Baltimore Bike Party: Pride Ride Photo Essay

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Bike Party! Yelling the words is a call to action, a signal that it’s the last Friday of the month and time to meet friends and celebrate life in Baltimore on a bike. The Baltimore Bike Party is a slow roll through the city, designed to bring all levels of cyclists together to explore the streets of Baltimore. The ride always begins at St Mary’s Park in Seton Hill at 6:30 pm and rolls out at seven. While the meeting place is always the same, the route and theme changes every month. June’s theme was Pride and the official count from the organizers of Baltimore Bike Party was over 1,000 riders.

For me, Bike Party is pure joy and part dance party on a bike. It’s free to ride and always ends in an after-party at various locations around the city. You just need a bike and a good attitude. The ride usually has one stop (I call this halftime, where people congregate, pop open beers and socialize). This month’s ride was hosted by Broadway Market and featured DJ Trakklaya, a photo booth, food trucks, local vendors and beer. The route in June was well attended and extended several blocks long through East Baltimore.

My favorite part of the ride is rolling out of Seton Park, en masse. Cyclists come from all directions, filtering into one lane. There’s an electricity in the air, smiles on everyone’s face and the music is pumping as everyone yells BIKE PARTY in unison. Bystanders on the sidewalk cheer us on, wave, and take photos. Traffic comes to a halt as we take over the streets. The majority of drivers who get stuck in bike party traffic handle the delay with patience and embrace the love parade that surrounds them, giving out honks, cheers and high fives from car windows. Kid’s pop wheelies and weave in and out of traffic, some ride with one wheel, parents bike with their kids, alongside roller girls, skateboarders and a motley crew of cyclists from all walks of life. Bikes are decked out with lights, many riders are in costume.

Bike Party builds community and reflects some of the bet aspects of Baltimore: creativity, independence, and a communal spirit which brings people together from all walks of life. It’s an attitude and a way of life. For me, it’s an opportunity to explore new neighborhoods, visit I’ve never been and experience the streets on a bike with adventurous and fun people. It’s always a welcome surprise to witness residents on stoops and front porches cheer us on as we roll through the neighborhoods. Bike Party is a great way to meet new people whose enthusiasm for cycling is met with their love of this city.

For more information on Baltimore Bike Party, you can follow them via their Facebook Page.

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