Food, music, fun and of course bicycles are the main staples of a monthly event called the San Jose Bike Party. Every third Friday, hundreds and sometimes thousands of participants gather to partake in a cycling tour of San Jose that hopes to shed a new light on the suburban landscape of Silicon Valley’s largest city.
The event began seven years ago as a voting initiative with just a handful of people, but quickly morphed into a monthly party that aims to bring local businesses and residents together in a fun way.
“We’re trying to make it kind of a homegrown San Jose thing,” said Carlos Babcock, one of the event’s organizers.
Today, the mission of the Bike Party is to “build community through cycling,” by connecting various local food trucks, DJs, musicians and more with local residents who are looking for something different to do on a Friday night.
“It’s something fun that’s out of the realm of going to a movie or going out to dinner,” said San Jose resident Elia Bonner. “It’s a good night out.”
This Friday’s theme was Flower Power, and many bicyclists embraced it by sporting flower-adorned gear and accessories.
But it’s not all fun and games for the San Jose Bike Party. Participants and volunteers also aim to give back to the community.
“We’re spreading out into different rides, different ways to get involved in the community, free downtown bike parking, creek cleanups and charity rides,” Babcock said.
The organizers behind the Bike Party also want to highlight cycling as a part of tourism in San Jose.
“I’ve seen people pulling a brand new bike from a taxi because tourists wanted to participate,” Babcock added.
This Friday’s event also hosted local group, the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, who are fundraising for a new rink since their current rink is closing in June of this year.
The San Jose Bike Party shows no signs of slowing down. It has grown past the city limits, sometimes boasting as many as 5,000 attendees at a single event, and cities all over the country — and even the world — have embraced the cycling-as-a-community concept.
“A lot of people get together, friends see each other,” Babcock said. “It’s been a real community builder in a lot of ways.”