Oakland’s official Bike to Work Day after-party kicked into high gear in Old Oakland last night. Over 600 people converged to dance, eat, drink, mingle, and just take in the atmosphere from the middle of the street.
“We saw people of all ages out enjoying bicycle carnival rides, great local food, and the company of our vibrant East Bay cycling community,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC), which spearheaded the event. “I look forward to the event growing into an Oakland institution as more and more people bike everyday here in the East Bay.”
Raffle drawings and award presentations punctuated the ceremony.
The EBBC recognized this year’s Bike-Friendly Businesses, Clif Bar, Sun Light & Power, and Alta Planning & Design, for taking that extra step to motivate their employees to ride to work.
“I wish we could make 30 awards instead of three,” lamented Rivera. “So many businesses in the East Bay realize that cycling to work makes their employees healthier, happier, and more productive.”
Berkeley Assemblymember Nancy Skinner presented Alameda County’s Bike Commuter of the Year award to sixth grader Jason Hollick, already a successful cycling advocate among his friends and family.
The rest of the party was more like a bicycle circus.
The Muddy Roses and the Derailleurs, a San Francisco-based bicycle dance troop, staked out the main stage.
Cyclecide, operating a triptych of bike-powered carnival rides, brought life to a downtown parking lot.
Bike-themed mobile vendors, El Taco Bike and PopCycle, brought refreshments (in addition to the more traditionally propelled La Borinqueña).
Making full use of the street closure, the portable parklet built for Actual Cafe made its world premiere. Though it was the first San Francisco-style parklet in the East Bay, people quickly coalesced around the installation. Even after guests brought over chairs from other parts of the party, eager sitters sprang from nearby tables as the parklet’s benches became available.
“I’m so grateful for the help of all the volunteers that made Bike to Work Day and the Bike Away From Work Party happen,” exclaimed Rebecca Stievater of the EBBC.
“From last minute sidewalk chalk and rubber stamp acquisition to beer pouring, raffle ticket selling, bike parking guards, and clean up, I know we couldn’t have done it without our volunteers. It’s so gratifying to see people excited about biking and all the advocacy work that’s happening in the East Bay – this just gets better every year.”