Saturday, March 12, 2011

Denver B-cycle St. Paddy's Day parade extravaganza

Greened up and ready to go. Note the guy wearing the Dan Maes shirt in the background. Photo thanks to Sandy.
Although it's not yet St. Patrick's Day, that little temporal detail didn't stop the Denver St. Patrick's Day parade from happening today. It was the first time I've ever been in a parade, and although the route was short, the experience was enlightening. There was a lot more wandering around, hanging out, talking, and waiting in the staging area than I anticipated when envisioning what it meant to be in a parade. In hindsight, waiting is logically a big part of the event from a participant's point of view.
Denver B-cycle number 088 was my ride for the day.
The day started earlier than I'm used to being awake on a Saturday. Julie says I appear to be more compelled to get up and go when bikes are involved. I give her credit for a well founded observation. After a train ride to Five Points and a 10-minute walk I was at the Denver Bike Sharing headquarters at 7:40 am. When I got there, I saw a number of friends and colleagues, as well as this long awaited machine:
The bike is full of cool details, such as the gracefully curved fender stays that wrap around the tail light.
The bike above is a sneak peak of the new Perk Cycle, the two-wheeled distribution vehicle of Wash Perk's coffee, always served with a free side of good cheer. Owners Teri and Debbi are entrepreneurs who, among other things, are working to envision a bicycling focused business community in the city. The bike will be the subject of its own much more detailed post in the near future. Suffice it to say for now, the bike is an impressive feat of engineering and craftsmanship from Jamie and Phil of Metrofiets in Portland.

Debbi and Teri with the Perk Cycle.
After fueling up with some of Wash Perk's delicious coffee and pastries, a couple hundred Denver B-cycle riders mounted their bikes and took a short ride to the parade holding area.
The bikes are back!
The observant reader will notice that, in the spirit of the event, I'm wearing my green Rivendell cap. Once again, thanks to Sandy for the photo.
Jay was more daring than most, sporting shorts on a deceptively cool day that peaked at about 55F.
In no time at all, we reached the staging area, and subsequently found ways to entertain ourselves for 2.5 hours in the vast parking lot. Many of us made several laps looking at sparkly and colorful things and/or somewhat staggering people. A few riders even displayed some trick riding prowess on B-cycles. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos, which may be fortuitous for some of the riders.
In lieu of trick riding, I give you the Mantruk of the International Order of Rocky Mountain Goats.
A megaphone and green mustache are natural extensions of Ben's persona.
Emily and Sandy were a couple of my charming companions during the wait for our turn in the parade.
Steve surveys the action. Appropriately, his key green item is a Starbucks apron. Actually, I'm surprised that Starbucks hasn't had a suit tailored for him. He'd certainly wear it.
At many levels, it's difficult to have much more of a commitment to green than Parry.
It turns out that we were about the third to last group in the parade. Eventually things started moving and we actually started parading. By the time we passed by, most of the parade viewers had seemingly shed many of the inhibitions they might have had, which is probably not uncommon for a St. Patrick's Day parade.
Serious parading under way.
Going past Coors Field.
Nearing the end of the route as we approach Union Station.
I discovered that parading is hunger inducing work for participants and spectators alike. After I checked my bike in to its assigned station, my personal allotment of spectators and I made our way to Taki's for a late lunch. In all, it was a good day for green people on red bikes.
Coincidentally, the cap is the same color as edamame, her favorite.
If you missed out on riding in the parade, you can create your own red bike adventure in a couple of days. Denver B-cycle will be open to the public once again starting Monday morning. It's quick and easy to sign up online, or to give it a try by signing up at any station in the system.


  1. Fun post! Thanks for the coverage for those of us who couldn't be there.

  2. Wow, you're fast! I was still fussing around with this long post, not realizing someone may be reading it, and actually added another photo. The parade was fun, but from a participant standpoint I think I'm full up on parades for another long while.

  3. Great Pictures, Andy! We had a great time with the group today.