Successful Weekend of Bicycle Valet Parking at Berkeley Kite Festival!

Bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, kites, more bikes!! Photo courtesy Rich City Rides

Bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, kites, trailers, bikes, child seats, scooters, bikes, more bikes!!
Photo credit Rich City Rides

Albany Strollers & Rollers partnered with Richmond’s Rich City Rides to provide free Bicycle Valet Parking at the 29th Annual Berkeley Kite Festival at César Chávez Park this past weekend.

Najari Smith checks in a family riding a road bike, a trail-a-bike and a Burley trailer Photo credit Francesco Papalia

Najari Smith checks in a family riding a road bike, a trail-a-bike and a Burley trailer
Photo credit Francesco Papalia

Organizer Tom McAlister runs a huge regional event so we knew we would have to pull out all the stops in order to park all the bikes – he expected as many as 1000 over the weekend.

Crunch time! Photo credit Francesco Papalia

Crunch time!
Photo credit Francesco Papalia

Both organizations brought all our portable bike racks (a total of 36) and volunteers who were ready to work hard, and that’s a good thing –  we parked MORE THAN 1200 BIKES over the weekend! With many of the bikes accommodating more than one person – some as many as 4 per vehicle – that’s a lot of people who took advantage of our services to get to the festival in the most fun, healthy, stress-free and convenient way possible.

Najari checks out the variety of bikes that we parked Photo credit Francesco

Najari checks out the variety of bikes that we parked
Photo credit Francesco

There were unicycles, scooters, cruisers, sleek road bikes, tandems, kids’  bikes, trail-a-bikes, mountain bikes, Xtracycles, folders, folding tandems, bikes with all types of child seats, balance bikes, plenty of parents towing trailers, combinations of the above, strollers… I must be forgetting something! Every one of them was entrusted to Albany Strollers & Rollers and Rich City Rides. Their owners and passengers enjoyed a fabulous festival, and when they were finished we returned their bikes to them – no need to lock or worry! Our “Moved by Bikes Valet Racks” were equal to the task, easy to set up and sturdy for the loads.

Yes, there were kites! Photo credit Amy Smolens

Yes, there were kites!
Photo credit Amy Smolens

A handful of the volunteers from both RCR and AS&R had the special privilege of attending the event’s Wrap Party & Dinner Cruise courtesy of Tom McAlister, a Hornblower Cruise on the Bay. We went under the Bay Bridge, along the San Francisco City coast, up-close-and-personal past Alcatraz and back to the Berkeley Marina – a beautiful reward for a job well done!
Thanks to all of AS&R’s volunteers who took time out of their busy schedules to help out this past weekend – Angela Armendariz, Joseph Friedman, Preston Jordan, Ken McCroskey, Tenisha & Griffin Neal (12-year-old Griffin was an incredibly hard worker!,) Francesco Papalia, Nick Pilch, Sherie Reineman and John Steinberg.
To give you an idea of just how slammed we were, I didn’t have a meaningful conversation with one single new person about advocacy or issues – for those of you who know me, you understand that means we were parking and retrieving bikes consistently all day from setup through wrap. A mathematical way to look at Sunday is this: the Festival ran from 10a-6p, which is 8 hours, which is 480 minutes. We parked 700 bikes Sunday, meaning 1400 transactions (park + retrievals) – so that’s almost 3 transactions a minute for 8 straight hours.
We hope the rest of you will consider joining us next year, or at our next Bicycle Valet Parking endeavor – we sure could have used you!
Special thanks go to to fellow New Yorker Najari Smith, Director of Rich City Rides, for working with me over the past few weeks to organize this daunting undertaking and recruiting so many enthusiastic RCR volunteers.  He’s a pleasure to work with and I’m sure our organizations will be teaming up again in the future!

For many volunteers, a hard day of work was capped off by a beautiful Hornblower Dinner Cruise on the San Francisco Bay, courtesy of event organizer Tom McAlister

For many volunteers, a hard day of work was capped off by a beautiful Hornblower Dinner Cruise on the San Francisco Bay, courtesy of event organizer Tom McAlister. Photo credit Francesco Papalia

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