Rod and Rex McFarlin’s “stupid” rocket bike throws flames at last year’s event (Pete Welch Photo).

Rod and Rex McFarlin’s “stupid” rocket bike throws flames at last year’s event (Pete Welch Photo).

Stupid bikes to ride again during art gallery crawl

“It’s just got a life of its own. And it’s First Friday, so it’s going to be just a generally fun time.”

Island patrons of the monthly First Friday art gallery walk will share the streets with a fleet of wacky two-wheeled creations that are poised to take over the four-way stop in town beginning at 8 p.m.

Vashon Highway from Bank Road to 178th street will be closed to vehicle traffic at 5 p.m. so bikes can safely parade through town. Riders will assemble at 6 p.m. in the parking lot at the Chamber of Commerce for staging and to chow down with a barbecue. At 7 p.m., Sum Band will play a set of live music at the Voice of Vashon Studio.

In the past, cyclists of the Stupid Bike Club have launched everything from a toilet bike to a home music studio bike and even a rocket bike complete with an open flame lighting up the night. Kevin Kim-Murphy, a club member and organizer of the event, said that this year islanders should expect nothing less.

“It’s just got a life of its own,” he said. “And it’s First Friday, so [this year] it’s going to be just a generally fun time.”

Rain during last year’s event did not dampen riders’ spirits, noted Murphy. He added that the forecast this year looks better.

“All of us that got sopping wet were cold, but three or four hours later the weather was not an issue,” he said. “We’re a rain or shine event.”

The Stupid Bike Club has about 20 regular members who loosely formed the group to join the 2014 Strawberry Festival parade, but in time their efforts spawned the now-annual bike ride that is limited only by imagination.

“It’s really awesome when people get inspired to come up with their own ideas,” he said. “That’s one of the things I really like, is that people feel like they can be part of it. I want them to feel like they can become a part of it.”

New this year, said Murphy, members have given a number of stupid bikes from past events a new lease on life, pulling parts off the shelf and out of the closet to reuse in new ways.

“And like every year, there will be bikes that fail,” he said. “It’s sort of a live experiment. We’ll get out there and can’t wait to test our stuff on Vashon.”

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