Bike Love is the annual fundraiser for Asheville on Bikes, a local nonprofit dedicated to fostering community and making our city a healthier, greener place through bike advocacy and education. On Feb. 21, from 6 pm to 1 am, Isis Bar and Music Hall in West Asheville will overflow with funk jams, New Belgium beer, and bike enthusiasts: Here's why you need to be one of them.
1. All Your Friends Will be There
All of your hip, community-oriented friends anyway. The ones who glow with physical fitness and extoll in the virtues of social engagement and civic duty (as well as the virtues of drinking, dancing, and DJs.) You can bet on a packed dance floor, as Bike Love is guaranteed to sell out. If you don't score a ticket in time, come back in a few hours—there will be rolling admission throughout the night as those with babysitters duck out before midnight.
If you're new to the scene, Bike Love is the perfect social mixer. "If you want to meet a bunch of people, this would be a great way to do it," says AoB cofounder Mike Sule. "There's a good age range as well. From 6 pm-8 pm, you'll find the older crowd who believe in the mission, who wants a quieter, more refined experience. They want to hear the presentations. Then you have the younger crowd, they're really there for the music and the fun, and the silent auction."
With over 400 people in attendance, you're sure to find a new cycling partner—or ten.
2. Drink For a Cause
Sharing a round of cold ones amongst friends is a virtue unto itself, but that pint of Fat Tire will taste even more refreshing if its for a good cause. New Belgium Brewery, a company renowned for its commitment to bicycle advocacy (and one that will be brewing in Asheville by the end of the year!) will donate a portion of its sales for the night to AoB. For the liquor lovers and the gluten free, Isis has a complete bar and a creative cocktail menu. Drinking for a cause is a noble effort indeed—just don't get too tipsy unless you have a tandem bike and a designated pedaler.
3. Learn Something New (In Under One Hour!)
The event will include three short presentations—with 20 slides per speaker, 20 seconds of talking points per slide. In this neatly concise manner, learn about current challenges facing bike culture on the local, state, and national level, as well as new initiatives like the growing sport of Bicycle Polo here in Asheville. Speakers include representatives from Raleigh's Oaks and Spokes, the Metropolitan Planning Organization an AoB's Mike Sule.
4. ** Dance **
You've had some drinks, shared some laughs, and been edified in the ways of bicycle policy, now it's time to hit the dance floor. At 9 pm, the Freeflow Band will kick off the evening with old school funk and R&B jams, followed by a late night set from DJ Marleywho will keep you grooving until 1 a.m.
5. Find Love
After all, it's in the name! Rarely will you find a fundraiser so packed with taut calves and windburned cheeks. Once you've caught someone's eye and bonded over the importance of bike lanes, suggest meeting up for one of AoB's social rides. If you're daring, invite your potential Bike Love to hit the trails of Bent Creek or Kolo Bike Park; studies have shown that a surge of adrenaline (like the type that accompanies flying down Green's Lick Trail) can actually boost feelings of love and attraction. How's that for a life hack!
For Matt Kozue, a bike mechanic at Youngblood Bicycles, a cycling date is a no brainer. "If the two of you are predisposed towards the outdoors, then what beats a bike ride? Nothing. I mean, seriously. That's that."
5. Get Geared Up
Aren't you getting that tax rebate soon? Bike Love will feature a silent auction of smartly designed cycle-wear, helmets, panniers, yoga classes, and more. It's also the best time to become an AoB member and proudly display your new status with an official helmet sticker and spoke card. If you're feeling lucky, buy a raffle ticket for a $500 voucher toward your bike of choice from any participating Asheville bike shop. And don't leave without a T-shirt or letterpress poster with the brand new AoB logo—a good way to broadcast your support of cycling and sustainability to the world.
6. Strength in Numbers
Bike Love is sure to be one of the social highlights of the year. But beneath the revelry lies a a sincere and important mission. Asheville on Bikes seeks to cultivate the community of urban and commuter biking, which has a direct impact on the health of a city and its people. By showing up, and especially by becoming a member, you are demonstrating that you stand with AoB and their message. When it comes to productivity and legislation, there is strength in numbers. "You can't get anything done without people," Sule says.