One of my favorite ideas for the long Fourth of July weekend is to organize a bike parade in your neighborhood or community. There is nothing more fun or adorable than a swarm of giddy kids on fully festooned bikes and wagons riding down your streets. It’s guaranteed to get everybody geared up for a good time!
Tips for organizing your own bike parade? You bet!
- Plan a simple route that will interfere the least with daily traffic, but still draw a crowd. A half-mile to a mile loop is a great length for a parade route, and the morning hours between 9:30 and 11:30 are the least busy in most areas.
- Get the word out electronically for the fastest, most effective distribution. Use e-mail, text, and facebook to spread the word to your neighbors and community and ask them to spread the word. (Remember privacy issues and don’t disclose unnecessary information!) Invite them to deck out their bikes in red, white, and blue and join in the fun. You might also invite them to bring bottled water and a treat to share after the parade.
- Invite participants to gather at least a half hour early. This will allow time for photos, chatting, organization and relaying information to parade riders.
- Have an emergency kit ready for kids or bikes. Keep tears at a minimum by keeping a small emergency kit on hand in the event that a child or a bike takes a spill: alcohol wipes, ointment, bandages, duct tape, twist ties, and clothespins.
- Sandwich the parade with adults. For safety, be sure that adults are leading the parade as well as drawing up the rear with all the kids safely inside! Equip someone at both ends with a whistle to signal a problem or a stop.
- Notify the media. Let your local paper or news station know of your plans. Few things are more fun for kids than seeing themselves in the paper or on TV.
- Take lots of photos. Lots and lots.
- Don’t forget the music. Bring a stereo along to blast out some parade-worthy tunes.
- Refresh! At the end of the loop, break out the bottled water and refreshments—the perfect end to a bike parade!
Have you participated in a holiday bike parade? What worked and what didn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Plus, download free bike decorations here.