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Salinas Bike Party, a Community Event: Hot on Wheels

For the latest contact info, refer to Bicycling Monterey’s main resources/bike community page.

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Waiting on the light to change….
at the first Salinas Bike Party

An initial red light jumper got the word from the Salinas urban bike community.

You’ve heard “red means stop, green means go, and yellow means go a little faster,” right? Not at SBP. Instead, the word is “Play it cool, give up trying to beat the lights.”

As Salinas Bike Party’s rules state, the goal of SBP is to be a courteous social bike run, which means showing courtesy to motorists, pedestrians, and others, and following CA bike laws.

For more photos and a 30-second video from the first Salinas Bike Party, see  “7 Hot Tips for Party-Goers” on this site.

Receptivity to such input and cooperation among riders were excellent at the first Salinas party.

One of the benefits of this urban ride was increased awareness about bike laws and safely navigating traffic.

Another was the great vibe, as riders were introduced to new bike community friends.  All reinforced that biking Salinas is a safe, healthy activity.

Whether they were younger riders infusing the scene with talents, energy, and inspiration or older riders offering a bit of mentoring, the consensus among Salinas Bike Party participants was clear:  It was a very successful event.

Not least of all, it was fun!

Who and why? See the 8/6 post at Salinas

High-visibility vests…

made these volunteers very easy to spot on the route, where they guided the 45-50 or more riders along.

Organizers also brought some hi-vis bands to pass out to early arrivals at this first party.  (Click here re hi-vis stuff, including where to get an $8 vest.)

Great date night! Who says ya gotta go to the movies? Make your own action. Salinas Bike Party is way more entertaining–and it’s free!


Photo courtesy of Jan Valencia

Bike Party Rules? Got it!

If you missed the SBP rules, click here.

Photo courtesy of Jan Valencia

Staying legal

No written or on-the-road tests are required to bike in CA, as for driving, but there is a lot that bikers are expected to know! Yes, bicyclists may be warned, or ticketed and fined, if they do not follow CA bike laws.  Here’s how to avoid that:

Review all CA bike laws, along with other safe riding tips;  click here.

Among Cali laws, giving particular attention to the seven listed below will help keep  Salinas Bike Party thriving.

7 hot tips

But first, keep in mind Albert Einstein’s words of wisdom.  To paraphrase him, “Anyone who can bike safely while kissing isn’t giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”  Kiss up at a red light!

  1. Fixies are way cool, and on CA roads, they’re illegal without brakes.  Of course, some fixies have brakes, and these bikes add a very welcome spark to SBP.   No brakes? It’s recommended to fix that for party night, or ride another bike. No brakes also jeopardizes safety of others on a group ride.  If you choose to risk a ticket and ride without brakes, be sure to keep it in cruise mode–save fast riding for a track. Besides, cruising is cool for every sort of bike at SBP, since this isn’t a race, it’s a party. Get to know the other riders. (Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a).)  Heads-up:  “It starts with education…then citations.” Click here.
  2. Helmets for minors: Helmets can be nerdy–or not. If you’re under 18, wearing a helmet on party night is an SBP badge of honor, a sign that you’re keeping the Salinas Bike Party scene cool and open to minors. Are you 18 or up? Your choice. You might choose to wear one in solidarity with youth, since they are required to by law. (Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when riding on a bicycle. CVC 21212) [Sixteen-year-old Salinas teen Kyle Beardshear was a very experienced biker. One eve, he clipped his helmet to his handlebars shortly before he hit a parked car on North Main. Read Kyle’s story.]
  3. Lights, reflectors:  Click here and see section 21201 for specifics on California law. Where to get inexpensive lights and reflectors?  Click for night riding tips.
  4. Earbuds:  Leave one out, both because it’s the law and so you can hear other riders calling out obstacles, etc. Don’t jeopardize their safety, or yours. (Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears. Hearing aids are allowed. CVC 27400)
  5. Alcohol: It’s illegal and dangerous to ride a bicycle intoxicated.(Bicyclists may not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. CVC 21200.5Beyond that, are you 21 and wondering about one beer for the road while gathering? Not at SBP. Riders gather in a public parking lot, and in Salinas, it’s illegal to drink on public property, per Salinas Municipal Code Section 21-2.1.
  6. Traffic lights: “Same roads, same rules, same rights.”  (“Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations.“–Fast Facts from CA DMV.)  Salinas Bike Party riders shown at the top of this post, waiting for the light to change, get it! As with cars, if you enter an intersection on a yellow light, you must be completely through the intersection before the light turns red.  With a pack of party-goers wanting to ride with you, makes sense to chill at the yellow, not try to beat the light and leave others in the dust.  As SBP rules state, red lights are a chance to pause and get to know your fellow riders a bit more.
  7. Proper lane usage:  Know the laws about bike lanes, turn lanes, riding single file vs side-by-side, and more. See CVC Section 21202 Operation on Roadway. Refer to “Proper lane usage” further down on this web page, which includes video links on staying legal and safe when taking the lane, making a left turn, and more.
Mr. Obey
Rest stops are a great place to show off your bike tricks, and we learned:  This guy can ride his bike backwards.

