Tradition held on the first Friday night of September, with streets in town filling up for a locally-famous annual event called Stupid Bike Night.
The event has no official sponsor, no affiliated merchandise, and its only form of advance publicity seems to be coy posts on social media, couched in “rumor has it” messaging.
Still, on Friday, Sept. 2, Vashon’s town center was lined with spectators at dusk, waiting to welcome the stupid bikes along their loop winding through town and up and down Vashon Highway.
The parade that followed didn’t disappoint, featuring dozens of riders tooling through town on outlandish forms of tricked-out, lit-up, pedal-powered means of transportation — including a flame-throwing bicycle equipped with a working bar and grill, flower and foliage-festooned bikes and trikes, and chariots pulled along by giant wooden unicorns and circus horses.
And then there were the wild, colorful costumes of the riders: disco attire, space suits, neon wigs, gladiator garb, Amish country clothing, giant baby clothes, glow lights and glitter.
Stupid Bike Night seemed even more of a family affair than ever this year, with two pedaling parents seen trying to keep up with their tie-dye helmeted toddler, who was zipping down the highway in front of them on a child-sized Strider scooter.
Some of the bikes hauled musicians, creating a cacophonous ensemble that was more “Mad Max Fury Road” meets Dr. Seuss than an actual band. No one seemed to be even trying to play the same song, with drummers, electric guitarists and horn players independently banging, blowing and blaring their music.
But when joined by the sound of a church bell that suddenly began tolling as the bike parade passed the Vashon Presbyterian Church, it all made for a joyful noise, filled with great gladness.
This year, as in years past, the event was organized by the members of a club that includes some of Vashon’s most clever contraption-makers, performers and party people.
Rumor has it that Stupid Bike Night will be back, next September.