San Jose Bike Party

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San Jose Bike Party
FormationOctober 2007; 16 years ago (2007-10)[1]
Typenon-profit corporation
Purposebicycle events
  • San Jose, California Edit this at Wikidata
San Jose Bike Party
Datesthird Fridays
Location(s)route announced 1-2 days before ride
Participantsover 1000 in Summer

San Jose Bike Party is a monthly social bicycle ride event in and around San Jose, California held on the third Friday of every month. Attendance varies with weather and time of year, usually ranging from hundreds in the winter months to low thousands in the summer. Established in 2007, it is the original 'bike party' now replicated in other cities around the world.[2][1][3] Its motto is "Building community through cycling".[2]

Monthly ride[edit]

panorama of San Jose Bike Party including crowd with lots of bicycles at a regroup point on June 21, 2019
San Jose Bike Party at a regroup point on June 21, 2019

San Jose Bike Party's rides are on the 3rd Friday of each month. The ride begins at 8pm, with a suggested meet-up time of 7:30pm.[1]

There is a different route and title theme for each month. The distance ranges from 15–30 miles. The route is announced on email, the web site and social media 24–48 hours before the ride.[1][3] The relatively short notice of the route announcements started as a preventative measure against unruly riders who caused some mischief.[4]

Regroup points[edit]

San Jose Bike Party at regroup point on July 19, 2019
San Jose Bike Party at regroup point on October 18, 2019

Two regroup points along the route allow everyone to catch up. They serve as rest and party stops. The overall pace is slow enough that some families bring their kids. The regroup points often have food trucks and DJ'ed music.[1][3]

Nighttime rides[edit]

The 8pm start time, after the evening commute, means the regular monthly rides are always night rides. The ride starts before sunset from May to August at San Jose's latitude.[5]

California law requires lights and reflectors for cycling on public streets at night.[6]

November 2018 ride cancellation[edit]

EPA air quality map showing unhealthy air in the SF Bay Area due to smoke from the Camp Fire on the day of SJ Bike Party's November 2018 ride cancellation

San Jose Bike Party usually rides regardless of weather. The ride of November 16, 2018 was the first time a ride was cancelled. The reason for the cancellation was unhealthy air quality. The entire Bay Area was affected by wind-blown smoke from the Camp Fire far to the north in Butte County.[7][8] For 2 days including the day of the monthly ride, the Air quality index in the Bay Area exceeded 200, a level indicating "very unhealthy" air.[9]

The same route from the cancelled ride was rerun, as well as the "Cartoon/Anime Ride" theme, in June 2019 under direction of the same ride leader volunteer who had originally prepared it.[10]

2020 cancellations & virtual rides[edit]

The COVID-19 pandemic caused all bicycle parties to be cancelled from March to July 2020. From August 2020 to June 2021, the bike parties were hosted as virtual events.

Emphasis on civility and safety[edit]

San Jose Bike Party at a regroup point on May 17, 2019

San Jose Bike Party differentiates itself from protest rides such as nearby San Francisco's Critical Mass. Bike Party is a social event, not a protest.[11][4] The organization encourages riders to ride safely, obey rules of the road and set a good example for others as much as possible. They repeatedly remind riders of 6 rules as "How we ride".[12][13]

  • Stop at lights
  • Stay to the right
  • Pack your Trash
  • Roll Past Conflict
  • Ride Sober
  • Be nice

Making a point about safety is relevant. Accidents and injuries have occasionally occurred.[14][15]

Visits by politicians[edit]

Mostly during election seasons, San Jose's Mayor and City Council members or candidates for those offices have ridden with San Jose Bike Party.[16][17][4] City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio wrote an op-ed for San Jose Inside about his experience riding with Bike Party in March 2009.[18]

Bike Party has also attracted visiting politicians. There have been two occurrences of participation by mayors of sister city Dublin, Ireland. In both cases a special event ride was arranged on a weekend afternoon with a shorter route to fit the schedule of the Mayor's visit to San Jose. The ride for Lord Mayor Andrew Montague was on March 11, 2012.[19][20][21] The ride for Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn was on March 9, 2014.[22][23][24][25]

