Bill Murray Dance Party goes mobile, even without Bill Murray

bike 1.jpg
Kendra Sundvall
Bill Murray's appearance may have been a hoax, but any excuse for a party
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Bill Murray Mobile Dance Party slideshow
Bill Murray Mobile Dance Party: Will it feature Bill Murray?

Let's get this out of the way: Bill Murray, object of our love, star of 60-some Hollywood movies and TV series, did not show at Tuesday night's Bill Murray Mobile Dance Party.

Or, if he did, he did not make it known. Who knows, he might've bicycled beside us in disguise, Venkman himself incognito on a bright blue Schwinn Traveler III with handlebar streamers and a hamburger bell. Maybe he had Wayfarers on, despite the late-summer-evening dark. Maybe he smoked a thin cigarette and spouted witty remarks to the cyclists around him. But he was quiet about it. He did not fly into Gold Medal Park on angelic wings amidst a burst of heavenly light, like many hoped and--after a few shots of whiskey--sadly imagined. Bummer, dude. We still love you, Bill Murray. And the party went on anyway.

Notoriously, Tuesday night's party was inspired by a hoax press release from SuperOfficialNews.com that announced Bill Murray's nationwide "Party Crashing Tour," in which Our Man Murray would stop at cities throughout the country and infiltrate parties that welcomed him with a "Bill Murray Can Crash Here" sign. Minneapolis was said to be one of the cities on Murray's itinerary, so, hoax notwithstanding, local party organizers took up the cause, hoping he might show but not believing it. We're the Bike City -- let's have a Billy-inspired bike party anyway.

The ride met Tuesday at 6 p.m., around the Gold Medal Park sign in Mill City and did not depart till after 7:30, when Tipsy Bike (a.k.a., tk, a newcomer to the Minneapolis bike scene) arrived just a little more than "fashionably late" with tunes bumping from his impressive party bike. We cyclists used the unscheduled wait time (the ride was supposed to depart at 6:30 p.m.) to imbibe beverages of an alcoholic sort. There were flasks and coozies aplenty among the Murray velocipedes.

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Kendra Sundvall
The Facebook event had promised more than 1,000 attendees, but I'd estimate 300 people actually showed. It was still an impressive sight, especially as the booze coursed through us and everyone began to dance, sometimes with their bikes beneath them in weird top-tube-humping maneuvers.

From Gold Medal Park, the ride progressed to the Stone Arch Bridge and Main. We ate up Main Street like the Cookie Monster eats cookies, then recrossed the river, filling the Hennepin Avenue Bridge from side to side. We pedaled through downtown, then hit the Nomad for dancing and drinks. With a few Prix Fixes in our bellies, we filled the Light Rail Trail and swiveled back to Grumpy's in downtown. Grumpy's is where I left the ride, because by then it had worn me down, tired me out. Not physically so much as ... emotionally. For me at least, the vibe of the Bill Murray ride was off. It felt weird and just a little nasty.

I'm all for huge bike rides. Believe me, I love the No Hater Rolling Dance Party and the Freedom From Pants Ride, similarly epic events. I am not, however, for bike rides that absorb the Critical Mass philosophy wholesale.

The Bill Murray cyclists, most of whom had unfamiliar faces and struck me as newcomers to events like this, seemed to have internalized the idea that biking in Minneapolis means having the right to be an asshole and piss people off. And I don't like that at all. The ride volunteers tried to corral everyone and keep them in line, but you can only do so much.

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Kendra Sundvall
Allegedly, four Bill Murray cyclists biked straight into a stopped car. I saw others smearing their hands on autos stopped by bike traffic, while drivers glared back. I saw a frightened carriage horse rear up and nearly attack a few other cyclists. I saw an old man Nice Riding on the Light Rail Trail furiously yelling because the crowd was three-abreast and wouldn't make way for him.

"Fuck 'im," said one dude. "He's not part of our pack."

Minneapolis is better than this. Our cyclists are, too. I was not surprised to hear a few participants were arrested outside of the Gay 90s for, reportedly, blocking the sidewalk and throwing marshmallows. That agreed with everything I'd seen at the ride so far. By then I had abandoned the BMMDP and was happily eating a burger at Grumpy's with my girlfriend, who'd nearly been hit by a few cast-off Bill Murray participants who'd run a red light on Washington. Really, guys? This just proves all the bike haters right. And we've tried for several years to prove them wrong, with positive events, like the All-City Free Ride, that strive to work with traffic instead of against it.

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Kendra Sundvall
The event still had its bright spots. The Tipsy Bike's setup is out of this world. I loved dancing under an overpass on the Light Rail Trail. I double-plus loved the Steve Zissou costume of cyclist Amelia English, who even painted a fake Bill Murray beard onto her face. Her take on the event was different from mine. "I had so much fun!" she told me, in an interview via email. "I really loved the immediate sense of community I felt--like our mutual love for bikes, beers and Bill of course meant we should all be besties for a night."

