Category Archives: Biking

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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Denny

Since this is technically a bike blog I would not be doing my duty if I didn’t report on this.

Denny is a bike that fills a lot of needs I didn’t know I had. Things I like: the integrated U-lock/handlebar, the fact it can be unlocked with an app, the integrated front rack, the integrated blinkers, the integrated front light, the integrated rear light/brake light, the belt drive (chain), and weirdly the tires.

Things I don’t like: the e-assist and the gears which I wouldn’t use. Additionally I wonder if the front rack comes off. Though I like the lights and think the rack could come in handy, I feel like it would be nice to have the option to take it off. I would loe to test drive it and if it were reasonably priced (like $1,000) I would seriously consider buying it.

Seeing this bike made me think of a couple of ideas. One, I feel like since there are already electronics being used to power the lights they could also integrate a bike computer which would be able to display things such as your speed and mileage. Additionally, something I’ve thought of for a while is the ability to use your pedal power to generate electrical energy that would allow you to say for example charge your cell phone while riding your bike.

I’ve also been thinking that having the platform on the front would allow you to mount things like a stereo or a Go Pro now that you have a nice flat surface to work with. Lastly, one of my concerns is “how up to standards” their handlebar locking system is in relation to brands such as Kryptonite.

While attending the Kryptonite lock safety seminar at the New York Bike Expo, one of the complaints they brought up was the fact that their locks are very heavy, however, they did not offer a solution. Just today I was thinking, and I’m sure that it’s probably in the works, either Kryptonite or some other company should develop a carbon fiber U-lock. It would not only be very light, it would also be very strong.

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Biking to New Jersey

My day started off well. As I was getting out of the shower, Steve was putting on the Randy Newman record Sail Away. The second track on it is Lonely at the Top. I knew I recognized it from a soundtrack and a quick Google search confirmed that I was correct, it is used in You’ve Got Mail; unabashedly one of my favorite movies.

In any case, a week or so ago I got the urge to bike across the George Washington Bridge as it was basically the only one I hadn’t ridden across yet. However, I only did a touch and go, dipping my toe in Jersey and then instantly turning around and riding back to New York. Today however, I decided to actually make a trip out of it and ride around New Jersey.

SkylineFromNJ_PanoPanorama of the Manhattan skyline New Jersey taken from atop a concrete wall

There really wasn’t very much to see or do. I don’t know really anything about Jersey; where things are relative to one another. Nor did I do any research before hand, a rare thing for me. Thus there isn’t much to tell. I basically went down to Hoboken, stopping briefly at North Hudson Park along the way before turning around at 14th street and making my way back to the bridge.

SkylineFromNJ_FenceManhattan skyline New Jersey taken from behind a fence

Along the way I passed a side street that had a great view of Manhattan. I stood on the concrete wall and got a picture of the skyline. As I continued up whatever Ave I was on, less than a block later, there was an opening with an elevated and even better view of the same thing, so I did a reshoot.

GW_BridgeGeorge Washington Bridge

I crossed back into Manhattan and took basically the same route I had taken the last time I “dipped a toe” in NJ. I utilized mainly Riverside Drive which both times was essentially empty with regard to cars. Then, at around 91st Street I followed a couple of cyclists onto a bike path that led to where Tom Hanks meets Meg Ryan at the end of You’ve Got Mail; second reference of the day.

I then continued down the West Side Drive bike path that was so busy, there was an entire section where cyclists were asked to dismount and walk their bikes. I was super hungry and under-hydrated, so at 16th St a hung a left and made my way out to Union Sq where I got an overpriced Gatorade from a street vendor. I sat and downed it before hopping the 4 back to Brooklyn.

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Shopping Adventure

Over the week I had been accumulating a list of places I wanted to check out. So yesterday I went on a bike ride that would take me to all of the spots I wanted to go.

