Night Ride: Party on wheels this weekend at the Brooklyn Bike Rave
'A Mobile Fourth of July… Where Everyone Is Their Own Fireworks.'
On a typical evening by the Brooklyn waterfront, onlookers are treated to a host of luminosities.
Although there are no stars to gaze at, there is the flickering of boats in the harbor, the headlights of cars sitting on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the buildings of Manhattan reflecting off the river.
But come Saturday, there will be a parade of lights of all shapes, sizes and colors whirling and whizzing down the shores of the borough.
The radiant procession is part of the second annual Brooklyn Bike Rave, a unique event where hundreds of cyclists party and pedal en masse down a 7-mile route spanning Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, the Navy Yard and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
This one-of-a-kind celebration is hosted by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI), a nonprofit committed to the creation, development and upkeep of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 26-mile bike path along the waterfront.
“All of our events are a way to engage the public in our mission work,” BGI Co-Founder and Executive Director Brian McCormick told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“We thought this would be a unique opportunity to raise the visibility, the visibility because it’s a mobile Fourth of July on wheels where everyone is their own fireworks. It’s a mass expression of individuality and creativity.”
The Greenway currently spans 14 miles from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge, but proceeds from the Brooklyn Bike Rave will go towards completing the final 12 miles.
Attendees are encouraged to dress up extravagantly and adorn their bikes with glow sticks, LED bulbs and Christmas lights as they ride through the night.
Similar events have been held in Auckland, New Zealand, and Vancouver, but to the knowledge of BGI, the Brooklyn Bike Rave is the first of its kind in America.
BGI launched the trip to create more evening events and after it saw how popular the celebrations were in other countries.
Participants will have the exclusive opportunity of pedaling through the streets of the urban industrial park that is the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“What’s unique is that [attendees] are passing through urban environments and really connected and engaged with the community that they’re passing through,” McCormick told the Eagle.
“We had quite a lot of people cheering last year, spontaneous cheering. I mean who’s spontaneous in New York? We all have stressful lives. People were coming out and clapping and hooting and hollering.”
After looping through Brooklyn Bridge Park, the event will finish under the iconic archway beneath the Manhattan Bridge for an after-party with music, refreshments and lots of revelry.
Cyclists are encouraged to bring portable speakers so that they can livestream a show specifically curated for the night ride on Newtown Radio.
Asked why he thought an event like this would thrive in Brooklyn, McCormick answered candidly.
“Brooklyn rocks,” he said. “We’re innovative over here. Just look at the creativity and business incubation and the burst of events and activities and creative enterprises. Brooklyn is the epicenter of innovating.
“We’re fortunate to have that opportunity of being part of that innovation system, not only with the Bike Rave, but also for the development of the Greenway itself.”
The Brooklyn Bike Rave will start at 1 Commercial St. in Greenpoint. Check-in is slated for 7 p.m. and the journey will start an hour later.
Tickets can be purchased at brooklyngreenway.org/event/brooklyn-bike-rave.
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