It's that time of year again. In some cities and towns, bicyclists have been invited (or permitted) to participate in their Independence Day parades. In some cases, they may be people from all walks of life.
Some cyclists enjoy the participation factor. Other cyclists belonged to organized clubs who also understood there was some discipline involving such events. Lastly there are other bicyclists who share both.
I once lived in a small town which had about 3000 people in it. It had an Independence Day parade that was somewhat homespun and didn't have a bicycling unit. On the town's bicentenial, the parade marshal approached me and asked if I wanted to start one. Word had gotten around about my bicycling exploits and adventures, and that I had recently overcome great odds in spite of my visual and other disabilities. As the section grew in later years, I asked a fellow member of the same bicycle club I belonged to who also lived nearby to ride with me. This was to help keep the bicyclists behind us from passing and creating disorder. Impressed with our being decked out in identical bicycling club outfits and with bicycles equipped with strobe lights, the parade marshal had us lead the bicycle unit this way. It works.
I don't live in that town anymore but my family does. I continue to lead the bicycle unit each Independence Day. The bicycle club I belong to also (Bicycle Coalition of Maine) has its own events, some of them are that aren't on Independence Day.
HAVE YOU RIDDEN IN PARADES? DISCUSS.
HAVE YOU RIDDEN IN PARADES IN AN ORGANIZED BICYCLING UNIT? DISCUSS.
I rode in our local parade last year. It was something our local club decided to try, so I got involved.
The slowness of the pace was a problem. Parades move at walking-speed. One has to really focus to ride that slowly. Many in our group ended up riding in circles, within our defined "space". We might have been better off in trying to stay in some sort of formation, but it was our first year in the parade, so we live and learn.
I was the only one in the group not wearing spandex. I remember thinking about halfway through the parade that seeing a group of middle-aged adults wearing tight-fitting spandex and tight-fitting jerseys was probably not going to encourage any of the kids to take up cycling .
Another Independence Day parade has happened without any problems. This year, we were decked out in our bicycle club outfits with white strobe lights in front, three PBSFs each in the back, and US Flags on our paniers.
Despite the slowness of the speed, the focus that was needed, and the discipline that is required, every rider in the unit managed to keep his/her place in the group. Behind me and my bike partner, the unit used to quickly fall into a case of near catastrophy. But this year my bike partner and myself
were able to both concentrate on what we needed to do as bicyclists as well as enjoy the holiday.
Last year, I attended a rally in Fryeburg, Maine. The people attending the rally belonged to bicycle clubs not only from across the country but from some European countries as well. Over three days, the rally had many events; one of which was a parade of over 600 bicyclists! That rally will be held there again this year. Unfortunately, I will be unable to be there.