Alfa2000Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV

The first place on my list was a vintage store I had been in a few months ago called Eclectic Collectibles and Antiques. There are always classic cars parked out in front of the store but while on my bike ride with Tim last Sunday I noticed a new addition. The car in question was an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV.

I walked into the store with a list of questions; does it run, what year is it, how much is it going for? The second I finished saying ‘Alfa Romeo’ the clerk said, “It’s not for sale.” Apparently I was the 20th person to have asked him about it that day. Apparently they are a prop shop and so they would rent this car to say a movie production or something, but he’s not about to sell it. With the wind out of my sails, I made my way to my next destination.

RoughTradeRough Trade

Next on my list was a record store in Williamsburg called Rough Trade. Based in, essentially a warehouse, RT is a record store that also sells books. It is the closest thing I’ve found to an Amoeba Music or a Newbury Comics. The reason I was there was because they were one of the retail locations mentioned on the Gestalten website and so I wanted to try and find the travel guide mentioned in the previous post.

Though I didn’t find the travel guides, I did find that the entire back wall was dedicated to Gestalten books. Two that jumped out at me were Urban Theater and Container Atlas. Urban Theater featured really cool street art/performance art. Container Atlas was topical because I had recently been talking with my fellow instructor about how cool it would be to convert a shipping container (or containers) into living quarters.

I looked through the books and then just wandered through the store. It has a really cool set up. Coincidentally, sections of the upper level are made out of shipping containers. The place has a rad industrial vibe to it. Apparently in the back there is a music venue. There was an area for table tennis and downstairs there was a little coffee shop and couches to read and relax. It was a really rad spot.

One of the first things that was very on-the-nose and to be expected of a “hip” place such as this was that they were playing really weird music. It felt like a rave infused with DJ elements and disco. However eventually it got to a song that I quasi-recognized. It had elements of Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Sure enough it eventually got to the vocals and it was in fact some weird remix of Superstition. I went down to the counter to ask who it was and the woman told me it was Todd Terje. I don’t know if his stuff was what had been playing when I got into the store but either way, the remix was dope.

Sidenote: upon listening to more of his stuff on Spotify, I really like it.

t15s108010_nvy_1Polka dot shirt from The Hundreds

Moving on, I made my way out of Brooklyn and across the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan. I was bound for The Hundreds, a spot with which I am very familiar. This time however, I had a specific item in mind. They had just come out with a collection of polka dot button ups and I wanted to try one on and potentially buy it.

Upon entering the store I saw that they only had one, the black on black and it was a medium. I tried it on anyway, and, as expected, it was too big. The guy said there’d be more in a week or two, but a) I don’t really need it, b) it’s kind of expensive, and c) I feel like even the small will be too big. I would need an extra small and they don’t make them in that size.

nyc_shop-514c491184d78Monocle shop

Next I made my way west to hit up Monocle, a tiny boutique shop in Greenwich Village. One can literally walk in, spin around and see the entire store. I was in search of the travel guides I had not been able to find at Rough Trade and the magazine which I actually had found.

I found the books I was looking for and started thumbing through them. I was expecting something coffee table sized but instead found them to be quite small. I guess I should have expected them to be small as they are travel guides and one does not want to carry something large with them on vacation, but still, I was a bit disappointed. As is the case with many things I go out to buy, once I had it in front of me, I no longer want to spend the money and thus came away from my shopping adventure empty handed.

SkylineFromRoofSunset view of the Manhattan skyline from the roof of Guto’s apartment

I checked my phone and found that it was 4pm. As luck would have it, the day before I had been invited to a BBQ at my friend Guto’s place. He said to be there between 4pm and 5pm, so I began making my way back to Brooklyn. I ended up taking a route I don’t usually go but thanks to my impeccable sense of direction, ended up on a street that I knew would eventually intersect with the one I needed.

