Pedal for Plunder

May 21st, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

tuneupWhat could befit our New England frugality than useful and free goods? If Bike Fridays on Boston city hall plaza do not appeal for their athleticism nor for their camaraderie, perhaps as much swag as you can carry, inside or out will.

It must be the endorphins. Biking can turn you sappy sweet, the antithesis of the crazed messenger stereotype. The reasons to cycle are many and those to attend the jolly mornings of Bike Fridays are several. Yet, grabbing useful or delicious freebies doesn’t hurt as motivation. Plus, the stuff is useful.

More chances

I just returned from the first of the season. You can redeem your self and join in the last Friday of the next three months — June 25, July 30, and August 27. Get there at 7 for the uncrowded shot at free bike tweaks from pros, plus the goodies. It all continues for nearly three more hours.

Today’s ridership seemed typical. There were huge (well, 10 to 20 in a bunch) gangs coming together from various neighborhoods and towns. You can come on your own, but the convoys have regular stops and times.

We can all fit it. There’s folks in suits, in skirts, in Spandex. There’s every somatotype and age. I only saw one pet, a pup in a trailer who seemed quite used to a chauffeur.The only warning is that over half the cyclists acted like suburbanites in a supermarket; like their counterparts fearful of losing their carts, they clung to their bikes rather than locking them on a rail or bike rack. That clogs up the works, such desperate ownership.


Over a dozen tented booths filled the upper plaza next to the T-stop, which disgorged amused and bemused commuters gawking and greeting the cyclists. Exhibits included organizations like MassBike and the DOT, Landry’s and Wheelworks bike shops, the Swiss tourist folk, and food and drink.

Swag to Consume and Carry

So, to the goodies. There was food and drink. We cyclists need or pretend to need replenishment, even after a short ride. We can justify treating ourselves, even at 7:13 a.m.

Boloco had the only real line, handing out burritos by tray. They also joined the city and state in offering high-end water bottles. In fact, TD Bank North accosted the convoys as they arrived — in the ear with cowbells, to the eye with YOU MADE IT signs, and in the hand with the event water bottle.


Abutting boxes elsewhere had muffins the size of a newborn’s head and healthier fare such as bananas. If you arrive hungry, you don’t have to leave that way. For drink, there was coffee but the water bottles were dry. Likewise, Harpoon held a raffle, but didn’t expect us to drink and ride.

So the various exhibitors offered goodies including:

  • A great trousers-leg strap from the DOT and MassBike, with a secure slot for a key. This is keen for runners as well. It is also a reflector.
  • A slap anklet like a slap bracelet that keeps the cuff out of the way and is also a reflector. That was from the Swiss tourist folk, who also offered those fab Lindt chocolate balls.
  • A pair of tire levers.
  • Bike maps of Boston.
  • Bike Week t-shirts.
  • Key chains.
  • Clif bars, Bare Naked and other brands of energy snacks.
  • Zipper eyeglasses cases and foldable Frisbees from TD North.

It went on and on. Being judicious  and only taking stuff I thought I’d use, I still ended up stuffing my small messenger bag. I had had two personal water-bottle tragedies recently; replacements were timely. The anklets with key slots should be good for three of us.

So, you have three more shots this year. Go to a Bike Friday because it’s fun and there’s fellowship…or go for the goodies.

Welcome Evolution

About 8:30, the orations began. Some downtrodden city hall fellow brought a podium and mic by dolly to the upper level. The resulting queue of speakers was an obvious shift from when this was the end of Boston Bike Week and not as it was today, Bay State Bike Week 2010.

Even ownership has become dispersed and diverse, and likely more sustainable. It used to be that a few Boston bureaucrats emerged from the cave that is city hall. Typically, Mayor Tom Menino, Bike Coordinator Nicole Freedman, and a city councilor who likes bikes, like President Mike Ross, would chat and whoop it up. Today, a series of state-level organization and agency folk took the mic.

They heaped praise on each other, only taking credit tangentially. In fairness, there’s lots worthy of praise. The shift in those attending and speaking also suggests that many more machers at higher levels see the short- and mid-term future in biking around here.

More cycles, fewer cars, healthier citizens, less noise and pollution. Everyone involved should get credit.

A Bike Friday is a feel-good morning.

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One Response

  1. Uncle says:

    Unless you arrive with front and rear panniers and an empty bike trailer, there surely must be a limit to how much swag you can carry away. That of course excludes what you consume.
    But what a charming idea. I may hike up from the subway and check it out next time.

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