More than 1,000 cyclists turned out for one of the most popular East Bay Bike Parties to date.
On Friday, the lower lot at Rockridge BART was overflowing with cyclists of all ages from throughout the East Bay. People were on all types of bikes: road and mountain bikes, tall bikes, track bikes, custom "Burning Man-style" bikes and even a tricycle outfitted with a canvas frame that made it look like a food truck vending donuts throughout the ride.
The ride left Rockridge BART station, going along College Avenue to the University of California, Berkeley, campus. It went through Northside, going by the university co-ops on its way down to César Chávez Park at the Berkeley Marina.
At the marina, a metal band played with a bike-powered sound system blasting rock for the mosh pit crowd. The crowd left the Berkeley Marina at 10:10 p.m. to ride along the Bay Trail, through Emeryville to West Oakland.
The second party stop was at West Grand and Mandela in West Oakland. After that, riders continued onto Lake Merritt and ended the ride at Lakeside Park. Throughout the ride, there was an ebb and flow of cyclists as some riders left and others joined in. But throughout the night, there remained a steady stream of cyclists that stretched up to 10 blocks long.
Overall, the ride was upbeat and several cyclists had sound systems in tow. Depending which group you were riding with, you might hear rock, hip hop, Latin or mellow music. It was a family-fun event with children, the elderly and everyone in between participating. The organizers asked all participants to obey traffic laws and for the most part, cyclists rode responsibly, stopping at large intersections and staying to the right side of the road.
Two things the organizers did well was to ask everyone to have bike lights, which kept people from running into each other in the dense cycling groups. These extra lights lit the dark roads, especially along the Bay Trail.
The other was calling it the Sharpie Ride and encouraging people to wear white shirts and to bring Sharpies so people could write messages to each other and draw on each others' shirts. Popular inscriptions were "I ♡ East Bay Bike Party" and "I ♡ Oakland #swag."
The East Bay Bike Party takes place the second Friday of each month. Learn more about future bike parties HERE.
Click HERE for photos from the first half of the night (from Rockridge BART to the Berkeley Marina).