San Jose Bike Party organizer Katie Heaney joined Bike Party when the monthly ride was a group made up of barely 100 riders. Since that ride over three years ago, Katie has become Bicycle Information Resource Director and has assisted with planning routes, going on test rides and choosing monthly themes.

A self-described “one-half political party, one-half street party,” San Jose Bike Party aims to encourage members of the San Jose community to lead less sedentary lives and enjoy the city from the seat of a bike. Each Bike Party has a different start location, route, and theme so that every ride is a truly unique South Bay experience.

Name: Katie Heaney
Occupation: San Jose Bike Party Volunteer, Bicycle Information Resource Director

How long have you lived in San Jose?

I’ve lived in San Jose for 20 years.

What is your favorite thing about San Jose?

I like the diversity. I like that it’s urban, but you can go a few miles away and it’s very rural. You can go hiking in the mountains or you can go to the beach, and it’s not too far from skiing and snowboarding. The weather is beautiful and it’s flat, which is perfect for biking.

What has Bike Party done for San Jose bike culture?

SJBP gets people from up off their couch and onto a bike. It gets people to take that first step toward being bike people. It’s not about training for the Tour de France and it’s not about turning people into avid, spandex-wearing cyclists. It’s just about getting people onto a bike, maybe for the first time in 10 years. It’s bringing everyone together by taking people who aren’t cyclists and putting them on a bike.

How did you get involved?

A friend of mine told me about this thing that was happening every month called Bike Party, and I thought it sounded really fun. The first ride I went on had only maybe about 100 people, so I started going with my friends. As soon as I started going I was hooked on the vibe and the novelty of the ride. I just thought it was really, really cool so I started going every month. Eventually I made lots of new friends. I became a BIRD and I started getting involved in planning it.

What has been your favorite ride so far?

It’s hard, like picking your favorite child. I’ve been on so many of them! One of my favorites is the Ladies’ Ride that we do every year, because so much of bike culture is male dominated, and even so much of Bike Party is mostly men. It’s great to just have a day where all the ladies go out and ride.

Where do you spend most of your time in San Jose?

I like to hang out downtown. I like hanging out in Willow Glen and Campbell too. I mostly I go to bars like Trials, Aqui, Katy Bloom’s, Rock Bottom.

If you could change one thing about San Jose what would it be?

I think that San Jose is really congested. Everything is about freeways and there’s urban sprawl going on, so everything is all very car-centric. That’s fine to some extent, but I wish that our city was more walkable and more bike-able. I’m a big fan of the Complete Streets movement to plan streets to accommodate all modes of transportation. When you have wide sidewalks and bike lanes, it makes a city more vibrant. It makes it a much more fun place to be, instead of just a place where cars are zooming by the cafe you’re sitting at.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met in San Jose?

I have to say Nick Glasowski. He’s that friend I mentioned earlier [that took me to my first Bike Party]. He doesn’t like to admit it, but he really is the grandfather of Bike Party. You’ll never catch him saying that though. He’s a cool guy, and he’s involved in Veggielution also. I think he does a lot of cool stuff for our city.