On the third Friday of every month, Massary leads the Akron Bike Party on a 10- to 12-mile bike ride throughout our community. The event, which celebrates its first anniversary this month, attracts young and old, beginner cyclists and advanced riders, as well as community “groupies” along the route.
There are more than 30 Bike Parties worldwide, and Massary was introduced to the concept while visiting a friend in San Jose last winter.
“ We rode 20 miles around the city with thousands of riders, listening to music, bikes blaring tunes throughout the evening. I was blown away,” he says. “I couldn’t stop smiling. It was an amazing experience. David encouraged me to get Akron Bike Party going.”
“ Cycling in Akron is great because it’s growing so much here, the towpath is wonderful, Summit Cycling Center, and the bike shops rule.”
Tell our readers a bit about yourself: Are you originally from Akron? If not, where did you come from?
DM: I am originally from Warren. Before settling down here, my wife and I lived in Youngstown, Columbus and in Cleveland Heights. We’ve been living in Fairlawn for the past 10 years. We absolutely love it here. Akron/Summit County is a wonderful place to live.
My wife’s name is Jana and we have two boys; Ethan is 10 and Luke is 7.
When did you first become interested in cycling?
DM: I was nuts about riding bikes as a kid. Unfortunately, I pretty much quit riding when I turned 16. I began cycling again last year. Riding bikes with friends is an unbelievable feeling. We have the best time on our Bike Party group rides.
How do you choose the route each month?
DM: It’s difficult because Akron is so hilly. The routes are usually based on what neighborhoods we haven’t rolled through yet or what Akron Landmark we haven’t been too yet. We’ve been through The University of Akron many times, Stan Hywet, Swenson’s, different parts of the towpath, Highland Square, Glendale Cemetery and we usually go over the Y-Bridge and back. Returning to downtown Akron from North Hill on the Y-bridge at night is probably my favorite Akron Bike Party experience. It’s an amazing feeling and a wonderful view of the city.
How does the Akron Bike Party work in the winter? Is that safe?
DM: Riding in the winter is cold. So far it’s been safe and only a small number of us ride. We still have a blast. If the roads are really bad, we would cancel the ride.
If we want to join the ride, do we need to invest in spandex?
DM: Haha, there’s no need to invest in spandex unless that’s your thing. We are all so different and so similar on Bike Party. Some ride a lot, some ride a little. We all have different backgrounds and different lives, but on Bike Party, we are together in just having fun, meeting new people and letting go of it all for a few hours.
Is the Akron Bike Party just for adults, or can kids ride too? Is there a fee to participate?
DM: Everyone is always invited. The ride is 10 hilly miles, so if you can handle that, join the ride. We’ve had many kids on rides. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There’s no fee.
How much has the bike party grown since it began? What are your goals for the group?
DM: The ride has grown so much in our first year. We have many volunteers and riders and the community has really embraced us when we roll through neighborhoods and downtown. Our goals are to get more people in the community involved in the ride, themes, artistic flyers, course design, and on the ride (leading, corner guides, sweeping etc...). We’re striving to someday have food trucks, bands and DJs at mid-ride regroups. That is a dream of mine. The San Jose Bike Party has huge regroups with food, music and entertainment. It’s an absolute blast. SJBP is our inspiration and they are so supportive.
Do you participate in Bike Party every month, or are you a behind-the-scenes kind-of guy?
DM: I do participate in every ride and am behind the scenes. I pull a huge speaker in a trailer with my bike during the rides. It’s so fun.
When I’m not leading the pack, my day job is ...
DM: I do a little bit of everything from fixing toilets, working on computers/databases, reading stories, shoveling snow, bus driving, gardening, to washing dishes. My wife and I own and operate The Primrose School of Hudson. We’ve been open for two years and it’s been crazy and wonderful at the same time.
If you could invite any celebrity to join the Akron Bike Party, who would it be, and why?
DM: On just about every ride the children in the community yell out “Bikeparty!” and they always ask “Where’s Lebron?” The community would absolutely love to see that.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DM: Summit Cycling Center has helped us out so much. We are partnering with them again for some exciting things in 2015. Oh and “BIKEPARTY!”
Email them to Molly Gase at firstname.lastname@example.org.