The location changes tonight, but the mission remains the same: More bicyclists and more fun.
More noise, too.
The still burgeoning, last Friday of every month Baltimore Bike Party launches at 7 p.m. this evening from Pearlstone Park to avoid conflicting with the Baltimore Book Festival in Mount Vernon Square.
A map of the ride, which loops around Midtown, northeast Baltimore, Hampden and Wyman Park, among other neighborhoods, can be found here. The August “Lights”-themed Bike Party, covered here, drew some 700 cyclists (and was a total blast), and included kids and seniors and all ages in between. This month’s theme is “Bells ‘N Whistles,” with riders encouraged to keep those blinking, strobing, flashing bicycle lights, but also add “bells, whistles, horns, rattles, cowbells, xylophones, vuvuzelas (those banned soccer horns)” into the mix.
As of Friday morning, 630 have committed to participate on the Bells ‘N Whistles Bike Party Facebook page, plus another 184 “maybes.”
Some clouds are expected later tonight, but according to the latest reports, the chance of some rain is just 20 percent.
This month’s ride, local organizers note, coincides with the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass and it’s first ride 20 years ago in San Francisco, where there’s talk of 5,000 - 10,000 bicyclists participating. (Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge, which actually has a dedicated bike lane, by the way, is a breathtaking experience). Critical Mass, which spread to cities to all over the world — and often proved confrontational and controversial — is seen as a precursor to the more family friendly, law-abiding Bike Party rides now popping up. The San Jose Bike Party, for example, now attracts several thousand riders.
(Poster art at the top of this page by Justin Duvall.)