Category Archives: Biking

Epic Bike Ride or How I Ended Up In The Bronx

This morning I woke up and sprung to action, making a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish and setting to accomplishing them. After getting showered and dressed and brushing my teeth, I decided to embark on a bike ride.

I really only had two things I wanted to hit on the ride and I knew if I put it off for any reason, it wouldn’t happen. The weather was 55 degrees which is perfect, nearly. A little chilly, enough for a light hoodie. You’re a bit cold but the energy you exert ends up keeping you warm without making you sweaty.

11:30am to 12:00pm – Apartment to 188 Prospect Park East

I’ve known for quite some time that the esteemed Nighthawk Cinema is planning on opening a second location on the East side of Prospect Park. It is set to claim the location once held by the now defunct Pavilion Theater.

I rode the route I thought was correct based on the Google Maps search I’d done just before leaving my apartment. However, a cursory glance lead to slight miscalculation on my part which made me re-route and, on take two, I arrived at the work sight flawlessly.

IMG_8394The Pavilion Theater, soon to be Nighthawk Prospect Park

The site, at least from the facade, was much less far along than I thought it would be. I thought they had said it was supposed to open in the spring, but I might be making that up. It’s no rush, I’m just excited to see it as it’s closer to me than their Williamsburg location, which, though I’ve been too and looked at from the outside, have yet to see a movie there.

After taking a few pictures of the marquee, I headed to destination number two.

12:05pm to 12:25pm – Prospect Park to Domino Sugar Park (Williamsburg)

My next destination was the Domino Sugar Park. Technically my destination was the park right next to it, as this park is still under construction. I first read about this park in an issue of Time Out magazine.

IMG_8395Panorama of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from Grand Ferry Park

This too I had thought was set to open in the spring or in May, but according to an article I read on my phone while sitting on a bench in Grand Ferry Park (the adjacent park), it is set to open in June.

After resting and chilling on the bench for a bit, I headed to destination number 3.

12:35pm to 1:10pm – Williamsburg to Long Island City via Greenpoint and the Pulaski Bridge

I hopped back onto my bike and into the Kent Ave bike lane, making my way through  Greenpoint and briefly stopping at the Manhattan Avenue Park before taking the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City (Queens).

It had been a long time since I had ridden over this bridge and to my surprise I found that they had added Jersey Barrier to block off the far lane to dedicate it to a bike path. I thought this was a great way to separate the cyclists from the pedestrians and to decrease congestion.

I rode around trying to find the same street I’d taken on the 4th of July to view the fireworks. I rode to the north end of Center Blvd and dismounted my bike to sit on a more posh and shadier (it was more in the shade, not sketchier) bench.

IMG_8397View from shady bench

Eventually I got back on my bike and rode along the waterfront, passing the iconic LIC Pepsi Cola sign, to Hunter’s Point South Park. This is my favorite spot in Long Island City and is one of the places I used to bring my students when I was an instructor for Bike New York.

After hanging out in the park for a bit I made a few laps up and down Center Blvd trying to find the exact street from which I view the fireworks on the 4th of July. When I was satisfied that I’d found the correct street (of which I am still not 100% certain), I headed to destination number 4.

?  – ? – Long Island city to Randell’s Island via Astoria and the RFK Bridge

I rode up to Vernon Blvd retaking the path I rode with my Bike NY students underneath the 59th Street/Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and through Queensbridge Park. I popped out the other side and back onto the bike lane.

I took it passed the Roosevelt Island Bridge where I paused to leave my co-worker Jonathan, who lives on Roosevelt Island, a voicemail. I also took a pic of a Mercedes Maybach because, wtf are you doing in Queens?

IMG_8403Mercedes Maybach in Queens

I continued down Vernon Blvd, rode through Rainey Park (another spot from my Bike NY days), passed the Socrates Sculpture Park and through the Hallets Point (projects) waterfront bike path.

I made my way through Astoria to Astoria Park. I then rode through the park to the pedestrian entrance of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. I had driven, or rather been driven on the RFK Bridge while on the bus to or from New York but had never traversed it under my own power.

It reminded me of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is much higher than the three bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan and is significantly longer. However, the ride down the ramp from the bridge to Randell’s Island is a worthy payoff.

? – ? – Randell’s Island to The Bronx

Once on Randell’s Island I continued north and made my way onto the Central Road/Randell’s Island Connector bike path. This lead me, inadvertently, into The Bronx. I had no idea I’d gone over a small bridge and into my third borough of the day.

? – ? – The Bronx to Central Park via the Madison Avenue Bridge

I exited the bike path onto E 132nd Street, passed Pier 132 (not an actual pier) and took my first right onto Willow Ave. I rode up to E 138th Street and took a left onto 138th to head West. After passing the Cypress Ave subway station, I took a few minutes to get my bearings.

I eventually continued on 138th street and crossed the Harlem River via the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan; my fourth borough of the day. I continued west on 138th until I reached Malcom X Blvd where I turned and headed south. I knew that this would lead me right to the 110th Street entrance of Central Park.

? – ? – Central Park to President (bodega) via the Williamsburg Bridge

As I was approaching the entrance I briefly considered taking Central Park West and avoiding the crowded park. However, knowing that most of my ride through Manhattan would consist of few turns and essentially be filled with long straight stretches, I decided to take the scenic route.

After emerging at the Columbus Circle exit, I went around the rotary and headed south on Broadway before cutting over to 9th Ave. I took 9th all the way down to 14th where I cut over to 2nd Ave.

