The west side of Toomey Field
World's Largest Bicycle Parade 2007 Attempt
Sweet victory and bitter defeat occurred in 2007 for the bicycle enthusiast in the City of Davis. On March 3, 2007 the UC Davis Aggie Pack with help from the City of Davis orchestrated a successful attempt to break the world record for Largest Bicycle Parade. With an unofficial count of over 900 bikes and an official count of 822 bikes, the previous record of 641 bikes was broken. Unfortunately by the time Aggie Pack organizers received the Guinness Certificate of Authentication the record was already broken by Taipei City, Taiwan with 1,901 bicyclists.
The 2007 event was generally considered a success. With limited budget and time the Aggie Pack was able to effectively organize the event under Guinness specifications. The meet time for the event was at 3pm at Toomey Field. The 2.1 mile route zig zagged through campus and ended in front of the ARC Pavilion. The record attempt was part of a promotion to advertise a UC Davis Men's Basketball Game that evening and to encourage greater relations between the City of Davis and campus.
The Guinness World Records website at http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/travel_and_transport/bikes_and_motorbikes/largest_parade_of_bicycles.aspx lists the current record.
World's Largest Bicycle Parade 2008 Attempt
The 2008 Attempt falls short.
A "Sacbee" story says the Davis attempt at 3PM on Saturday, March 1, 2008 at Aggie Stadium fell "shy" of breaking the world record for "World’s Largest Bicycle Parade!" In 2008, the Aggie Pack was more organized by attempting to promote to a greater percentage of Davis residents. The goal was to CRUSH the record with over 5,000 bikes, but fewer than 1,900 showed. Even after last-minute "mass text messages, a cell phone campaign and a run through the freshman dorms" the attempt fell short of Taipei City's record. Unofficially, the event attracted 1838 people which was less than a 100 shy of the record.
Rules for the Events
The rules as established by Guinness are simple:
All participants must be riding a bicycle, which is defined as a two wheeled vehicle powered by only pedaling (sorry no training wheels, unicycles, etc.)
All Bicycles must travel minimum two mile route and all bicycles must cross the start line (near the the Pavilion) and the finish line (near the UC Davis Pavilion).
There should be no significant gaps in the parade and also bikes should not be clumped in large groups.
Passing the Bike Barn other riders visible in the distance
approaching the ARC Rider 487 Rider 517
Some of the riders from the roof of the West Entry Parking Structure Wiki riders in the midst of the crowd Riders 486 and 487
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2007-03-03 20:37:31 Average speed of the ride as recorded by my bike computer: 6.1 mph. That actually seemed a bit high to me, as I was going 3.5 for a lot of the ride. It was difficult to keep on my bike at times because the parade was so slow. —WilliamLewis
2007-03-03 20:56:38 Was the record broken? —StevenDaubert
2007-03-03 21:00:35 Yes, the record was broken. The guy with the loudspeaker at the end gave a number in the low 900s. —WilliamLewis
2007-03-03 21:36:58 I've got a photo of rider 909, saw 912 and heard 93? as the total.(Photos Above) —AlexMandel
2007-03-04 01:14:55 I am so, so damn pissed I missed this event. I seriously wish this was more publicized, I would've gladly canceled work to participate. —AlexanderHo
2007-03-04 01:18:32 The publicity on this event sucked ass. I'm surprised and impressed that Aggie Pack pulled this off. I was impressed to see a large number of townies at this event. I think that cellphones had a lot to do with the large turnout. One one had, 900 is impressive, on the other hand, come on, this is Davis. Is 900 the best we can do? Also, having us ride single-file was bullshit, we should have been allowed to leave two or three wide. —ArlenAbraham
2007-03-04 07:50:51 As someone who was towing a trailer I was a little annoyed that due to Guinness standards I was not longer considered to be riding a bike and as such didn't have a number. So keep in mind that in addition to the Guinness total that there were several people with trailers who were not counted. One additional set of publicity that may have brought out some of the townies was that this event was mentioned at the bike event at the Varsity the other night. —JasonAller
So perhaps the title of this record should be amended to include a parenthetical component: "World's Largest Bicycle (but not bikes-pulling-trailers) Parade". —CarlMcCabe
