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Summer (Bike) Fun: Bike Prom
Guest post from David Eyer Davis, Executive Director of the Bicycle Collective in Salt Lake City, UT, which kicks off the summer with an annual Bike Prom.
As a community, we wanted to make an approachable event that gave bike riders from all backgrounds a chance to get together and celebrate. As an organization, we wanted an unpretentious gala that incorporated a bike ride where anyone could participate in without breaking a sweat.
Prom is one of those common touchstones that most of us look back on with a chuckle, and we liked the idea of re-imagining it for bicyclists as flamboyantly as possible.
Bike Prom is akin to the high school edition — but with bicycles, a bar, and a good cause. For weeks before, people get on social media and make outfit plans, ask out their datess, and generally talk it up.
We gather in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, shooting pictures of the best couples and their rides. People really go all out, decking out their old cruisers the way you'd decorate a classic Chevy Impala for a wedding, streamers and flowers and garish colors. People bring tandems, cruisers, and cobbled-together freakbikes.
It's part elegance, part greaser decadence, part ironic, and all fun.
We ride our way through downtown, ringing bells and causing a scene. Unlike rides that are less colorful and approachable, Bike Prom is always greeted with waves and cheers from car drivers and passersby. Like a New Orleans second line, it's a party in the streets.
Once we get to the venue we cut a rug, drink, take photos, and celebrate our successes as a non-profits community bicycle center in the past year.
We auction off bicycle esoterica and high-end stuff to support the work we do, and every year people look fabulous. In 2014, we had a most spectacular facial hair award, won by a dapper Dali mustache, and two women had a spirited model walk-off (a la Zoolander, of course) for most fashionable outfit. We have Peewee Herman look-alikes, often, with precious little red bicycles. One year, a guy inexplicably spent the entire night in chippendales attire, a thong and a bow-tie.
Bike Prom is the only annual gala for the Bicycle Collective. At the Bicycle Collective, we promote cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier, and safer society. The Collective provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to the community, focusing on children and lower income households, at a rate of over 3000 a year at 6 locations across the state of Utah. We have a ton of support in the work we do and like to throw an annual party to bring everyone together, but non-cyclists and non-volunteers join the fray, too.
In 2013 we had 240 people attend Bike Prom. Last year it swelled to 450 people — and this year, 2015, we broke 1,000.
Learn more about the Bicycle Collective at www.bicyclecollective.org