While on 14th Street I came across a bus that was starting to pull away from the curb. Standing in the street between the sidewalk and the bus was a tiny older woman with an oxygen tube in her nose. She was waving at the bus driver to open his door and let her in, but she was too small for him to see.

Defeated, she made her way back to the sidewalk to wait for the next bus. Seeing this, I caught up to the bus and waved and yelled to get the driver’s attention before he pulled away from the curb. To my amazement, he saw me and opened his door.

“There’s an older woman who wants to get on the bus,” I said to the driver, “can you wait for her?” A little confused, the driver nodded. I yelled back to the woman, “Ma’am, the bus is waiting for you, you can come back.” Eventually she heard me and slowly shuffled back to the bus. The driver said to me, “I thought you were yelling at me because I was gonna hit you or something. Thanks for doing that, that was great. You’re awesome man!”

I was really happy to have helped this woman and that I got such a positive reaction from the driver. It’s moments like this that give me faith in people. We gave each other thumbs up and I rode on.

I took 2nd Ave all the way down to Houston, across Houston and onto Chrystie Street then left onto Delancey and then onto the Williamsburg Bridge.

I slowly made my way up the Williamsburg, and, as expected, my legs began to cramp. I had by that point done at least 25 miles with essentially no breaks and no food besides my small breakfast. I barely made it to the top and, once I did, dismounted my bike to give my legs a break.

I stood to the side of the bike path and let my legs stretch out. I must have looked like a winded wuss who couldn’t even handle a relatively easy climb. I literally could not move my legs. I was in so much pain and the cramps were so bad that there was nothing I could do but stand still.

After a few minutes it subsided and I decided to punk out and ride back down. I could hop on the (F) at Delancey/Essex and take it to Carroll Gardens. I mounted my bike again and began the downhill. As I rode, I got a second wind. I didn’t want to bring my bike with me on a crowded train. I didn’t want to punk out. I had come so far under my own #PedalPower, I could survive another 5 or 10 miles.

I turned around yet again and, struggling, made my way over the crest of the bridge, down the other side and back into Brooklyn. At the bottom I turned around and made my way back to the waterfront and to the Kent Ave bike lane. I made my way out to Franklin Ave and took a right on Dekalb Ave towards Downtown Brooklyn.

I passed Fort Greene Park and eventually took a right onto the Fulton Street Mall. I took a left onto Smith, a right onto Schermerhorn and a left onto Court. I rode down Court for a bit before going right onto Sackett before eventually taking a left onto Columbia and arriving at President bodega.

? – 5:00pm – President (bodega) to Red Hook Crit

Because I didn’t have my lock with me, I took my bike into the bodega. I figured they wouldn’t mind and, as expected, no one said a word about it. I ordered an Italian Sub and grabbed an Arizona Ice Tea from the fridge. After my $10 transaction, I took the short ride to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

I followed some other cyclists to the Red Hook Crit, a foot and bike race two of my coworkers had told me about. I was due to meet one of them at 4:30pm but by the time I got there, set aside my bike and found a loading dock to sit on, it was a little after 5pm.

I called my buddy Darryl and found out that he wasn’t there yet. Even when I’m late to things I’m early. Good thing I didn’t rush to get there by 4:30. I sat on the dock, ate half my sandwich and drank some of my drink. Eventually I got up and walked around a little bit.

The day, which had started out chilly and had gotten warmer was now getting cold again. The sun was going down and clouds were rolling in. I was exhausted but I wanted to meet up with Darryl since I’d already come all this way. I looked at my phone, it was 6:13pm. I decided that if he wasn’t there in two minutes, I was gonna bounce.

Moments later I looked over and there was Darryl and his girlfriend Jess, riding over to greet me. I told them this story which you’ve now read and that I was cold so I was going to need to leave. After hugging both of them, I headed back to my apartment.

6:15 to ~7:00pm – Red Hook Crit back to my Apartment

I took the half hour or so ride through a dark and chilly Prospect Park. I returned home with a sunburn and bloodshot eyes. My lips were chapped from dehydration, my neck was sore and my legs were shot. I had survived a seven and a half hour day out on my bike.

The first half, the adventure part, the way there, all the way up to the point where I got to The Bronx, that part was cool. It was the whole ride back bit, particularly the Williamsburg Bridge that killed me and was less fun.

EpicRideA rough idea of my route starting at the bottom right and ending at the bottom left

I learned to always wear suntan lotion and a hat (that’s what you bought it for dummy) and to maybe stop for more breaks or for food. That said, I’m proud of myself for pushing through the pain and not punking out and taking the subway. My trip totaled somewhere between 35 and 40 miles. Tomorrow will be low key.

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Bike Kill + Rager Things

Bike Kill

If Mad Max took place in Brooklyn and the crazy cars were replaced with bicycles, you’d have an accurate idea of what Bike Kill is.

At the end of the day on Friday, my co-worker and fellow cyclist Darrell told me about this bike event thing that was happening “somewhere in Brooklyn” on Saturday. All he said was there were going to be crazy bikes there that you could ride. This didn’t give me a very good sense of what I would encounter but I’m always down to try new things, so I told him to send me the details.