Or maybe we need to suggest, Largest Bicycles with Trailers Parade... but this time try to hold it somewhere to coincide with Farmer's Market as that is a location that draws a lot of trailer enhanced bikes. —JasonAller
2007-03-04 12:05:48 as far as publicity....they also put an ad in the davis enterprise. an there were a few reminder e-mails. —AlexandraKollantai
2007-03-04 12:30:49 I saw it in the enterprise myself, but confirmed via the wiki, of course. Kind of low on the fun scale, but it had to be done, right? Seems like the aggie pack had the resources at their disposal, so good for them. I did like how someone had ridden over the signs along the route. A wee bit of chaos in an otherwise pretty controlled event. That and the jocks yelling "USA! USA!" was pretty funny. -#117 —JeffShaw
2007-03-04 14:20:18 I think they should make this an annual event with some supporting events around it. Entertainment, BBQ, etc. —DavidGrundler
2008-01-30 02:49:20 As far as I heard it's still Taiwan. Unless Budapest went through the process and specifications of Guinness, it doesn't count. There are strict rules about what constitutes a parade and making the count official. —ChrisPerry
Guinness has no more claim to arbitrating what constitutes an "official" world record than the Sultan of Brunei.
2008-03-02 10:35:04 The Sacbee story referenced above ends with this quote:
"We will try again," said Davis Mayor Sue Greenwald. "It's an important statement about bicycling and alternative forms of transportation of which Davis is at the forefront."
I applaud the sentiment ... except the part about "important": this felt pretty trivial. There need to be rules, but the rules have little to do with alternative transport. The tie to the Athletic Department ... is only a source for the necessary labor to pull off this event (as in, we're not athletes, and I don't want a ticket to the basketball game — although it was a nice gesture). They're saying this is an annual event now, and I would guess it was my final participation. —DougWalter
2008-03-02 13:10:12 The Aggie Pack tried everything they could within their resources to reach out to as many Davis residents as possible. If that includes allowing all participants of the parade into a basketball game, then so be it. If this record is to be broken, we'll need the support of as many Davis cyclists as possible. And if anybody else has any possible resources to tap into, I am sure that would help benefit the cause. —tlongman
2008-03-02 14:43:11 I think and would hope that the people of Davis could muster a more effective/attractive way of promoting bicycles and the bike lifestyle, than via a bike parade whose main objective seems to be to attempt to break some world record. The parade, as far as I know, neither does nothing to encourage biking among the general population, nor does it advance the bicycle infrastructure of Davis, or of any other city. As a side note, I don't think it's reasonable to expect a competitive parade turnout in Davis, when Taipei has a population of >2 million. —LeonardMarque
There are many who have that competitive urge, and who feel a small city like Davis can TOO beat that big city in Taiwan! As my previous comment indicates, I generally agree about the event not promoting "the bike lifestyle." The only real purpose was to break a record (and, secondarily, promotion of UCD athletics). However, it is empowering to be among 1800 bicycles & bicyclists, whether for a critical mass ride, parade ride, or half-century ride. —DougWalter
2008-03-02 17:02:57 In response to the comments that the bike parade doesn't promote bicycle use: I had several friends come from outside Davis to ride in the parade. After dusting off their old bikes that were in the garage for years, they said they were going to try to bike more. That's not to say that they are suddenly going to ditch their cars in favor of bikes, but it got some people thinking about biking more.
I do question the need to have us line up AGAIN after the parade just to turn in our sticker, walk though the basketball pavilion, and sign some banner. It might have been more efficient (and less paper wasted) if we could have returned the stickers outside at several locations and gotten a game ticket if we had wanted it, not just because we had to. —MicheleTobias
2008-03-02 17:16:12 "The Aggie Pack tried everything they could within their resources to reach out to as many Davis residents as possible."
