Smile and wave if you encounter a swarm of formal-clad bicyclists on Palo Alto streets tonight (Friday, May 20).
Police are warning people to avoid certain streets or risk "significant traffic delays" from a ride planned by a group that, in the past, has drawn at least 1,000 cyclists.
Tonight's "Formal Ride," planned by the group San Jose Bike Party, is encouraging formal wear and corsages for the ladies as riders stage from Sunnyvale and Mountain View for a loop around Stanford and Palo Alto. (See map)
Local streets that could be affected between 7:30 p.m. and midnight include El Camino Real, Park Boulevard, Serra Street on the Stanford campus, Palm Drive, University Avenue, Middlefield Road, Oregon Expressway, West Bayshore Road and Fabian Way.
"Motorists are advised to avoid those areas if possible," a Palo Alto Police Department advisory said.
Traffic officers will be present and police said they "do not anticipate any safety issues from the ride."
San Jose Bike Party describes itself as a group of bicycle enthusiasts who aim to "celebrate and build community in a monthly ride that must be experienced to be understood.
"We're one half political party, one half street party -- made up of all types of bicyclists and human-powered transportation advocates," the group said on its website.
Past rides -- with themes including mustache, Mardi Gras and psychedelic robot -- have attracted more than 2,000 riders, San Jose Bike Party said.
In guidelines published on its website, the group urges participants in its events to stay in the right lane, stop at red lights, right straight and predictably, "roll past conflict" and "ride sober."
A route map indicates tonight's party-goers will enter Palo Alto from Mountain View, heading north on El Camino. The route proceeds with a right on Ventura Avenue, then a left on Park Boulevard, circling past Peers Park and across El Camino into the Stanford campus.
The group will ride down Palm Drive back into Palo Alto, proceeding down University Avenue before making a right on Middlefield Road. The next turn is a left onto Oregon Expressway, followed by a right on West Bayshore and a left on East Charleston before a regrouping in the Costco parking lot.