When were you last greeted by cheers, waves and friendly toots from car drivers when out on your bike?
For 507 happy souls, that was last Friday evening, at the 2018 edition of Auckland’s Bike Rave. A noisy, glamorous, joyful party on wheels, it was a sunset group ride to celebrate all that is good about cycling in Auckland. And Auckland, it seemed, was happy to celebrate back. At just about every intersection the ravers crossed, drivers and pedestrians made their own cheerful racket in support. Used to all the on-road love? Not really. Enjoy it? You bet!
Just as heart warming was the sheer diversity of this year’s ravers. There were families, kids in their dozens, and couples, groups of larrikins, older people. There were bike tribes: cargo bikes, BMXs, single-speeds, mountain bikes, electric bikes, Bromptons, Frankenstein bikes built up from all manner of bits, even a unicycle.
In common, a gleeful outpouring of glam and glitter, a constellation of winky lights, and a party soundtrack courtesy of on-bike sound systems and a pumped-up Spotify playlist. Plus costumes. We spotted fairies, angels, hippies, lions, a couple in what looked like pyjamas, and all sorts of other creations of indeterminate origin. Check ‘em out yourself at the Bike Rave Facebook Album.
There was a new route this year, a city loop largely on separated cycle paths. It started at Silo Park and took in Nelson Street, the Lightpath and the Grafton Gully Cycleway. Most ravers had a first taste of the new signalised crossing from Canada Street across Upper Queen Street, which had opened just days before. Also new: complimentary hot chocolate at the end of the ride.
A fine way, then, to kick off the last weekend of Biketober, Bike Auckland’s month-long celebration of cycling. And a reminder of what’s special about cycling: it’s fun and, when you’re rolling with a crowd, it becomes a party.
Auckland’s Bike Rave has history. It was kicked off by Bike Auckland’s Community Engagement Manager, Anja Vroegop and two friends in 2015. Inspired by Vancouver’s Bike Rave, they ran the event here three times, and were surprised by the spontaneous support for it.
The Auckland raves in turn inspired Olivia Lynch, an expat Kiwi living at the time in New York and now Bike Auckland’s Events and Partnerships Manager. She ran two raves in Brooklyn, with input via Skype from Anja. Fast forward to October 2018, and the Auckland version of the event is in good hands. Bike Rave Auckland’s founders have handed it over to Bike Auckland, Anja and Olivia are now both in the organisation’s boiler room, and there are even the beginnings of conversations about doing it all again. What say you?