Bikes Before I Doze

August 22nd, 2008 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

I did go to the second Bike Friday that Boston hosted. I had to, to atone for missing my connection to the convoy from Roslindale Square at last month’s version.

The punchline is that they are fun and worth a couple of hours. These were well attended and well received. I’m sure there’ll be more of them in 2009.

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The routine is keen, involving:

  • Getting to a starting point in any of 13 towns at 7 a.m. (helmets necessary and everyone there will dutifully ask you to sign a if-I-die-it’s-my-fault waiver).
  • A couple of bike cops will head up the convoy, with support from a basket full of leaders.
  • A cop will race to any large intersection, holding traffic until the convoy passes.
  • At various junctures, subgroups of cyclists may join in.
  • Arrive at Boston’s City Hall Plaza.

You get to break some rules, riding two or three abreast and passing red lights chief among them. For those privileges, you ride at the speed of the slowest of the convoy, something like 10 to 13 miles per hour. That’s not as dreadful as it seems, as the company is nice and it’s like a chat as if you were spinning through the countryside to a picnic.

curtis.jpgFor we JP-ites, staging was Curtis Hall at the monument. It was a jolly bunch, and helpful. One cyclist showed up with very low tires and a fellow biker hopped up to fix that.

About 18 of us went north on Centre, meeting up with about a dozen Hyde Square types at Boylston and Huntington.  Then we took Huntington to Bynner, crossing the Jamaica Way, skirting the Muddy in the park, crossing that dreadful Rte. 9 median road cut (it was great to have a cop with his hand up there), and picking up the Emerald Necklace bike path to the old Sears. We headed down toward Boston Latin and took the left by the back of the MFA. We picked up the real Boylston and turned left on Hereford by the firehouse. Then it was Commonwealth to Arlington and left on Boylston.  We finished off with a left on Washington, through Downtown Crossing and left on State to City Hall.prepedal.jpg

It took the better part of an hour for a ride that easily could have taken half that, but it was no race.

ac.jpgThe lead cop in our group was A.C. He eagerly put his bike and body in front of cars and trucks to protect us. When we passed the intersection, he’d race ahead and do it again, and again. He appears to be a cop’s cop.

I did have to ask as we pedaled. He’s like a thoroughbred in that he carries weight. His belt with gun, cuffs, communications devices, baton and such weigh at least 25 pounds he says.

At the plaza, there were the same and different booths from the July version. WZLX played boomer oldies at high volume. City cycle czarina Nicole Freedman handed out water bottles with enticement flyers for the Hub on Wheels ride next month. Cycling shops were there to show wares, offer raffle chances, do light bike repairs and such.

mwalsh.jpg

This time, I also met Marty Walsh, the geek of GeekHouseBikes. His handmade road, track and custom bikes are trés funky. Their garish colors and unusual geometries disguise fantastic design and materials. notgranny1.jpg

Someone must have justifiably carped over the Dunkin’-class noshes last time. The food tables had coffee and OJ as usual, plus orange and banana hunks and bagels and cream cheese. The South Beach folk wouldn’t be happy, but it was a big step up from the fat/sugar family.

There was swag too. Several tables offered their own water bottles. There were lanyards from Kryponite locks and such.

The real thing though was cameraderie. The sloppy shorts, Spandex, too tight jersey, and themed t-shirt folk were all cyclists, digging the increasingly bike-friendly mood. I recommend it.

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