Photo courtesy of Jan Valencia

Little Adele was the youngest participant in this historic first for Monterey County.

Adele had her helmet securely fastened. For her ride behind her dad’s bike in this little Chariot trailer, she was tucked in nice and cozy. When the sun went down, Dad added a warm blanket.

Dad had mounted bright red lights on the rear of the trailer and rear of his bike.  While only rear reflectors–and front light, which he also had–are required by California law, he opted for rear lights too.  Of course! He’s carrying very precious cargo.

And while only minors (under 18) are required by California law to wear a helmet, Adele’s dad wears one too, as did many other adults at the party.  Why not?  Even without considering personal safety, it’s nice to show solidarity with youth, who were reminded to wear helmets.

Velo Monterey Party Queen Cath Tendler-Valencia was among local riders participating in the first Salinas Bike Party.  As Jan Valencia / @jvalen, put it:  “@eyebabe experienced a side of cycling that didn’t involve Lycra & 11 speeds, just the joy of riding bikes & having fun.”

Jan and Cath observed Salinas Bike Party Rule #6: Leave no one behind!  They stopped with a woman who broke her chain at Main and Bernal.  (This after Jan had already kept another on the party route by changing an inner tube back at the starting point.)

After the woman whose chain meant no-go was picked up by a family member, Jan and Cath biked side roads, west of Main, before returning to their car.

Cath didn’t make it to the Bike Party finish this time, but not because she couldn’t have likely caught up with those teenage boys who were flying along.  Cath’s a century rider and a racer herself, and she had to catch some zzzzzs for a 7 a.m. Sat ride.

Besides Cath, there were other females too–Mari finally made it to a finish line that Cath hadn’t reached!

And numerous other women were riding as well….

What a great scene for making new friends, or renewing connections with old friends.

Hello, my name is….

(Photo courtesy of Jan Valencia)

About proper lane usage

What about use of bike lanes versus using lanes shared by cars?

When there’s a bike lane, it’s usually best to use it.  When you need to “take the lane” that motorists use, there’s how to do it in this site’s Cali bike laws and personal safety section.

Short of time?  Jump here, then scroll down to the subheader “Taking the lane.”  There you can watch a video on that topic, and another urban cycling video on making left turns.

Single file or side-by-side?

Is it okay to ride alongside another cyclist or must you ride single file?  Basically, whenever you are riding slow enough to impede traffic, ride single file.  See our neighboring Street Smart Santa Cruz blog’s post “Cycling Side by Side” for a detailed answer that cites California law.   For further applicable comments, from our Oregon neighbors at, see “Bike Law 101: Riding Two Abreast.”

Bicycling savvy Salinas PD

In Salinas, our police officers are pretty savvy about bicycle laws!  Avoid a ticket by reviewing the list of 7 hot tips above. Note well any PD warnings.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about bicycling laws.

Check out the Salinas cops at the bottom of this post, or those in Constables of the Peace in Monterey County.  They aren’t just bike-friendly, they are biking themselves!

Make their job easier–and help keep the party rolling–by preventing complaints about Salinas Bike Party.

How? You know–follow bike laws and safe riding practices, and be courteous to drivers, pedestrians, other bicyclists, and anyone on the roadways.  Be a welcome ambassador for SBP!

 More photos, and staying in touch with SBP

Use the hashtag #SalinasBikeParty on Twitter and elsewhere to share pics and online conversation about this event.

