Blog post by Bike Walk Macon intern and Mercer University student Erica Duncan
Have you made it to Macon Bike Party yet? If not, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the scoop on what you’ve missed and what you can expect:
What We Love
There’s a lot of time that goes into creating these routes and it shows. We’ve stopped at parks, local landmarks, small businesses, and a cemetery with a gorgeous skyline. Driving just isn’t the same once you’ve seen it from a bike.
Bike lights are important for safety but they’re also fun! Wrap your basket in battery-operated color lights or grab some free lights for your spokes at the check-in table, courtesy of Bike Walk Macon. This month, we’ve also got special FREE, Bike Walk Macon-branded lights for your ride! If you’ve seen pictures of our lights online and thought they were cool, I can guarantee you that they’re even better in person.
Each Bike Party has a theme, which means you have many opportunities to dress up in a costume. From thrift shop finds to zombie slayers and this month’s pajamas, we’ve got a month to fit everyone’s style. Not into dressing up? That’s okay too! We’ve had about a fifty-fifty split on people dressing up, so you’re not alone whether you decide to or not - but we hope you do. ;)
If you love car rides just for the music, then this is for you. Bike Party rolls to the tunes of your favorite songs the whole way, giving you the same feeling without any of the carbon emissions. Last month, we heard every Halloween classic known to man from “Disturbia” to “Love Potion No.9” (which now has a starring spot on my regular playlist, I loved it so much). The month before, “Thrift Shop” and “Rich Girl” took starring roles (and motivated me to pedal a little faster so I could stay in earshot). The best part is, you get to decide what we listen to - be it “Baby Shark” or Billy Joel - because the playlist is collaborative! Add a tune on Spotify and join us to hear them echo in the streets as we ride.
There’s no better way to bond than on a bike ride. The stops along the route are a great way to meet new people, learn some new names, and even network. Plus, Bike Party gets attention among non-participants (dozens of blinking bikes coasting by with music tends to do that). As we ride through neighborhoods and wave to the people on their porches, sidewalks, and the like, you’ll feel more connected to Macon and the people who live here.
I don’t have much to say about this. Rachel picks good snacks. We have fruit. We have trail mix. We have quality granola bars with chocolate on the bottom. We have Goldfish. We have those little mini cookie bags. It’s just great, and I highly recommend you grab a snack before we hit the streets.
What Challenges Us
I’m not gonna lie - the hills on the first ride were a struggle. Bike Party is an all-ages, all-abilities ride, which means everyone’s welcome, but you might expect some challenges here and there if you’re a newbie. There’s nothing more humbling than walking your bike up a particularly steep hill while a seasoned rider whizzes past, but rest assured - we’ll be right there with you. If you came to the first ride and were put off by the hills, distance, or speed, give us another try!
I will say this - I have never appreciated overhead street lighting more than I did after the first Bike Party. As someone who had never rode on the streets before, it was a little intimidating to be pedaling along and suddenly come over a bump or stick I didn’t know was there, or to not necessarily be able to see everything clearly. The second route was much more well-lit (again, give us another try!) and it definitely wasn’t unmanageable, especially with the other riders’ lights and police lights. I do think it’s important though to note that if you have vision impairments that worsen in the dark, you might want to be prepared with a plan in case you need accommodations (for example, my mom has special glasses to wear at night, so she should bring those) or have to duck out a little early once the sun goes down.
What We’re Looking Forward To
Macon Bike Party: Pajamboree! hits the streets Wednesday, November 28th (it’s been postponed due to expected thunderstorms) at 6:30pm! Check-in begins at 6pm. We’ll be passing out our special new bike lights during check-in and wheels will hit the street at 6:30pm. The ride will end back at the Bike Walk Macon office (338 Poplar) by 8:30 pm. Aside from the pajama theme, this month is special because we’ll be stopping halfway through the route at Z Beans to enjoy and warm up with some free hot chocolate, apple cider, and coffee. If you haven’t been to Bike Party yet, make November’s your first! See for yourself what all the buzz is about.
All I want for Christmas is...for you to come to Bike Party! The Holiday Hustle ride will be on Thursday, December 13th as we wrap up for the winter. We can’t release too many details right now, but we’ll be stopping at the light show downtown as our ride highlight. If you’ve ever wanted to do a 12Ks of Christmas, this is your chance - just on a bike. I also have it on good authority that this will be the best playlist of the year, so don’t miss out.
Ready to join us for the next Macon Bike Party?! Find more details here.