IMG_7599

Later that night, while at my friend’s show, a buddy of mine also told me about Bike Kill. He texted me the poster which had all of the relevant information on it, such as time and location. After getting all my shit together on Saturday morning and dropping my excess baggage (literally) off at my friends apartment (don’t worry, this is relevant, we’ll come back to it) I made my way to Bike Kill.

When I arrived at the location, I was a bit confused, I found myself at a literal dead end (I was near a cemetery). I looked around for a bit trying to figure out what I did wrong. However, moments later, three guys on crazy custom bicycles came riding past.

IMG_7606Bike Kill Overview

“Is this where that bike thing is?” I asked. “Yeah,” one of them yelled down from his high double frame bicycle, “follow us!” I followed them into this weird parking lot/maintenance facility. There I was greeted by a band of misfit bicycles, some skate park elements, crust punks, a DJ, photographers, and a merch/food booth.

I was overwhelmed and didn’t really know where to begin, who to talk to or what to do. I leaned my bike against the back wall of the building and just kind of walked around. I watched as the circus of cyclists all rode around, taking a few laps before dismounting and hopping on a different bike.

IMG_7601Big High Wheel

After taking it all in for a bit, a big guy with a denim vest and a big beard came up to me on the monster Penny Farthing he was riding. “You,” he said, pointing at me, “you look like you’ve been eying this thing for a while.” He opened his arms and presented the bike to me. “Thanks.” I said and mounted the self balancing hi wheel.

Because of the size and the weight of the front tire, it was a difficult bike to ride. However, I eventually got it around for one full lap before dismounting and making my way to the next creation.

IMG_7604

There were anywhere from 50 to 100+ different bikes to try out. There were no rules, no order, you just picked a bike, rode it for a bit then dismounted and picked another one. It didn’t matter whom it belonged to, if you wanted to ride, you rode. I wish I could go into detail on each bike I rode but honestly there were too many to remember and all were too intricate to describe.

At one point the cops showed up and one of the “event organizers” had to talk with them for a long while. Eventually we were told that the cops asked that we no longer drink beer. At one point one of the photographers Kevin aka @demoncatslookbook pulled me aside and had me pose with a bike for a photo.

Video footage from Bike Kill 2016. Unfortunately this years did not get to this level.

I think what I loved the most, besides the fact that the community of people, despite first appearances, were really friendly, was the fact that each bike provided a unique challenge. Some took a while to figure out their quirks or how to ride them. It was like learning to ride a bike from scratch. Because of that, one felt the same rewarding feeling of learning to ride a bike with each new bicycle they conquered.

I was there from ~12pm to ~3:30pm. As I left I saw that there were cops turning people away and putting up Police Tape to block off the spot. I couldn’t understand why they were doing this. Hundreds of costume clad bikers had shown up to enjoy this cool event on Halloweekend and now they had nothing to enjoy. I was glad I got there early and was able to participate uninterrupted. My two friends however weren’t so lucky.

Rager Things

Back in March I had come up with a poster design for a Halloween party concept I called “Rager Things.” Initially, before I knew I was going to move to NY, the plan was to host this at my apartment in Somerville. However, because I moved and I knew that it would be impossible to host a party at my studio, I passed the torch to my college friends Katie and Dilila.

RagerThingsPosterGlowPS_2

They took the idea and ran with it. Because they actually have pull amongst my/our circle of friends, it became the designated “Fitchburg State” Halloween party.

After leaving Bike Kill I rode back to Katie and Dilila’s apartment. Unfortunately the front door was locked. However, our friend Monica was visiting them and had a key. I called her and she told me she was out for coffee but she’d let me know when she was back to let me in.

IMG_7611Evan makes a great “J” from Blade Runner 2049

In the meantime I rode to the chicken store on the corner where they let me take in my bike (I’d left the lock in my bag and my bag in their hallway) where I grabbed a bite to eat. As luck would have it, I saw Monica walk by on her way back to Katy and Dilila’s place and after I flagged her down she joined me while I finished my food.

We then went back to their place where we chatted and waited for the rest of the squad to show up. They soon did and we all went out to the nearby bodega to grab some provisions. Cut to a montage of people trying to get the apartment ready for the party.

IMG_7609Me and “Chris Lawless”

I was doing nothing helpful so I decided to go to the dollar store to see if I could find some halloween makeup to do a skull face. On the way I randomly bumped into my co-workers friends whom I’d met and hung out with before. We chatted for a bit and I invited them to the party before continuing on to the dollar store. As luck would have it, the second place I went into had exactly what I was looking for.

After going back and doing my skull face make-up… poorly, I made a playlist for the party. The place looked amazing with gels on the lights for a “spooky” feel. There were projectors set up in both Katy and Dilila’s bedrooms. Katie had a Nintendo Switch set up and Dilila had The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline and Corpse Bride playing on loop in her room.

IMG_7622Jazz Band

People filtered in throughout the night and I was pleasantly surprised at how many of our Massachusetts friends (shout out to Dan Kendricken) and one particular friend from Rhode Island (shout out to Jon Del Sesto) showed up. It was a good squad and felt like old times. There was even a jazz band who played sets intermittently throughout the night.

It was really fun to see and catch up with people and though neither my work friends nor the ladies I ran into on my way to getting makeup showed up, it was a really good time.

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Photoville Excursion

After being out until 5am for my friends’ birthday, I slept in a bit and took the morning slow. Eventually, I got my shit together, got showered and dressed, hopped on my bike and rode through Prospect Park to Brooklyn Bread Cafe for a late breakfast.