See more 8/3 photos, and a 30-second video, in “Salinas Bike Party:  Keep it rolling” on this site.

Get ready for the next ride, first Friday of September. [As of Nov 2012, rides are first Saturday of the month. Check SBP’s website for updates.]  To contact Salinas Bike Party, send them an email at  You may also comment on the Salinas Bike Party website or on their Facebook page.

Thanks to all SBP supporters

Thanks to those whose initiative launched this event, including the two drivers who provided “sag wagons.”  Although they were not needed (all riders made it back on their own pedal-power), it was a nice touch that showed thoughtfulness in the party planning.  Those sag wagons did refill some water bottles at rest stops!

 No official organizers, it’s said, because this is a community-borne event.
Still, somebody put out the juice to get this party rolling.
And thanks for the rocking tunes, too!

Missed the invitation?

Salinas bike shops had fliers, and fliers were handed out to riders on the bikeways, as well as invitations being extended online–including on this site.

Want some extra deets and resources for next month’s Salinas Bike Party? Read on.  But first, one more thing on the Good News for Salinas front:

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Did you know?

Salinas Neighborhood Council has a Ciclovia /Open Streets proposal!  Check it out!

At the 7/24/12 Salinas City Council meeting, Councilmember Steve McShane requested a presentation from Building Healthy Communities surrounding the proposed Ciclovia project in Salinas.

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Salinas Bike Party

Details and Resources

The info below was previously published as the invitation to the first SBP. It includes details and resources useful for future rides.  Check it out!

Bicycling Monterey knows there are many special pleasures to biking Salinas.  Now there’s another:  Monterey County’s first Bike Party!

Besides pedaling with the group, the organizers also invite you to…

Showcase your talent!

A Bike Party takes rest stops that become perfect opportunities for bike tricks and bike games,  dance off, freestyle rapping, and more.  There’s a lot of undiscovered talent out there, so let’s discover it.  Get ready!

On Twitter? Hashtag for Salinas Bike Party:  #SalinasBikeParty

Salinas Bike Party, a community event, is anticipated to be a monthly event, with the first on Fri, Aug 3.  The organizers invite “fixies, beach cruisers, lowriders, mountain, or any other bike riders, young or old, small or tall, fat or skinny, you get the point!  Let’s come together, ride together, and party together.”

It is an urban ride, sharing roads with cars, so is only appropriate for younger children if on a trail-a-bike or other carrier with a parent/adult guardian, or riding in bike trailer.

You may want to decorate your bike with lights, sound system, or other creative way.

Lend a hand

Salinas Bike Party organizers are seeking volunteers to serve as OGs (Organized Guiders AKA bike ambassadors).  If you’re savvy about riding smart and safe, contact them via email:  Some OGs do test runs of the planned party route, so they are best prepared for handling intersections, etc.

If you’re volunteering to be an OG, see fellow volunteers who are stationed by the music trailer that has a “Bike Party” sign; it is also known as the “bump n bean” trailer.  As the Salinas Bike Party rules state, follow CA bike laws to be part of the Salinas Bike Party.  Click here for bike laws and safety tips.  Or download a summary right here:

Organizers also need volunteer Swoopers, which help make sure nothing is left behind–no trash, no props, no stranded biker.   While it’s expected that bikers will abide by Salinas Bike Party Rules,  Swoopers are extremely important in case somebody missed the word.   Swoopers help maintain a good reputation with local property owners,  law enforcement, and the wider community.  Are you in?  Email them to volunteer:

Who’s coming?

In the gallery below are pictures of some of the folks who are coming.  And who knows? Maybe they’ll all be there!

If you go

Don’t wanna be dissed by fellow riders? Then play by the rules!

All riders are required to observe the Salinas Bike Party rules. Summary below.

If you like, get your tunes ready!  And remember to leave one earbud out–for safety, and to stay legal.

When and where? 

Visit for date, time, location.

How to get to the meet-up place with your bike?

Bike-and-ride Use your vehicle’s bike rack or an MST bus.  For the 8/3/12 meet-up place at Northridge Mall, see MST bus line 45 or 49.  For tips on taking your bike aboard MST, click here. 

Or, bike to Northridge; see City of Salinas Bicycle Facilities Map, a downloadable pdf, 12.59 MB, in – English and Español.

