The Importance of Summer Evenings – Baltimore Bike Party, July 2013

Deep in winter, when the weather is steely and cold, I dream of nights like this. When the air is a soft caress and the night is inviting. Languid. Delicious. There’s no huddling for warmth; no running for shelter from icy winds. Instead, amid the singing of katydids, the night invites you to stay. Maybe extend your arms into the sultry evening air and take a few spins. Is it the spinning making you giddy or the extravagantly pleasurable evening? Hard to know and hard to care. Life’s delights are to be savored, not analyzed.

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At the midpoint. As night fell, this woman’s dress came alive (with David’s spare batteries to the rescue, as she had forgotten her power source)!

On Friday, we took a ride with the Baltimore Bike Party on such a night. Each month, a bike ride is organized, guided by “The 3 R’s”: RIDE, RESPECT and REVELRY. The ride through Baltimore City as night falls is short. Just five or six miles through wildly divergent neighborhoods. Parks and slums. Mansions and museums.

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We rode in golden midsummer evening light

The thousands of people on bikes make this ride a safe one. Safe enough for even the most timid and safety-minded individuals to take a tour down the hard-bitten streets that are home to Baltimore’s poorest citizens. And those citizens come out onto the sidewalks to view the parade passing by in the warm summer evening.

We, the cyclists, have a unique opportunity to send them some love by way of a happy greeting. A smile, a wave and an invitation to join us next time on the last Friday of the month. Maybe, just maybe, one or two of the folks we see can gather a little hope from us. Or, perhaps they just enjoy the spectacle of thousands of nutty people on bikes shouting, singing, waving, laughing and having a really great time.

Make sure to turn your sound on to enjoy the party!

Can you spot these things in the video?:

– a small person shadowing us, riding a small bike on the sidewalk

– two rats on bikes

– people out on their stoops and sidewalks

Each ride has a theme. This month, it was “Moonlight Madness” with as many lights on bikes as we could muster. (Last month, the theme was the ’80’s. See David’s post). David rigged our bikes with a Dewalt drill battery pack and plenty of LED lights from Ikea. Other folks found ways to add lights, too. Almost all of the bikes were sporting head-and-tail lights. What an awesome pageant of lighted bikes it was! A turn around Lake Montebello revealed the parade to be more than a mile long.

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David’s bike was a sailboat. The red light in the middle is his tail light. He added extensions to front and back to create this fantastic ship in the night!

There’s always a stopping point about halfway through the ride. The revelry starts in earnest here! Meeting new friends and greeting old friends. Lighted bikes were admired. There were some truly awesome rigs! Those so inclined break out the alcohol and make it a real party atmosphere. Even David and Jane partook of a generously offered cold(!) beer.

Then, before we knew it, we were at the end of the ride, in Druid Hill Park. We lingered only briefly in the velvet dark, lit by decorated bikes and illuminated party pavilions. My bed was calling, loudly by this time. A day of driving had preceded the ride for me, so off we went into the night, back to the car and home. But, not without being extremely grateful for a night like this one. A happy, happy bike ride on a beautiful summer evening…

– Jane

3 responses to “The Importance of Summer Evenings – Baltimore Bike Party, July 2013

  1. The fun is on several levels. A gentle bike ride is fun on an inviting Summer evening. But the real fun, the almost inexplicable fun is the energy of a joyful humanity. Participants on and off of bikes, just smiling and being appreciated by each other. I don’t think we knew what we were in for…
    -David

  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This is magnificent – oh, love it. Love your writing, too – and that woman’s dress! How gorgeous, all of this beauty and joy, celebration of good weather and just being 🙂 Love it.

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