IMG_7453Photoville underneath the Brooklyn Bridge

After fueling up, I rode through Carroll Gardens to Brooklyn Bridge Park, eventually making my way to Photoville. P-ville is a “free” (they want you to donate $5) photography exhibition that takes place right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Each photographer has their own shipping container dedicated as a mini art gallery highlighting their work.

Each of the containers had their own interior design themes depending on the work that was being exhibited. Most of the work seemed to be centered around social justice issues or certain world issues that they’d covered. However, there was also fine art and experimental photography. In total it probably took me two or more hours to see it all.

IMG_7455Legend Car Company – CPO classic cars

After that I started to make my way out of Brooklyn Bridge Park so I could start heading into Manhattan to continue my journey. However, along the way, while walking my bike down the sidewalk in DUMBO, I came across Legend Car Company.

LCC is a high end used car dealership/gallery selling marks like Porsche and Ferrari. The showroom was filled with stunning old 911s, a Ferrari 328, and even an NSX (the one I’d buy if I could). After ogling them through the glass -I didn’t want to lock my bike and go in- I made my way to the Manhattan Bridge.

Though I typically do not like this bridge to ride over, it’s less crowded than the Brooklyn, smoother than the BK and was gonna take me very close to my next destination in Manhattan. After getting on the street level, it took me a little while before I figured out where I needed to go, but eventually I course corrected and got to the spot.

The place in question was the Metrograph theatre. I had just read about it in Time Out (that’s also where I heard about Photoville), and knew that they were screening Alien, one of my favorite movies. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, nor did I end up doing so, however, I wanted to check it out because the theatre itself, upon doing a quick Google search, seemed pretty cool.

It is essentially a less commercial Alamo Drafthouse or a more chic Nighthawk Cinema. It seems like it would be a great place to take a date, if only I could get one. Despite it’s dingy Chinatown/Lower East Side location, it’s a pretty classy old speakeasy style establishment.

It almost feels like a boutique hotel. There is a restaurant/bar so you can easily do dinner and a movie. It seemingly does not play current movies, but rather classic film prints, hence Alien.

After checking it out for a bit, I made my way to Soho to the Apple Store. Being that the iPhone 8 just came out yesterday, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The last time I was in NY for an iPhone drop, it was the summer after I graduated college. I was visiting my friend Katie, Steve Jobs had just passed away and the 4S had just come out. Weird. 

As expected, the 8 was essentially just an evolution of the 6 and 7, apart from the glass back and the added weight, which does make it feel higher quality. However, the overall design does not seem very dissimilar. Looking at the three of them in the store, I almost couldn’t tell them apart.

After screwing around in the store for a bit, I went back out, unlocked my bike and made my way home. This time I took the Williamsburg Bridge, easily my favorite one to bike over.

 

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Bike Tour of New York

This past Monday there were two new members added to my team at work. After getting to know one of them -Jordan- pretty well, we decided to go on a bike ride that Saturday, ie. today. Being that Jordan is from Ohio, he was not super familiar with New York and so we decided to go on a tour.

IMG_3427Riding with no handlebars on the Hudson River Greenway

We met up in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn at 11am. After talking over a very rough game plan, we hopped on our bikes and began our ride. We made our way down Flatbush Ave, up Fulton Street and up Adams Street to get to the first thing Jordan wanted to do, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, be it by foot or by bike (oddly I’ve never done it in a car), is always a nightmare. Unlike the Manhattan or the Williamsburg which separate the cyclists and the pedestrians on opposite sides of the bridge, the Brooklyn only has one path in the middle, forcing foot traffic and bike traffic to compete for space.

We stopped at the end of the first span to not only take a short break, but to take in the sights around us. To my pleasant surprise, though there were still a fair share of dummies, the traffic on the bridge was not as bad as it has been in past crossings.

After successfully making it into Manhattan, we took Centre Street to Grand. We headed East on Grand then turned North on Columbia Street and eventually East on Houston to get to the East River Bikeway. While on the bikeway we cut over to the East River Promenade where we stopped and took a break and chatted on a bench for a bit.

After the short break we got back on our bikes and took the bikeway all the way up to 34th Street where we hopped onto 1st Ave. We headed North up 1st Ave to the Queensborough Bridge, and, after going under it, headed West on 61st Street.

I was hungry, having skipped breakfast, so we stopped into Viand Coffee Shop on the corner of 61st and Madison. I had French toast and Canadian bacon and Jordan got soup, a salad and some coffee. After filling up over some good conversation, we hopped on the bikes again and made our way in to Central Park.

We did almost a full loop of Central Park, stopping once so Jordan could get info on joining this mens baseball team. While approaching Columbus Circle, Jordan asked if it was in fact Columbus Circle. I told him it was and asked if he wanted to check it out. He did and so we exited out the South West corner of Central Park.

After taking a few pictures we discussed our options. I suggested either Columbus Ave or Broadway to head back South. Jordan wanted to check out the Hudson River Greenway. Since I had done all of the aforementioned options and genuinely had no preference as to what we did, we decided to check out the Hudson River Greenway.

We biked along the path and stopped briefly to make note of a “Free Kayaking” sign so we, or he, or I could come back at some time to try it out. We kept riding and stopped briefly again to admire the Intrepid Museum. We unofficially discussed coming back at some point to check it out.

