The urban core was electric with excitement and anticipation of the opening of the The Riverside Arts Market (RAM) this past week. Everywhere you turned people were talking it.
We at Bike Jax were just as excited for the opening and had spent the last couple of weeks planing and building a portable but secure enclosure and bike racks that could house around 50 bikes that would become the Bike Valet station for the duration of the RAM season which runs every Saturday from now until December.
What we didn't plan for was the overwhelmingly positive response that free parking of bikes would generate.
Like I stated above, we planed to house about 50 bikes at a time throughout the day. We really thought that we might handle about 100 bikes for the duration of the market hours. Boy, did we miscalculate those numbers.
Arrive at the Market and begin set up which only took about 30 minutes from unloading to completion despite being the first time and having to do some finishing details.
Just after we finished setting up we look up to see RAM Volunteer Jeanmarie Grimsley riding up to us and we took it as a good sign that the very first valeted biked in Jacksonville was her stunningly beautiful British Pashley Delibike.
A steady Stream of bikes continues through out the morning. It's not much longer before every inch of the empty space pictured below is filled with a bike. Leaving the only way to get a bike in or out is to lift it over ones head and carry it out to the owner or into a parking space. And I'm here to tell you that beach cruisers were not built with any thought given that someone may have to lift it. If anyone found a testicle rolling around the market Saturday. It's probably mine.
We originally thought we might handle 100 bikes throughout the 6 hours of the market. But here we are at two and half hours in and we have just parked the 100th bike... In a space designed for 50. We got our ass kicked... and loved it.
For the day we parked 175 bikes and despite the over crowded parking situation, we didn't turn away a single bike. We really appreciate the support we got from everyone involved with the Riverside Arts Market. Which I hear was a huge success. I say hear because everything that happened outside of that orange fencing was just a blur. We were also stunned by the overwhelming positive comments by not only those who used the Bike Valet. But also by those that didn't.
The Bike Jax Bike Valet would never of happened without the continued help and support of Abhishek. This guy is soldier.