Hoping to encourage more Fiesta Hermosa attendees to go carbon-free in their transportation, the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau offered free valet parking for bicycles this Memorial Day weekend.
Expectations were for about 100 to 200 bicycles to take advantage of the new service each day. But within just a few hours of the valet lot opening on Saturday morning, the lot was filled to near capacity with between 600 to 700 bicycles checked in, parked and watched over until their owners returned to claim them.
No bikes were reported either lost or damaged. The reviews from those who used the service were nothing short of raves. I know because I was part of the volunteer team from the South Bay Bicycle Coalition (SBBC) who valet parked and retrieved bikes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
I had a blast all day, overhearing people comment, "I can't believe you guys are doing this for free and won't even take any tips. This is such a great city!"
The popular valet service never would have happened if Steve Collins hadn't stepped up to offer his Hermosa Cyclery shop and its employees as the organizers and operators of the service. They not only did an outstanding job from start to finish, but they were also flexible and nimble enough to respond to the unexpected volume without ever missing a beat.
Todd Dipaola, chairman of the coalition, contributed his time and muscle power to moving bicycles. Hard-working volunteers from the Beach Cities Cycling Club also put in several valet parking hours. Truth is, we were all happy to help and excited to see how many people were eager to use the new service.
Steve Collins put it best in his day one report, where he said, "patrons were extremely appreciative of the service. There was a detectible enthusiasm in their expressions of appreciation, as though this was something they have been wanting for a long time and just realized that."
After seeing the success of this inaugural bicycle valet effort I'm now dreaming of Fiestas to come when we offer parking for thousands of bicycles. The easier, safer and more practical we make it for people to ride their bicycles to Fiesta Hermosa, and Hermosa Beach itself, the closer we'll be to becoming a carbon-neutral city. When the city gets there, it might be time to add a whole new fiesta to the schedule.
Free valet parking for bicycles will be available today, the last day of Fiesta Hermosa. The guarded bicycle lot is located at 11th Street and the Strand.