There, Jordan mentioned the IKEA river ferry which leaves from Pier 11 and is free on weekends. We mounted our steeds and continued South down the greenway. It’s crazy how quickly you can eat up 60 some odd blocks because before I knew it, we were at Battery Park. We stopped and sat on chairs under the shade of a tree where we chatted and I drank one of the cans of green tea I’d brought.

After a little break we headed onward to Pier 11. However, upon arriving there, we found out that the ferry was not running. We then made our way to Fulton Street in the Seaport district. There we came across Seaport Summer, an event I’ve been wanting to check out/take part in ever since stumbling across it on a previous bike ride.

Jordan asked if I wanted a beer on him and, though I hate feeling like I owe people money, I kind of couldn’t refuse. Though I typically like going on rides alone, it was nice to do this one with Jordan. After sitting and chatting and drinking for a bit, we headed onward, back into Brooklyn, to our final destination, Buffalo Exchange.

Once again we crossed the dreaded Brooklyn Bridge, but soon we were in Brooklyn and then Buffalo Exchange. Jordan was in search of a cheap denim jacket he could cut the sleeves off of to turn into a vest and make a Suicycles patch for so that he could be part of the bike gang; our fourth member.

After doing a bit of “man shopping,” ie. a quick overview of the few options available and no frivolous wandering, we headed out, empty handed. We then made one more stop, Jordan’s apartment. I locked my bike in his lobby and checked out his apartment for a short while before finally making my way back to my own apartment.

According to Jordan’s bike computer at the end of the day we covered ~30 miles. It was a lot of fun riding together. We seemed to have a similar idea of where we wanted to go/what we wanted to do and we rode at the same pace.

Neither of us complained about the length of the ride, we both clearly were at the same skill set- in terms of not being afraid to ride in traffic and what not. It was cool to take a few breaks and sit and take in the moment, rather than rush through it like I usually do.

To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, “[Jordan], I think this is the beginning of a beautiful [bromance].”

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Catching Up

Hey y’all, I writing to catch you up as to what I’ve been up to so far. As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over a month ago I moved back to New York. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of things and hanging out with a lot of people and taking a lot of pictures, and yet, I’ve posted none of it.

I think because I’m now on a computer all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is drain my eyes with more computer time. Not to say I haven’t been spending my fair share of free time on the computer, but, now that weather is consistently nice, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it.

What I have been doing, in lieu of writing digitally is to keep a physical, tangible journal. Ever since coming back from Japan, where I was writing what I did every day, it was a tough habit to break. I’m glad though because it lets me know what I did each day and, I feel keeps me productive.

Not everything I do every day or every weekend is interesting, but as I means of trying to trim the fat, I’m going to pull a few highlights from the last few weeks and make a digital copy of them here on HWS. I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath. As usual, this is more for me than it is for you.

4/30/17 (Sun) test rode a bike at Van Moof

5/2/17 (Tue) dinner at Momofuku Noodles – pork buns and chocolate malted truffles

5/4/17 (Thurs) dinner at Black Flamingo

IMG_6973Discension art installation 5/6

5/5/17 (Fri) Alligator Lounge for karaoke

5/6/17 (Sat) New York Bike Expo + Discension art installation + housewarming party at co-workers apartment

5/10/17 (Wed) dinner with Jon Papp

IMG_6987Home Sweet Home 5/12

5/12/17 (Fri) New York Night Train at Home Sweet Home with co-worker

5/15/17 (Mon) dinner with Katie at Korean Place

5/17/17 (Wed) chilled with Guto, got drinks at Nostrand Pub, dollar pizza, went back to his apt, chilled on his roof

IMG_6997My studio as I moved in/organized my stuff 5/24

5/19/17 (Fri) Alien Covenant with Papp, chased the movie with drinks at Videology, went to Rebecca’s (bar) where we met up with Katie and Brandon, macked on some biddies

5/20/17 (Sat) IKEA adventure during the day, stoop life at night

5/21/17 (Sun) moved into apartment, went to Smorgasburg with co-workers

IMG_7019Hovercraft and other rich people toys at Hammacher Schlemmer 6/3

5/24/17 (Wed) movers came and I spent all day getting the apartment organized

5/27/17 (Sat) hair cut, biked through Prospect Park, chilled at Sam Cooper’s

5/28/17 (Sun) biked to Coney Island

IMG_7046Looking back on Manhattan from the Williamsburg Bridge 6/8

5/30/17 (Tue) got Brooklyn Library card

5/31/17 (Wed) chilled with Steve at my apt

6/2/17 (Fri) Mom came to visit, went to Eataly, found $5 on the sidewalk

IMG_8022Berry Park with co-workers on 6/9

6/3/17 (Sat) Brooklyn Bread Cafe, went to Ed Sullivan Theatre, Hammacher Schlemmer, CB2, Bellstaff, cut through Central Park, Zabars, walked to The MET (opera), dinner at Liz and Tim’s apartment

6/6/17 (Tue) got Manhattan Library card

6/8/17 (Thurs) biked to work, raced co-worker to Union Sq (her on foot + train, me on bike) from Queens and I won, watched movie for World Ocean day, got lost biking home and ended up at Katie/Dilila’s apt and chilled for a bit before heading home

IMG_7066Westfield World Trade Center mall on 6/10

6/9/17 (Fri) went to Berry Park (rooftop bar) with co-workers after work, went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see It Comes at Night

6/10/17 (Sat) biked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Fulton Center, went to the Westfield World Trade Center (mall), biked to the Fulton Market and saw Seaport Summer setup, checked out the 1 Hotel, 5-hour outing

From now on, anything that’s remotely interesting that I took pictures during but didn’t post to Instagram is going on here.

