Davis’ reputation as the most bike friendly city in the United States can now tack world record on to its growing list of honorary bike-related titles.
Over 1,000 bicyclists pedaled their way through downtown Davis on Sunday morning, with estimates showing that this bike town set the world record for longest single line of bicycles, although the estimates remain unofficial at publication time.
The World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade, organized by the Davis Odd Fellows group, a non-religious and non-political fraternal order supporting charitable organizations, managed to set a new record and raise an estimated $10,000 for Davis schools.
The record-breaking bicycle parade was a culmination of six months of organization and planning between the Davis Odd Fellows, the Davis community and the Guinness Book of World Records.
Renegotiations with Guinness had to be made to include a new record title – longest single line of bicycles – since a record for largest bike parade (set by Davis in 2007) was broken within three months by Taiwan, said Frank Giustino, the bike parade committee chair and member of Davis Odd Fellows.
This new title came with new rules, which included that the parade must continue in a single file line, with no significant gaps, along a minimum two-mile course that began and ended at the Davis Odd Fellows lodge on Second Street.
The parade used Radio Frequency Identification in order to track participants. Each bicyclist’s numbered bib also had a tag for the RFID, according to the parade rules.
Proceeds from the event registration and the post-parade Festival in Central Park benefited the Davis School Foundation (DSF).
The DSF, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for Davis schools, were named as beneficiaries of the parade proceeds as a direct response to the budget cuts in the school district, Giustino said.
Maria Ungermann, the president of the DSF, attended the bike parade and said she found it compelling to see all the people at the event.
“The leadership and organization from the outside showed how great the community support is,” she said.
Participants of almost all ages, from seven-year-olds to 97-year-olds, came from all over Northern California in anticipation of the parade.
Bob Holly, a Davis resident for 40 years, heard about the event and thought it would be a fun way to support the schools.
“At my age, this is probably my last chance at a world record,” Holly said.
Getting ready to line up, eight-year-old Casey Bishop, who participated with his mother and grandparents, came from the Bay Area to help Davis set a World Record.
“It’s going to be fun! And when I’m done I’m going to congratulate myself and celebrate with a popsicle,” Bishop said.
As the last participant crossed the finish line, the Festival in Central Park began, complete with a barbeque by the Davis Fire Department. The festival included a “Tour de Fun” area, which included a bounce house and an obstacle course. Local Davis junior and high school bands provided the music.
Festival Coordinator Deanna Chavis estimates that at least a couple thousand people attended the family-friendly festival.
Giustino, who participated in the bike parade, believes that the ‘stars were aligned’ for everything and everybody pulled through for this event.
“It couldn’t have gone better, seeing that we closed half of downtown. One hundred percent satisfaction,” Giustino said.
The Davis Odd Fellows are now considering making the World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade an annual event, with the route going along Russell for next year’s event.
JESSY WEI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. sk-sj