I wish I'd felt that way, too.



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8 comments
Tim Clausen
Tim Clausen

Mark, that would have been a good idea for the organizers but I doubt it would have made a difference. I'm just saying before one learns how to ride a bike...learn respect. 300 or 3000....being in a large group should, if nothing else make you more aware of other's space. This is the same behavior autos partake in making driving intolerable. I'm all for bicycling and feel people should rep it in way that is positive...sounds like you were one of those people, Mark. Kudos to you.

Mark Schanzenbach
Mark Schanzenbach

Tim, if you're addressing me and referring to the crowd staying to the right (or failing to do so): I'm not throwing blame at the organizers, all in all I think they did a great job. But bicycle etiquette applies differently in a crowd of 300+ than it does when riding by oneself or in a small group. Obviously it would be ideal for everyone to be super considerate and polite to everyone else by default, but I think realistically it would have gone more smoothly if it had been announced beforehand so everyone was on the same page.

harry.r.kent
harry.r.kent

I agree with some of the points, and I think the organizers had some challenges with corralling everyone to obey instructions properly.  Volunteers worked really hard to keep everyone safe, and obeying proper traffic, and I tried my best to stay in line.  I will say both that I really appreciated the spirit of the event, up to the lewd bike behavior.  I must say, I did go to critical mass last month, and I was one of eight people in attendance.  While bad behavior is certainly unacceptable, what's it mean when there is barely any bike behavior?  

Tim Clausen
Tim Clausen

How about people just learn bicycle etiquette? This is not the organizer's responsibility.

JCSchemm
JCSchemm

@alecpesola Yeah, I punched a few cops. Set a car on fire. Killed a guy with a Trident. #nbd

Mark Schanzenbach
Mark Schanzenbach

Lovin' the photo of me at the bottom of an article about people being dicks. A few small counterpoints (but no excuses for douchebaggery): - I think some people got a little drunker & rowdier than expected early-on, since the ride started over an hour late and everyone was just standing around drinking in the park. - From where I was in the middle of the pack on the Stone Arch, people weren't pestering the horse, it just seemed freaked out about the loud music and the hundreds of people going by. Sounds like people were being less respectful elsewhere though. - In the future, if ride organizers want the crowd to stay to the right and leave lanes open all the time, they should probably mention that before the mob hits the road. Yelling at people as they're speeding by in a crowd was about as effective as I'd've expected. - Taking everyone on a tiny path like the one alongside Hiawatha was inevitably going to lead to obstructions for others. We would have stretched out for miles if we had been single-file. Like with the horse situation, the people near me were relatively well-behaved; they seemed to at least try to get out of the way of oncoming cyclists, with varying degrees of success. Anyway. Some people were dicks, I'm sure. Lots of people were just out to have a good time. I had fun. Let's do it again sometime. TL;DR: I didn't think it was so bad. Tipsy Bike ftw.

Mark Schanzenbach
Mark Schanzenbach

Lovin' the photo of me at the bottom of an article about people being dicks. A few small counterpoints (but no excuses for douchebaggery): - I think some people got a little drunker & rowdier than expected early-on, since the ride started over an hour late and everyone was just standing around drinking in the park. - From where I was in the middle of the pack on the Stone Arch, people weren't pestering the horse, it just seemed freaked out about the loud music and the hundreds of people going by. Sounds like people were being less respectful elsewhere though. - In the future, if ride organizers want the crowd to stay to the right and leave lanes open all the time, they should probably mention that before the mob hits the road. Yelling at people as they're speeding by in a crowd was about as effective as I'd've expected. - Taking everyone on a tiny path like the one alongside Hiawatha was inevitably going to lead to obstructions for others. We would have stretched out for miles if we had been single-file. Like with the horse situation, the people near me were relatively well-behaved; they seemed to at least try to get out of the way of oncoming cyclists, with varying degrees of success. Anyway. Some people were dicks, I'm sure. Lots of people were just out to have a good time. I had fun. Let's do it again sometime. TL;DR: I didn't think it was so bad. Tipsy Bike ftw.

Bystander
Bystander

I was stopped by the crowd on the Stone Arch Bridge and they wouldn't make room to let anyone through.  When it finally did get moving I was able to try to get through but people were swerving non-stop.  One hipster crashed into me.  I pushed him off to keep my balance and he crashed and took out another couple idiots.

 

I witnessed the idiots yelling and trying to scare the horse then everyone laughing as a kid screamed in the back of the carriage.

 

Way to give bikers a bad name.

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