had more than an hour of pedaling ahead