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Pedal Pushers Club

For those who don’t know I recently moved back to New York after having been away for almost two years. This time however, rather than flying by the seat of my pants, I relocated because of work.

However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Just as was the case the last time I was here, today I attended Bike Expo New York. Like last time, there were basically just a bunch of booths trying to sell you bike related gear and what not.

NYC_manhole_1024x1024Not the shirt I bought

This time, though I didn’t walk away with a free Kryptonite lock, I did buy a couple pieces of swag. The main piece I want to talk about is a t-shirt I bought from a company called Pedal Pushers Club.

Let me start by saying that the last thing I need is another fucking t-shirt. That said, this one is pretty dope. This company specializes in making bike themed t-shirts. They do them for a lot of major cities.

The last time I lived here I wanted something, a shirt or hat, that represented Brooklyn. Well this time I got something. I highly reccomend checking them out as they make some really sweet designs.

Oh, and I almost forgot, because they were selling them at the Expo, they did a discount. Rather than costing $25 it only cost me $20. Hard to pass up a deal.

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Australia – Day 1: Melbourne

Tuesday – September 6th

I apologize in advance as this is not going to be as detailed and certainly not as accurate as some of my other vacation posts. Yesterday was a blur and I was super tired and jet lagged.

After landing in Melbourne at 6:30 in the morning and taking an hour and a half to get through immigration, I grabbed my bag at baggage claim and made my way out to the curb to grab the Skybus ($38 RT). It was a great way to get from  the airport to Southern Cross Station, which was a short walk from my hostel.

After getting off at Southern Cross Station and was literally outside in downtown Melbourne for less than 5 seconds before running into a guy wearing a NE Patriots hoodie! I was blown away. (Sidenote: Melbourne was chilly, def hoodie or light jacket weather). In any case, I made my way to the Melbourne Central YHA and after a bit of a mix up (I took a left on Flinders Ln instead of Flinders St), got there no problem.

I was too early to check in, so I put my suitcase and backpack in a locker (which I begrudgingly had to pay for) and made my way into town. I walked the South Bank Promenade along the Yarra River to Rentabike at Federation Square. They weren’t open yet so I explored Fed Sq and grabbed a bite to eat. (Despite serving me breakfast on the plane I was still very hungry).

img_4420One of my favorite pics of the day; a “bobbed” bike in front of graffiti down one of the laneways

After that and a bit of walking around, I made my way back to Rentabike and rented a bike for the whole day. I first made my way to the Arts Centre Melbourne and grabbed a ticket to tour the place the next day at 11am. After that I dipped a toe in the Queen Victoria Gardens before making my way to Eureka Tower.

I walked into the lobby and enquired about booking a ride to the top. Unlike the Empire State Building there was no line in the lobby. It seemed like you could basically go in, pay and hop on the elevator at any time. So, as per their suggestion, I planned on coming back the next day at around 5pm to see day turn to night from the tower.

After that, I tried to use my itinerary to get to my next destination. However, I kept getting lost, and I knew my room was ready so I headed back to the hostel to check in and regroup. I did a bit of mapping and then headed out for a second shot.

Before heading to my destination, I stopped by Culture Kings, a streetware store I came across while Googling/researching the sites I wanted visit while in Melbourne. Next, using my good planning, I made my way to my destination, the Melbourne City Holden dealership.

img_4426Melbourne skyline and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl

This was sort of a hollow victory because Holdens ended up being a pretty common site while in the city. However, it was more about the principle of finally finding it. After that I made my way back across town to the Queen Victoria Garden where I briefly stopped at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl before heading to my real destination, the Shrine of Remembrance.

img_4430Panoramic taken from the balcony of the Shrine of Remembrance looking down on the entrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens

The Shrine of Remembrance ended up being a lot more interesting than I though it would be. Rather than just being a memorial for fallen soldiers of various wars, it was a full on museum. I didn’t have the time to take in or fully appreciate all of the displays but I got a good taste of it.

img_4432Looking out on the city from the Shrine of Remembrance

After going throught the museum part of it, which felt like the set of an ominous 1970s sci-fi movie, I made my way up to the balcony which had great views of the park and of the city.

It was about 3pm and I needed to return the bike to the rental place before 5pm. So, I decided to do one more big thing on my list before heading back downtown. I rode through the bottom of the park and made my way east to the Melbourne Tesla showroom. (Sidenote: Melbourne reminds me of San Francisco).

To my surprise they had a blue Model X on display. The guy Nathan I spoke to told me that they had only gotten it a few weeks prior and unlike their Model S, the X was left hand drive. We chatted for a bit and bonded over our job before I had to go.

img_4436AAMI Park

On the way back I took a brief side stop to get a better look at the AAMI Park stadium. Or at least I think it’s a stadium. I don’t really know what it is/was but it looked cool.

img_4438Yarra river with some of the Melbourne skyline

I then made my way back to Fed Sq to return the bike. Cut to a montage of me going to Robot Bar but it wasn’t open yet so I went to Target to get a few things I’d forgotten to bring (towel (which I actually bought later at a souvenir shop), flip flops, soap, soap holder and shampoo). I then went back to Robot Bar only to find that they didn’t sell food.

