The Northeast has a few key events during the course of the year and Joe Zito’s Ride to Skate is definitely one of them. All winter and spring, guys make this weekend a target date for the completion of their builds. The pre-party was organized by local group called The Burnouts. Switching it up this year, they held it at a strip club and featured a raffle as well as some of Philly's finest dancers. The actual event took place at FDR skatepark in South Philadelphia and drew people from all over. The weather forecast leading up to the party was a little sketchy, but it turned out to be a great day with a huge crowd. I caught up with Joe to get his take on this year’s event.
This is the ninth year for the event, how has it changed since the first Ride to Skate? It has definitely evolved in many ways, but the last few have gotten back to their roots. The original reason I started it was that, after I built my own bike, I was meeting a few other guys who had similar interests on the message boards. Not just other guys who built or heavily modified their old bike, but guys who were also into skateboarding, old cars, similar music, etc.. So, the event was a way to get some of the local guys together at a well known meet up spot to hang out, skate and check out each other's bikes. I think the first one had about a dozen people show up. This year's had probably around 250-300.
Photography by Daniel Venditto
Ride to Skate has turned into a destination event, did you ever think it would get this big? No way. I am blown away every year by the turn out. We've had people come from Virginia, New England, the midwest, and last year a girl named Lindsay rode down from Canada! The other thing that really gets me stoked is that a lot of the local grey-beards, that I have looked up to since I was a kid, come down. My uncles rode, so I've known a lot of those guys since I was in elementary school. For them to ride out and tell me its one of the best parties around is a great compliment.
Besides social media, do you ever advertise or do Facebook, Instagram, etc. pretty much take care of that for you? I usually go print out a big stack of flyers and bring 'em to the local indie shops and pass 'em out to different groups of friends who ride with a ton of guys. I post up the flyer on some social media sites too. The party is always the Sunday after Mother's Day weekend in May, so most folks know the deal by now.
Do you have a lot of help in planning this event or is it pretty much a one man show? I have had some help from some good friends over the years. It was a one man show for a while, but some guys got involved and helped out with one part or another. It's always a little stressful in some way or another, but somehow it all pans out and everyone has a blast.
Any changes planned for future Ride to Skate shows? Not really. We seem to shoot from the hip each time and I think that's why it has the vibe that it does. I always want it to be free and super casual, just like the first one. Just ride in, hang out, check out bikes, see old friends, meet new friends, skate and hurt yourself a little, and ride home dirty and smiling.
Where can we find more information about the event and next year’s show? It will be at FDR skatepark in Philly on May 15, 2016. There will probably be some sort of party the night before, so keep your eyes peeled for details as we get closer.
Anyone you’d like to thank? Well I'd like to thank anyone who has ever been a part of Ride to Skate from day one. Whether you helped me directly, just spread the word, finished a bitchin bike just in time, skated your balls off and got people stoked to watch, rode down and broke down - truly everyone who has ever showed up is what makes it what it is.
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