Related tips from Bicycling Monterey

Download PDF:  Leyes de ciclismo de California – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish and English) – Summary of bicycle section of CA Vehicle Code

Salinas Bike Party rules

Click here to read the rules in full [which were updated 9/4/12].

What to wear, what to wear

Organizers are extremely limited on supplies so ask everyone to bring their own reflective vest if they have one.  More about vests and such below.

Standard street wisdom

It is not recommended to wear red or blue clothing, or professional sports team apparel (e.g., Oakland Raiders, SF 49ers, Astros, Bucaneers, Colts, Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and Redskins), since these may be interpreted to indicate a gang affiliation.

Instead, choose colors such as white, yellow, or bright green.

Reflective vests and such

Consider high-visibility neon green and such to be more noticeable by cars.  You’ll sometimes find these items at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Another inexpensive source for hi-vis is Graniterock’s Seaside store ($8 vest only) or Watsonville store (big selection) or Graniterock online.

Salinas bike shops

Check out good selections of high-visibility clothing and accessories at:

Þ   Bear Bikes (in North Salinas, between Sherwood Gardens and Alvin Square; look for  neighboring Kawasaki Suzuki motorcycle dealership) – 1288 North Main, Salinas; 831/444-8460.

Þ   Bobcat Bicycles (in Oldtown Salinas, parallel to and one block east of Main) – 141 Monterey, Salinas; 831/753-7433.

Þ  Doug Chandler Performance AKA DC-10 (next to the Cycle Stop Honda shop) – 517 Abbott, Salinas; 831/422-3270.

Come party!

Ride smart and safe, make new friends, and support this new Monterey County bike community event.

Be there!

I’ve been wishing for more of a bike community in Salinas. Looks like my wish is coming true!

Hope I can get home in time for the Bike Party!  Maybe Kath and I can do some harmonies at a rest stop.

Yeah, I can get back to the ‘hood in time for Bike Party!

Looking for an answer?

Jan Valencia is Velo Club Answer Man, and he’ll be among the volunteers lending a hand at Salinas Bike Party on Aug 3.   Jan, a Salinas business owner, is happy to answer questions about stuff like navigating intersections, taking the lane to make turns, and and other bike law and safety matters.

Jess Martines, a founder of F.N.B., a fixie ride group, will be there too, likewise serving as a volunteer OG.

Below, Jess and Jan were chatting about bike infrastructure on a ride together, where they met up with a city traffic engineer to give him their take on things.

“Want to experience a Monterey County first? There’s a Bike Party in Salinas.”
“Sure, let’s go!

Hey, Dad, you think Mom will want to go to the Bike Party?
 Sounds like a good time to me!
Got my tunes ready, and One Good Earbud!
 Bike Party? We’re on our way!

Perfect. I told my friends I’d meet for tea at the Steinbeck House, then a trip to Steinbeck Center.  Now we can top that off with the Bike Party!
Who says I won’t be seen biking home after dark?

In my dreams, our entire county has excellent bike infrastructure. Til we get there, hi-vis apparel and accessories can help.

Time to put down the books and make some new friends!

We’re ready to rock and roll!  Bet I know what my little nursling will want to do at the rest stops.
Handcycles, recumbents, tandems, trail-a-bikes, fixies, mountain bikes, road bikes, toddlers in carrier seats, preschoolers in trailers…It’ll be fun to see how many different kinds of bikes show up for the Bike Party.
Party? This British teen knows that in her new home, Monterey County, she’ll have to wear a helmet. That doesn’t mean she can’t wear pearls too.

Which way to the Bike Party?

Can’t bike all the way to the ride starting point?

See Bike-and-Ride section of  Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.

Stopping at red lights, obeying all traffic laws…We’re cool with that.

Help keep the local bike scene cool

We’re fortunate in Monterey County.  Unlike some parts of the country, Salinas PD and other Monterey County Constables of the Peace are very bike-friendly, many biking themselves–on the job, or off.

Make their job easier, and support the Salinas Bike Party organizers and OGs, by brushing up on Cali’s bike laws.  See the CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety section.

Hartnell College students don’t have far to go to participate in Monterey County’s first bike party!

Photo courtesy of Frank Henderson

This post was previously published on 7/28/12.

This post was published on 4 August 2012. One or more changes last made to this post on 17 March 2020.

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