Baltimoreans from Mount Vernon to Canton were surprised last Friday night to see ET, Spiderman, fairies, zombies and aliens, among hundreds of other supernatural figures, biking through their neighborhoods in droves. Over 1,300 bikers clad in Halloween costumes, howling and hollering into the night, joined the Baltimore Bike Party’s rowdy “Halloween Brew-Ha-Ha” celebration.
The 12-mile ride began at the Washington Monument, looped though Harbor East, Fell’s Point and Canton, and ended at the Union Craft Brewery on the 1700 block of Union Avenue in Woodberry.
The Baltimore Bike Party was formed by a small group of volunteers who host bike rides around the city every month. Tronster Hartley is a volunteer.
“It is amazing how its grown exponentially,” said Hartley. “We had 70 riders August 2011 and there were over 700 riders this past August.”
The rides are open to anyone who wants to participate. Their message to potential riders is simple.
“Come ride and party through the great streets of Baltimore City with all your friends the last Friday of every month!”
The rides usually culminate in an after-party with deals on food and drinks for riders. On Friday it was a $10 all-you-can-drink special at Union Craft Brewery.
“When we started last May with 60 riders, we had no idea that by August we would be breaking 700,” Brian O’Doherty, a core member and organizer of the Baltimore Bike Party, said.
According to O’Doherty, Tim Barnett, another volunteer, chiefly organized October’s ride. This month, the group was hoping to break 1,000 bikers for the Halloween-inspired ride.
“This month’s theme is pretty obvious, we want to see everyone in costume! We want you in costume, your bike in costume, your cat in a basket dressed like E.T.,” the group said in a message to their Facebook followers.
“Fantastic time. It was an amazing experience to be part of the hundreds of lighted riders and see the wonderment in the eyes of those we passed by.
While riding on Fulton Street, some little kids in a row house were so excited they just jumped up and down screaming. That was one of my high points,” said one of the riders.
Jason Schubert, a Fell’s Point resident, was in shock when he exited the movies to find the streets flooded with bikers in costume.
“The line of bikers was never-ending. I have never seen anything like that before! I thought it was going to be just another uneventful night at the movies,” Schubert said.
By Leslie Spacek
Special to the Baltimore Guide