Thanks everyone for showing up, but the above statement is nonsense, really. The cheerleaders weren't on bicycles, nor were the organizers, nor was the band. I went there to break a world record and participate in that activity alone. If the Aggie Pack was *really* serious about breaking the record, they would have had tables outside where people could just sign things off and be on there way instead of forcing them to circle around the gymnasium. I think the Aggie Pack viewed the event too much as a promotional stunt. And finally, about the music in the stadium; that stuff gives some people headaches, cutting that would have been golden. It's not like people will think less of UC Davis sports and choose not to participate in the event if that music was not played. There were times when I, nor anyone around me could here the announcer because Lynard Skynard was doing a guitar solo (sorry for my lack of knowledge of classic soft rock and the latest teen pop sensations). Anyway, this is not meant to be flames, just critical analysis points on how to focus on the record and make sure you beat it next year. ;-) —ChristopherMckenzie
As one of the guys handing out the numbered stickers, I would like to point out that I did get on my bike and participate as did two other volunteers when we were no longer needed. We hurried to get to the starting line on time but we were not the end of the parade; a few cheerleaders did get on their bikes and rode the course. As for the band... we really should get all of them on bikes at the next attempt.Thanks for the constructive criticism.—ScottMorgan
Well then, please pardon me for my ignorance here. If you have a budget for this, you may want to try to contact people in sacramento or SF; there are night rides and critical masses and the such there all the time; I however, unfortunately fear, that to attract them, the parade needs to be a bigger event. However, if you go through with it, you'd probably also garner media attention, which I am sure makes a difference in considering budgets. —ChristopherMckenzie
Pre-event, there was a photo inside The Enterprise, which is a good direction to go; since there was a post-event story, it's possible that MORE attention can be garnered in the future. Bicycle-specific media outside of town may not be as interested in parades as they are in tours, competitive rides, etc. But, again, a constructive suggestion if someone has the time and $. —DougWalter
Cyclists, I believe, can roughly be broken into two groups: competitive athletes and commuters. Competitive athletes will probably gloss over this event but a lot of people in the much larger commuter group would probably be delighted to join. The rides in sacramento I've seen lately, for instance, go down J or K street in downtown and every rider shares a theme, such as being on a similar bicycle, or wearing the same ridiculous colors. These people are simply looking for a good time. Similarly, there are things as extreme as naked (!) critical masses in SF. People like this are also looking for good fun. Additionally, there are people like me that get around by bike for exercise and convenience. And lastly, there is a large group of mostly anarchist fervent anti-car people. These people are spectacular resources in organizing and promoting events because they are generally self starters that need little guidance and can get things done without much oversight. —ChristopherMckenzie
Mr. Mckenzie, as an organizer of the event I can certainly sympathize with some of your concerns and will definitely use some of your constructive criticism when planning this event next year. But I think you fail to realize that for the most part, students organized this event. My profession is neither "Bike Parade Organizer" nor "Guinness World Record Breaker." I am a student and I hope you can understand that my studies come first and foremost. As much as I would have loved to personally call every bike organization in California and beg and plead for them to come, I couldn't. As hard as we tried to ask the city and university to shut down some streets to have this event, they wouldn't/couldn't. And whether you view this event as a promotional event or not, the fact of the matter is over 1800 people came out and had a good time last weekend. I agree that we needed a better system for returning the stickers, but this is still a young event, and we are still trying to figure out the best way to get this all organized. You also must understand that there are certain stipulations and rules for this event to count. Events like critical mass, while possibly much larger than any of these "record breaking" parades, are not necessarily following Guinness's guidelines for the record. Lastly, the music issue is just going to be something we'll just have to agree to disagree on. I'm inclined to believe that most humans like some tunes to go with their sunny Saturday afternoon. If it irks you, my best recommendation is to bring an asprin next year. I had a lot of fun planning this year and I'm glad everyone came out. If this pattern keeps up, next year the record should be ours! —IanRamsay