Take a Wild Ride with Velopalooza Bike Fest, June 15-July 2

Velopalooza Bike Rave on the seawall. Photo credit: Flickr user Blue Mollusc

Velopalooza, Vancouver’s wacky pedal festival, is back June 15- July 2. If Bike to Work Week is the meat and potatoes of cycling events, Velopalooza is the ice cream sundae.

Tricked out night bike raves. Bicycle water gun wars. Bike polo. Vancouver Farmers’ Market rides. A Vintage Bike Swap.

Inspired by Portland’s Pedalpalooza, Velopalooza launched in 2010 bringing community-driven, creative bike fun to Vancouverites who commute on the city’s 400,000 kilometres (248,000 miles) of bike routes.

With over 127 Velopalooza events taking place over two weeks, it can be tricky choosing what to attend. Here’s a shortlist of Velopalooza 2012 favourites to help you narrow it down.

Cyclists dress up for a tweed bicycle ride. Photo credit: Flickr user garryknight

5 Must-Attend Velopalooza Events

Bike Rave: Friday, June 15

Among the most popular Velopalooza events, Bike Rave starts the festivities off right, from 9pm to 3am today. Cyclists download the music – a 5 hour dance party mix with locally produced tunes, classic rave tunes and 90s anthems. They deck out their bikes with speakers and all things shiny, glowy and blinky – bike lights, glow sticks and more. Everyone meets up at Crab Park prepared to illuminate the city. The route is preplanned as are the stops, so you can also join in along the way.

Morning Mass: Every morning of Velopalooza, June 15-July 2

When you meet fellow bikers at 6:15am, you’re bonded together by two things, instead of just one: cycling and sleepiness. Morning Mass is an easy and fun way to join the cyclist community and get an early workout. Riders meet at Devonian Harbour Park. The destination is always a surprise.

Hastings Park Family Bike Fest: Sunday, June 24

The Italian Gardens at Hastings Park (designed by Vancouver’s post-WWII Italian immigrants) will be full of cyclists of all ages at this family event. Cyclists will decorate their bikes, get their faces painted and choose from two rides of varying distances. They can also get a tune up and hang out with Vancouver Police Department’s bike squad.

Water Gun Bike Wars: Saturdays, June 16, June 23 and June 30

This epic battle takes place at Olympic Village three Saturdays in a row. What you’ll need to do: cycle over, load your weapons with “a clear transparent H2O solution” and prepare for a deadly bike ride.

Tweed Race: Saturday, June 30

Everything is more fun in costume. This “casual afternoon of old tyme bike racing” starts in Strathcona Park. Cyclists must don tweed (think 1892) to join in. The dress code requirements do not stop there. Men need hairy jackets. Ladies must have skirts or bloomers. If you can get a fancy hat over your helmet, all the better. There will be prizes for the winners of the race and the costume contest.

Velopalooza runs June 15-July 2, with multiple events happening every day of the festival. View the full event calendar here.

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