I arrived at his apartment and started to call Guto so he would come down and let me in. As I did, I noticed someone familiar making their way down the street. At first I wasn’t sure it was who I thought it was, but as he got closer I knew. Sure enough it was our mutual friend Jon Papp. It was so strange that without even planning it, Papp and I showed up at basically the same time. Eventually Guto let us in. I brought my bike inside and we all made our way onto the roof where others were there to greet us.

Guto cooked burgers and hot dogs and bacon periodically throughout the night. Later they even brought out a fire pit which was nice. There was a lot of fun conversation and I ended up staying until around 11:30pm. It was great to see everyone and it turned out to be a really fun night.

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BBP Halloween Bike Ride

Halloween is always one of those events that you want to go well but you never expect it will. What I mean is, you build it up in your head and hope it goes well, but rarely does it meet your expectations. This year, in preparation for potential disappointment, I found myself three things to do. That way, if one of them sucked, I’d have two others to fall back on.

HBR Fyler

The three things were: the Boston Bike Party Halloween Ride (pictured in poster form above), karaoke at Highland Kitchen, and the 2nd annual Halloween party at my friend’s apartment aka The Blood Coven. The initial plan I made for myself was to start the night off by doing the BBP, then biking over to Somerville to do some karaoke, and finally ending the night at the Coven. However, as Halloween approached and I got more realistic about things, I began to realize that this plan might not be possible.

So, I decided to go into the night without a specific plan. I figured I would definitely start with the BBP ride, as it’s still new to me and I wanted to meet up with people again. However, if I didn’t make it to HK, that’d be fine because it’s not like I’ve never done karaoke there before. And as to the Coven Party, if I made it there, great, if not, that too, it’s not like I hadn’t been to a party there before (and they’re all basically the same anyway).

After getting home from work I got changed into my street clothes and headed straight back into the city. I didn’t have a costume, partially because I didn’t have time for one and partially because it was too cold to wear one. I just went out in jeans, a hoodie, a beanie, and my denim vest. The first person I saw was the guy David I had met the last time who was once again wearing his home-made Daft Punk helmet. I chatted with him for a bit and then basically rode around in circles for a bit to keep warm and to admire people’s costumes as they came in.

Tron_DaftPunkSaw my homeboy David again, aka “Thomas Bangalter” as well as this girl (sorry, I forget your name) dressed as a “user” from TRON Legacy.

Some of the costumes that stuck out to me were Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic who had built a frame around his bike to make it look like a submarine, Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, Elliot with ET in the basket, Paul Revere with cardboard on his bike to make it look like a horse, The “T”; both the red and the blue line, TRON and Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk (both pictured above). I know I’m forgetting some because there were a lot of creative people there.

However, one of the smarter ones I saw was a group. The group was Mario, Luigi, and Peach. This is pretty standard and typically I would find it unoriginal. However, this groups was specifically these three characters from Mario Kart. The way they differentiated themselves was by having three balloons tied to their backs to represent that they were in “Battle Mode.” On top of that, Luigi even had a set of three banana peels on his bike rack. It’s this attention to detail that separates the good costumes from the great ones. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pictures of any of these, or very many pictures at all for that matter, because I’m stupid.

In my ridings around, I ran into one of the organizers who gave me a spoke card. I had gotten one at the last BBP but it fell out of my spokes. I was going to leave this one in my pocket but when the organizer (I forget his name) saw I wasn’t putting it on my bike, he took it from me and stuck it in my rear spoke. “I don’t want it to fall out like last time,” I told him. “You just gotta stick it in there real good,” he said. “In other words, don’t be a pussy?,” I asked. “Basically,” he said. He stood back admiring his handy work. “This looks real good on your bike.” He was right, the orange spoke card paired nicely with my black frame and to my pleasant surprise it stayed in my spoke the whole ride.

BBP_Halloween_SpokeCardBoston Bike Party -Halloween Bike Ride- spoke card.

