The pure, mad joy of bicycling in Halloween costume with 1,300 adventurous friends through the streets of Baltimore on a Friday night is impossible to capture in word, photos — even video. Unless, maybe, you spend the entire ride shooting with a great camera, and then editing it all later into something coherent. But who wants to do that when it’s so much fun basking in the glow of the wild scene — the mermaids, monsters, killer bees and bearded men in drag — surrounding your bike.
The short video at the top of this post was shot at the start of the ride as bicyclists rolled out from Mt. Vernon Square.
There are a couple iPhone pics below from the ride and after-party at the Union Craft Brewery in Hampden. The outdoors after-party, with good beer, awesome food trucks, D.J., dancing, photos and a rockin’ moonbounce that looked ready to topple several times, was a blast. As someone next to me noted, everyone just seems friendlier and more outgoing in costume.
The absolute best part of any last-Friday-of-every-month Baltimore Bike Party is the reaction along the route. More taxi, truck, delivery and automobile drivers honk and toot in support than you’d think — but even better are the kids, teenagers and adults in every neighborhood, East to West, North to South, who leave their rowhouses, come off their porches, step out of local bars and restaurants, and stop whatever they’re doing to high-five Bike Party bicyclists, shout encouragement — and often, shoot their own cellphone pictures and videos.
It’s also interesting to listen to Bike Party riders as they pedal. The bicycling culture in Charm City and the Bike Party, only six months old, seems to be growing so fast now, that it’s almost hard to grasp at times.
“How is it possible,” asked one 20-something bicyclist, “that this is the most fun thing I’ve ever done.”
Another: “It’s like everything I love rolled into one: there’s an element of activism, it’s bicycling, there’s the extroverted, outrageousness of it all, and it’s going out on Friday night to a great party.”
For those unfamiliar with the loose guidelines/mission of the Baltimore Bike Party, it’s an informal recreational ride, about 12 to 13 miles, informal and fun while hopefully spurring city bicycling. It’s evolved from the old Critical Mass rides into something safer and traffic friendly, and has a different theme each month. July’s theme was a beach party, for example, and June’s was an 80’s party. The August theme was lights. October, naturally, Halloween.