On the last Friday of every month, bicyclists—in costume—take over Baltimore’s streets.
The Baltimore Bike Party starts at the Washington Monument, cruising through 10 or 12 miles of rowhouses and parks, concluding the evening with drinks and dancing at a local bar.
For April’s party, the square was full of 80s prom dresses, tuxedos and gowns. Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber even made an appearance, or at least their impersonators did.
Ryan Parr, Harry for the evening, rode with his brother and said they’ve coordinated outfits the past four rides.
“Originally, I wanted to wear a dress,” said Ryan Parr. “But my brother had the better idea. He suggested we dress up like Dumb and Dumber.”
Baltimore Bike Party is a group bike ride through the city organized by a core committee, helpers and volunteers. Tim Barnett, the event organizer and founder, wanted to offer the city’s cyclists an opportunity to come together for a parade-like ride.
“I wanted to create something that allowed people to have a good time on their bike,” said Barnett. “It gives everyone a chance to bike around Baltimore and enjoy the city like I do.”
Each month has a unique theme and route. Groups meet at the Washington Monument and wheels hit the road at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a new route every month and I always start with the end location,” said Barnett. “I sit on Google and look for a general direction. Then I look for the highlights and ride it myself. I look for places that most people wouldn’t otherwise get to see.”
The ride itself wraps up when the group arrives at a local bar. Although for some riders, the after-party festivities start long before then.
“They have awesome after parties,” said Justin Hilman as he stands beside his bike with a Natty Boh in hand. “It’s a great thing to do on a Friday night.”
Bike Party is unique because it is just that – a party on your bike. It attracts people of all ages from cycling enthusiasts to those just looking for an excuse to dress up and hang out.
“It’s a fun thing to do outdoors that gets the community to come together,” said Shannon Miller, a two-time participant in Bike Party. “All you have to do is bring a bike and that’s it.”
And hundreds of people did just that. As the floods crowded Mount Vernon Square, a local band came to offer some music to the party.
Parr has participated in several bike parties and enjoyed it so much that this month he became a volunteer.
“I want to see this be successful,” said Parr. “I want to do what I can to keep it going. It’s the most fun you can have on a bike.”
This month Bike Party celebrated its one-year anniversary and Barnett has every intention to reach the two-year mark.
“I knew from the start that it would be a monthly ride,” said Barnett. “When I started I had to plan on a month to month basis, but now I’m planning into the fall almost six months ahead.”
With the summer months and cool nights ahead, Barnett encourages the greater Baltimore area to come and join the party.
“We had 6-and 8-year-olds following along beside us,” said Barnett. “We had a 92-year-old woman one month. People of all ages and all abilities are capable of participating with us.”
As for May’s bike party—grab your cowboy boots and get ready to saddle up for a western themed ride. Starting at 5 p.m. from the Streetcar Museum riders can enjoy live music and Flying Dog beer as well as a meet and greet with local bike companies and organizations.
“It’s always free and you’re never too old to dress up,” said Miller. “Why wouldn’t you do it?”