Every first Thursday of the month, a special event happens after the Farmer’s Market. Once the booths close down, the trucks drive off and the shoppers begin to disappear, a new crowd emerges–riding bicycles.
While many people have heard of bike night, not too many people have actually attended the event. “I hear about people doing bike night, and the crazy themes and all that but I haven’t actually ever been before” says local Ben Arthur.
The main gist of the night seems pretty basic–bring your bike, ride around, and follow a mass of crazy people who are doing the same thing that you are. But navigating the traditions of bike night can be a little tricky, which is why I have created a how-to list about the local tradition.
1. The Regalia
Each bike night has a theme–and people tend to get really into it. People dress up themselves, their pets and their bikes according to what the Bike Happening website says. Themes from the past have included Zombie Night, Fetish Night, Pirates Night and Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham it Up.
For full details on upcoming theme nights visit here.
2. The Round Up
A little after 9:00 pm, a crowd begins to gather around Mission Plaza. People show up on bicycles, tricycles, unicycles and tandems to putter around downtown. For about a half hour or so, the crowd waits for everyone to join up “We usually wait around till we have a sizable group, then head off towards downtown” says 2nd year Cameron Matthew.
3. The Route
The route usually starts from Mission Plaza around downtown and to the Bank of America parking lot, where everyone rides in circles, pops wheelies or just waits around for those unlucky enough to be caught behind a red light to catch up.
4. The Ride
During the actual ride, the tunnel of riders can tend to take over the road. “Watch out for the people in cars who aren’t fans [of bike night],” warms Zach Antoyan “‘Cause they’ll take you out. I got yelled at earlier tonight.”
While this may seem intimidating, it is not. I would recommend either just riding with the large group of bikers, or if you get separated simply stay in the bike lane (which is not usually necessary when the big group gets going.
Bike Night usually lasts from about 9:00 to 10:30 pm or so, and during this time lots of yelling, screaming and whooping occurs. I would highly recommend grabbing a group of friends and heading down to participate–you will not regret it.
BONUS: A little known fact about bike night? Afterwards, people gather at a secret and then the crowd begins to dissipate. Check out this link to see what happens after the cars take over the road once again.