Bike to the Bay 2019 group on the Guadalupe River Trail on October 13, 2019

San Jose Bike Party has since 2016 assisted organizing the annual "Bike to the Bay" event led by Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. It is a group bicycle ride held in October along the Guadalupe River Trail from near downtown to Alviso Marina County Park for the Day on the Bay festival.[26][27]


Established in 2007, San Jose Bike Party was the original 'bike party', now replicated in other cities.[2][1][3] It was originally founded as an informal association. It later achieved non-profit incorporation in 2014 so it could accept donations and work with the city on events. The organization can use the Volunteer Protection Act to shield volunteers from liability when acting on behalf of the organization. It remains an all-volunteer organization with no employees.[28]


San Jose Bike Party was awarded "2019 Environmental Organization of the Year" by the Santa Clara County chapter of the League of Conservation Voters.[29] A San Jose Bike Party social media post included a photo of the LCV award and a "Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition" signed September 26, 2019 by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.[30]

See also[edit]

San Jose Bike Party assembling for departure at start point on May 17, 2019
San Jose Bike Party at a regroup point on June 21, 2019


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Frequently Asked Questions". San Jose Bike Party. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". San Jose Bike Party. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Grobelny, Kasia; Goode, Lauren (April 21, 2014). "San Jose Bike Party is not your typical Silicon Valley cycling group". SF Gate/San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Gonzales, Sandra (October 20, 2010). "San Jose Bike Party, monthly ride attracts thousands of die-hard bicyclists, but no politics". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "San Jose, California, USA — Sunrise, Sunset, and Daylength". Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "California Bicycle Laws". California Bicycle Coalition. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "EPA AirNow Air Quality Maps Archives". United States Environmental Protection Agency. November 16, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "Cartoon/Anime Ride! Nov 16 Cancelled!". San Jose Bike Party. November 16, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Morrison, Lily; Chen, Amy; Linou, Natalia; Linos, Eleni (November 23, 2018). "California wildfires: I am simultaneously worried about my own health, my patients, and my children". The BMJ Opinion. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "SJBP: The Cartoon / Anime Ride". San Jose Bike Party. June 19, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Richards, Gary (August 19, 2009). "Roadshow: San Jose Bike Party hits the road Friday". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  12. ^ "How We Ride!". San Jose Bike Party. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  13. ^ Moreno de Thompson, Flora (April 28, 2017). "San Jose Bike Party". Content Magazine. SV Creates. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "Cyclist Hit, Seriously Hurt During SJ Bike Party". NBC Bay Area. August 21, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  15. ^ Salonga, Robert (July 22, 2013). "Campbell: Hit-and-run driver sought after injuring bicyclists in San Jose Bike Party". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  16. ^ Boone, Andrew (July 25, 2014). "San Jose Candidates Campaign, Pitch Public Safety at SJ Bike Party". Streetsblog SF. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  17. ^ Boone, Andrew (October 1, 2014). "San Jose Candidates Campaign at Bike Party, Bike Life Festival". StreetsBlog SF. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  18. ^ Oliverio, Pierluigi (March 30, 2009). "San Jose Bike Party". San Jose Inside. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Gottschalk, Mary (March 2, 2012). "Special Irish Ride planned when Dublin lord mayor visits San Jose". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "Special Event : The Mayor Ride – Sunday, Mar 11th 10am @City Hall". San Jose Bike Party. February 29, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  21. ^ "Reflections : The Mayor Ride". San Jose Bike Party. March 11, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  22. ^ Pizarro, Sal (March 3, 2014). "Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn to join San Jose Bike Party ride". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  23. ^ "Irish Mayor Attends South Bay Bike Party". NBC Bay Area. March 9, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  24. ^ "2nd Annual Dublin Ireland Mayor's Ride". San Jose Bike Party. March 2, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  25. ^ "St. Patrick's Day a bit early in San Jose". San Jose Bike Party. March 10, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  26. ^ "Bike To The Bay 2019". San Jose Bike Party. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  27. ^ "2016 Year in Review". San Jose Bike Party. December 23, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  28. ^ Wadsworth, Jennifer (November 19, 2014). "San Jose Bike Party Incorporates to Pursue Nonprofit Status". San Jose Inside. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  29. ^ "Environmental Award Recipients". Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  30. ^ "San Jose Bike Party is the "2019 Environmental Organization of the Year"". Twitter. September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.

External links[edit]