Over 250 riders gathered to take part in Valpo Parks’ Night Ride and Bike Bash on Saturday, August 20. Everyone strapped on their best reflective gear and lit up their bikes with twinkling lights to enjoy a 10-mile bike ride underneath the stars.
“This is a great way for the community on an annual basis to come together for the same cause, and that’s bike safety and just to have a good time,” said Jeff Balon, Valparaiso’s Chief of Police.
The Night Ride has been going on for several years now, but this year ValpoParks wanted to try something new. Because the Night Ride is long, it can be difficult for some people, especially younger kids, to participate. ValpoParks wanted to make the night more family-oriented, so this year they added on the very first Bike Bash.
“We’re just trying to get everyone to come out. Have a good time and add to the success of the Night Ride. Make it just a little bit bigger,” said Cristina Darr, Director of Special Events.
Many activities were going on during the Bike Bash that people of all ages could enjoy. There was a DJ playing music so people could sing and dance—not even the shyest people could resist doing the Cupid Shuffle. Chic-fil-a and Valpo Velvet each had their trucks so people could come to enjoy a pre-race snack. A station was set up for kids to get their faces painted.
The Tricycle races were the biggest highlight of the Bike Bash. The chiefs of the fire and police departments went head to head in a friendly battle while everyone cheered them on. Chief Balon blew Chief Dutz completely out of the water. When Valpo’s favorite chiefs weren’t racing, friends and family could donate $1 to race against one another.
Darr was happy to see so many people enjoying the event. She’s glad that Valpo Parks can provide the community with free and low-cost events that are fun for everyone.
“I just like seeing everyone have a good time at any of our events because we put in so many months of planning and effort trying to think of what people will enjoy,” said Darr.
The Bike Bash and Night Ride wouldn’t have been possible without all of Valpo Parks’ generous volunteers. Darr emphasized how important volunteers are in making these types of events happen, and she was incredibly grateful that so many people came out to help.
“We have a lot of support from the local schools, and the honors societies and clubs offer a lot of volunteers to help us. I think a lot of times people don’t realize the manpower it takes to put on a big event like this. We really couldn’t do it without the help of others and our volunteers,” said Darr.
Valpo Parks’ annual Night Ride has officially grown into something even more special than it already was. Valpo Parks continues to find ways to strengthen the community and bring even more people together, and this year’s edition of the Bike Bash exemplified this in the best way.
To learn more about Valpo Parks and the events they throw to bring the community together, visit https://www.valpoparks.org/.