A special report from Jessica Rose – Eyes in the Rave
It was always going to be a roll of the dice, running a bike event in unpredictable May rains. But despite a week’s postponement due to rain, on Friday 22nd May, over 500 keen people on bikes (that’s a guestimate) assembled for what was Auckland’s first ever official Bike Rave.
It’s been an exciting journey getting there. The pilot a few months earlier was so successful that word of mouth led it to be an event of its own, and it has already inspired a sister event in Wellington.
Put together by a team of volunteers with a common love of riding bikes, Bike Rave Auckland was a night to celebrate having fun, using public spaces and being together, no matter where you’re from or how old you are. Riders ranged in age from nine to seventy!
They arrived by train, ferry, car and bike from all corners of the outer suburbs to the city, and started assembling in Mission Bay from 7.30pm, on what turned out to be a clear crisp evening. With the sun already set, the twinkling lights decorating the bikes (and the people!) lit up the park.
There were cargo bikes decorated with disco balls, there was a raving chicken, some pantyhose-clad superheroes, an ELF (not that one) and more monkey lights than you could count. Radio station bFM was on hand to DJ the event via the PA system, and ravers were reminded to set their devices to stream straight from the station so as to simul-broadcast as they travelled.
At 8.15, with the ringing of 500 bells the bike rave headed off along the Tamaki cycle path in to the night. The route snaked its way at a comfortable pace along the waterfront, from Mission Bay to finish at the end of Westhaven Drive under the Harbour Bridge. Bike Rave Crew members in special pink vests distributed themselves along the riders to keep the pace and make sure no one got lost and everyone stayed safe. It was fantastic having Triple T’s Mangere lot turn up and help make sure that no one got left behind.
The night was not without a few hiccups. At the first stop at Mechanic’s Bay where ravers assembled to create circling whirlpools of light and sound, the PA system packed in and some mayhem ensued with riders still arriving when others were trying to leave for the next stop. Then the closure of the Te Wero crossing meant a detour around the front of the viaduct to reach Wynyard Quarter – to the surprise and delight of restaurant patrons (a silver lining!).
lescykillBicycle, a sponsor of the event, took some great shots at the Silo Park stop before everyone headed off to the final destination under the Harbour Bridge.
It was around 11pm by the time ravers parked up their bikes and were treated to hot food served by the Banger Boys food truck. The music was turned up and people took the time to share experiences, enjoy some refreshments and have a dance. Also, we were able to gather to announce the winner of the best dressed bike and rider, thanks to Aussie hi-vis fashion sponsor Hey Reflecto.
Approaching midnight, just as the last people were leaving, the first big drops of what turned out to be a weekend of stormy weather started to fall. The timing could not have been better. Well done, Auckland Bike Rave, we look forward to the next event!
PS If you’re on Instagram, check out the tag #bikeraveAKL for more pics, or if you were there, add yours to the growing list! And follow @BikeRaveAKL on Twitter or friend them on Facebook for alerts about the next event.