Next I made my way to Curtain House, another bar on my “to visit” list. This was a nightmare too because I kept walking past it or going the wrong way. It wasn’t actually so bad but I was tired of walking and getting frustrated.

I eventually got there and grabbed a quesadilla and a beer at Mesa Verde before walking back to the hostel. I grabbed a shower, organized some stuff and was in bed by 8pm.

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Biking A Marathon

Biked from my apartment to South Station. Got a ticket for the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail. Read my book while waiting for the train. Took the 11:55am train to Framingham. Biked from the Framingham Commuter Rail station West on Route 135 to the Starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton.

coursemap_2016Official map of the Boston Marathon route

Before starting off I grabbed a quick bite at the Bittersweet Co. bakery. There was inexplicably a Robert DeNiro impersonator there. After that I made my way up the street to the starting line. I started off at 2pm.

The route is extremely simple to follow. I had looked it up on Google Maps and made some notes on my phone the night before so I wouldn’t have to keep looking at a map. Essentially you stay 135 (heading East) forever until you pass Wellesley College, shortly after which you bear left on Route 16. Next you stay on 16 for a while until you get to Route 30, aka Comm Ave.

This is the one spot where I messed up. There was no sign for Rt 30 and though I knew I needed to get onto Comm Ave eventually, I didn’t follow my intuition and ended up staying straight on 16 until I got to the on ramp for the Mass Pike, at which point I knew I’d gone the wrong way and had to double back. Luckily I’d only gone ~.2 miles out of my way.

Once back at Comm Ave I took it all the way past the Chestnut Hill Reservoir where I jumped over to Beacon Street and took that all the way to Kenmore Sq at which point you get back on to Comm Ave before taking a right on Hereford St followed by a left on Boylston and through the Finish line.

I suspected the ride would take me anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to complete but to my surprise, it only ended up taking 2 hours and 9 minutes, including my screw up. All things considered, though I was tired at the end, it wasn’t nearly as taxing as I thought it would be, I could never run it though. And, like I said, the route was easy to follow. It brought me though a lot of towns I’d never been to before that I’d definitely like to explore more throughly.

It was something I’d always wanted to do and I’m glad I finally did it. I would definitely do it again. The nice thing was that marked on the side of the road every mile or so was a “water stop.” This was fun way of a) making sure I was still heading the right way and b) keeping track of how far I’d gone.

In total, based on Google Map estimates, between biking from my apartment to South Station, Framingham Station to the Start line, the marathon route, and then back to my apartment from Boston, I think I biked roughly 40 miles today. Not bad.

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Where The Bike Path Ends

Get it… like Where the Sidewalk Ends… by Shel Silverstein? Anyway, today, since I had the day off, I decided to explore Somerville. My cousin had called me the other day and told me that Somerville was the first site where they raised the American flag after some historical event took place (or something like that). So, this morning, I decided to go to the site to check it out.

ProspectHillParkProspect Hill Park

I climbed the stairs and got as high up as I could. Unfortunately, I was not able to go into the stone monument. However, even from it’s base I was able to get a great view of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. I definitely look forward to going back there when the weather gets nice. There’s a great grassy area that’s perfect for frisbee.

For whatever reason, it reminded me of parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan (specifically Harlem). Maybe because that’s where I last went on an “exploration” but either way it was nice to feel like I was back there, or at the very least, feel like I was somewhere new.

After walking around the park for a bit, I decided, rather than to go back to the apartment, that I would explore a bit of Somerville.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 7.05.04 PMWalking route

I made my way out to Highland Ave, entirely by accident and then past my friend James’s apartment. After that I walked all the way down Broadway to Taco Party. I considered stopping in for some food, the original plan, but decided not to (I’ll do it some other time, possibly with friends) and instead hung a left off of Broadway to head back towards Davis Sq.

Along the way I passed a bike path and instantly decided I needed to explore it. After ending up not at Davis, but instead near Porter, I grabbed the 87 bus back to my apartment (I was tired of walking) and took a quick break before grabbing my bike and heading out again.

It was a little cold and threatening to rain but I was determined to make good use of my day, rather than spend it entirely in the apartment. I made my way up Somerville Ave, hung a right onto Lowell St, and eventually got onto the Somerville Community Path.

The first section of the path was really well paved and again I look forward to going back there when the weather is nice. However, today was great because there were very few people on it, so I never dealt with traffic.

The path winds through Davis Square, across Mass Ave, and eventually ends up at Alewife station. I continued on the path, past Alewife, past some pond until I reached a sign that said END OF BIKE PATH. This was probably for the best because as much as I wanted to continue to explore, I was getting cold. Again, I’ll save it for another day.

As I made my way back and was approaching Alewife, I saw another bike path off to my left. I had seen it while heading out but was determined to see the end of the path I was on first. I really wanted to go back because I was cold, but the spirit of adventure took hold of me and I ended up following my gut.

Your gut is usually a good thing to follow and this certainly was the case today. It led me all the way to Arlington to the Minuteman Bikeway (little did I know I was already on it). This is a path I’ve ridden several times before all the way to it’s end at the Bedford depot. I was too cold to continue down that path, so I tied my shoe at the Uncle Sam Memorial Statue before finally heading back to the apartment.

Once home, I made food and clearly was very tired because after eating, I lied down on the couch to take a “short nap” which ended up lasting from 3pm to 6pm.

