On a slightly chilly, kinda grey, but not yet officially rainy Saturday morning, over two dozen riders trickled into the parking lot at Roosevelt Elementary. We were assembling at one of the starting points for Olympia’s annual Earth Day Market Ride. Always on the Saturday nearest Earth Day, this year it fell on the actual date.
I worked the crowd with the waiver people needed to sign, which I, a non-lawyer, summarized as “we can take your picture, you won’t sue Intercity Transit”. It’s Intercity Transit because, much to their credit, they fund the staff capacity it takes to organize bicycle community challenges and rides like this one, along with their Walk N Roll youth bike education program.
It’s been a long time since I participated in an organized bike ride purely as a volunteer. That’s where I got my start in my current career, mind you, founding Bike to Work Spokane (now Spokane Bikes) and organizing events for what was originally called Bike to Work Week (now it’s Bike Everywhere). Through a series of serendipitous twists and turns in a path, that led to roles that mean I’m involved in bike rides and events playing an official part because of a title. Since starting in a profession grounded in bicycling I’ve often been at events away from my hometown, not riding with neighbors. The Earth Day ride leader happened because my friend Stefanie, who was leading the ride, asked if I wanted to join her.
It was delightful! The ride goes off rain or shine; we lucked out, as it never really truly rained, although we felt a touch of “veggie mister” a few times. The slide show below shares a few images.
Our group and others converged on Heritage Park in downtown Olympia. Stefanie’s husband Corey used her e-bike with the bakfiets configuration to pick up a batch of pastries at San Francisco Bakery and met us there.
The usual bike event activities ensued: People stood in line for coffee, juice boxes for the kids, and snacks; organizer Duncan Green held drawings for a few prizes (bike events are required to give stuff away, it seems); Lacey City Councilwoman Robin Vazquez made remarks from atop the ladder set up for announcements and photography; we took a big group photo; then Stefanie and I led the group of a couple of hundred or so(?) people of all ages, sizes, and bike/trike types through downtown to the Olympia Farmers’ Market.
I grabbed some shaky cell-phone video and a few photos along the way. My favorite moment was all the riders streaming around the traffic circle in front of the market and pulling off to find a spot to park their bikes. I’m sure we boosted the market’s take that day; I know I did! Ate some pastries, bought some herb starts and eggs, and rode home with Stefanie and Corey along the waterfront, happy to have been part of it.
Olympia Earth Day Market Ride arrives at the market, pedaling through the roundabout. pic.twitter.com/CZss3w7nN6
— Barb Chamberlain (@BarbChamberlain) April 22, 2023