The 4th Annual MPLSBikeLove.Com birthday party was held this past Saturday at Brackett Park in South Minneapolis. I have made at least the last three of these, and they have always been at Brackett Park. Usually we get rained on a little bit, eat potluck picnic food, stand around and talk and generally have a good time.
This year's picnic was a little more special, though. The 2010 event was billed as the "Bike Love is Dead - Long Live Bike Love!" party. The name is apt because the old forum will be going away at some point in the future to make room a new and improved platform that will be easier to maintain and have improved functionally.
Although I am not much of a socialite, it's fun to meet people you usually only interact with on-line, and by now I've met quite a few Bike Lovers, so there's always a few people I know, and others I'd like to get to know, at these kinds of gatherings. Many Bike Lovers are a little quirky (myself included), but without a doubt, the Bike Lovers are the most accepting community I have ever seen - there are not many hardcore roadies (a stereotypically judgmental and stand-offish scion of the bike community), but brakeless fixie riders rub elbows with triple chain-ring tourers and commuters are as welcome as ultra-marathon riders at these gatherings. It's very refreshing.
slacklining (a surprisingly large number of people can do this). This year we were treated to a visit by Ari Gold. Ari is a guy that's riding his bike around the world. Seriously. He's got a highly customized bike (an old Specialized Stumpjumper with a Spiderflex Saddle, ape-hanger bars, some unique waterbottle mounts, and about 150 pounds of gear strapped to it.
I am not sure exactly where he is on his journey, but he started in Las Vegas, had some mis-adventures with Canadian Customs and Immigration, and is now couch-surfing in Minneapolis for a week or so. He happened to find out about the picnic from a local bike shop and rolled over to make the scene. It's an amazing story and Ari is quite a character. He has a website and a Photobucket page that I checked out (I emailed him links to my photos from the picnic, so you might see some of them on his Photobucket, used with my permission).
Ari is seriously looking for sponsors, so if you want to support him, I can give you his email address. I am sure he would appreciate it.
I didn't stick around for the ride and Alleycat, but it sounds like those went well and I am glad I went to this. Thanks to hereNT and the admins for setting up MPLSBikeLove and keeping it running. I have never seen a more successful platform for bringing cyclists together and advancing bike advocacy.
Long live Bike Love!