In completely unrelated news, the show Girls on HBO has always been a good source of music, specifically during their end credits. The last two episodes have been no exception and were so good that I felt I needed to share them. (Just a heads up, the vid below is not the song from the episode, merely another one from the same group which I really like and the video is cool.)

First off is the song It by Christine and the Queens. This song ended, not this most recent episode, but the one before that. I really liked it and in fact, enjoyed it so much that I look more into the group and am now a big fan of their music. What I also like about them is the fact that their music videos are really artsy and cool.

The second end credits song was a cover of David Bowie’s Life on Mars by Norwegian singer Aurora. Not only did it fit the tone of the episode perfectly, but it is also heartbreakingly beautiful. It reminds me of the Jónsi cover of MGMT’s Time to Pretend.

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BBP + AF + JB

Friday

I attended my first Boston Bike Party in a long time. The last one I did was the Halloween Ride last year. Since coming back from New York (Yes, I’m back. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it and my time there and what led to me coming back but there hasn’t been a big enough of a thing to announce it. I know what I mean) I have been wanting to attend a BBP but different events over the past months have prevented it. Additionally, I had been wanting to take the hi wheel on one of the rides but I needed a good excuse to bring it (rather than my daily driver).

11949396_499368816888081_3622397505108103968_n

For those of you who forget or don’t know or haven’t read my previous bike party posts, which I suspect would be most of you, every Boston Bike Party event has a theme. For example, the first one I ever did was Robots VS Dinosaurs. People dress up in costume (although getting dressed up is not a requirement for the event) in order to support the theme. I typically don’t dress up simply because I’m there to ride and have fun with a huge group of people. This time however, I finally found a ride with a theme that would not only allow me to dress up but also to bring my mini hi wheel.

The theme for this September’s ride was simply, Boston. Each time BBP posts the theme, they also post a “look book” to inspire potential costume ideas. When I saw that they posted people in colonial costumes, I got the idea of Boston through the ages. Thus, a newsboy riding a penny farthing was a perfect fit for this ride. As far as clothes go, I was already covered. While living off campus in Fitchburg, we had held a speakeasy themed party. At that time I had gone to the Salvation Army and bought an entire get-up for the party. Luckily, being a guy who never throws anything away, I still had the outfit.

Upon arriving at Copley Square I was instantly greeted with praise, as I have come accustom when riding the hi wheel. My costume was not even one of the most clever of the group, several other people had been much more creative. However, being that they (we) are all “bike people,” they were able to appreciate the bike even more than your average passerby. As usual I was bombarded by the same questions I am always hit with whenever I take it out. Questions that essentially were the original reason for starting this blog; because I didn’t want to answer them anymore I was going to give out my business card to anyone who asked, rather than answer the same things over and over. A heavy cross I bear, but I take it in stride (joking).

Before setting off I ran into my friend Jesse whom I met on the first BBP I ever attended. Despite not seeing him in about a year he remembered who I was. I’m always amazed when people remember me. In any case, the ride ended up being a really good one (as they always are). Not only was it long but there was a lot of positive energy from passers by as well as fellow cyclists in the group (all told I believe there was in the vicinity of 500 of us). A bunch of spectators hollered at me and gave me the thumbs up or wanted to take my picture. Despite not really knowing how to handle it, the attention never gets old, haha.

The ride ended at the Charlestown Navy Yard. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that it didn’t end up at a bar (in usual fashion) as I was in need of a beer. Additionally, despite taking to a few ladies, I didn’t get any numbers; that was a bit of a disappointment too. Hmm, and I was so certain that a guy in period garb riding a penny farthing would be the single thing needed get their motors (or in this case pedals) going. Haha, oh well, I still had fun.

Saturday – morning

The next day, yesterday, I attended my third ever American Field event. AF is a show that features goods that are all made in America. It took place on Drydock Ave, the same place it had happened last year, however this year it was indoors. I had no intention of buying anything but I always like seeing the sort of goods that are there.

It’s like going to a Capsule show where you see a lot of independent clothing, accessory, leather, wood and furniture manufacturers. I didn’t bother taking any pictures because if you’ve gone to one, you’ve gone to them all. However, it was still fun and I even got to try a type of flavored vodka that is made in Texas I believe. Additionally, something new this year was that Tesla was hosting test drives. I didn’t get a chance to take one as they were all filled up, however it was still cool that they were doing it.

Saturday – afternoon/night

I sort of rushed through the American Field show in order to be in time for a double feature I had planned with my friend Dan and my sister. We have faithfully stuck to our 23 Weeks of Bond marathon. (I’m saying 23 weeks of Bond instead of 24 weeks because despite the fact that the next film is number 24 in the series, we are marathoning the ones that are already made. The icing on the proverbial cake is Spectre and thus I see it as being separate from the res id the films). However, due to a miscalculation on my part we started a bit late and thus had to double up this week. (We’ll have to double up on a couple of other occasions as well but this was the first one).

For this double feature we were watching Octopussy and Never Say Never Again. Though NSNA is technically not an official Bond movie, since they reviewed it on the James Bonding podcast, we counted it. The reason we grouped these two was because they were both released in 1983. I knew this was going to be a taxing double feature as neither of these films are exactly what one might call gems.

However, we were able to sucessfully get through both of them with the assistance of beer, popcorn, bagel bites, a frisbee break and an N64 video game break during which time we played The World is Not Enough and listened half of the Octopussy episode of the James Bonding podcast. All in all it was a successful night and but I am glad to be done with these films.

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