Soon the ride was underway. Right away it had a distinctly different tone to the first ride. Not only was it colder, but there were noticeably more people there. The 700 or so of us made the group of 300 the last time seem intimate. Also, we encountered a lot more anger than we had before. What I mean is, I don’t really remember anyone beeping at us on the (my) first ride. This time however, there were a bunch of cars that were upset with us and a few who rolled down there windows to yell at us to get out of the way. I get that it’s probably frustrating to wait a few minutes for several hundred costumed cyclists to pass by before you can continue on your way, but it’s like, be patient, you know? Enjoy the parade.

I tried to move around in the crowd, not just stay towards the front or the back, but jumble around. I even stopped a couple times to take time-lapse videos of the group passing me by. There were definitely some rad moments of feeling like you’re part of something bigger than you. You kind of just tune out of everyday life and tune in to everyone around you; it’s a cool experience.

Along the way I met up with two guys with whom I felt instant kinship. Devon and Collin were both fellow (although I guess now I’m technically former) messengers. We just got along right away and had cool quick convo about messaging and biking in general. Devon told me that the next day (Saturday) there was set to be an AlleyCat Race* at 1pm and that I should join them. I told him it would depend on how much drinking I did. I said that I wanted to grab their numbers at the end but before you knew it we were separated and soon we were in Allston and it was over.

There were two options for the after-party, Wonderbar or The Brighton Music Hall. I saw the line for Wonderbar was super long so I made my over to BMH. There was a line there too and suddenly my brain was in a weird palce. I don’t know how to explain it, whether I was disappointed it was already over, or that I hadn’t gotten anyone’s number, but I just wasn’t in the mood to hang around and try and find people. After a few minutes of inner conflict, I decided -since the night was still young- to head over to HK.

Still have yet to “plug” Hi Wheel Scene. Still haven’t pitched the idea for a naked bike ride. Still didn’t take as much time to grab photos and to really enjoy the moment while I was in it. However, this was only my second one, there will be many more opportunities to do all of the aforementioned things.

It was a cold lonesome ride through the darkness, but eventually I made my way to the promised land. After saying hi to Sparkie and Brian, I spotted Tyler and Shannon and sat and chilled with them. They were eating but told me that once they were done, they were gonna head over to the Coven. I told them I’d biked and that I’d put a song in, so I wanted to at least sing before heading over and that if they wanted to leave without me to go for it. As timing would have it, I was called up to sing right as Tyler was finishing up at the bar. I pumped the crowd up with “It’s Tricky,” before doing a fashionable Irish exit.

I flew over to the Coven and to my surprise, got there before Tyler and Shannon despite leaving at the exact same time. I don’t know if it was the cold (as motivation) or that it was just significantly shorter than I remembered it being (and certainly much short than my other two previous rides that night) but it felt like it got there in no time. However, upon my arrival I was bummed to see that there was no one there. I mean of course there were people there, but it wasn’t the rage-er it was last year.

The funny thing is, I was sort of not surprised. It’s weird to say, but Halloween felt very unimportant this year. I was looking forward to what I wanted to do, but sort of knew it was gonna be lame. It was as if everyone felt the same way I did and was just going through the motions because they had to. I chilled and sat and talked and danced but it was all sort of half-hearted.

By around 1-1:30, Tyler suggested we go to another party at Brendan’s friends house. As I was mid-decision making, Christian asked me if I wanted a ride. (It wouldn’t be till the end of the night that I would realize I should have left with him, but more on that later). Not wanting to be the “blitz” I typically am, I decided to stick around and see where the night took me.

Me, Collin (a different one from the one I mentioned before) and Matt were down. But, because nothing happens fast with that crew, it wasn’t until about 45 minutes later that we actually left for the other place. Upon our arrival it was instantly apparent we had gone from lame to equally lame. Basically just a bunch of people none of us knew standing around in a tiny living room drunkenly grinding on each other. The few people I spoke to were super weird and after about a half hour of bullshit, we went back to the Coven.

We danced a bit more and soon after we arrived, Sparkie, Brian, Brian’s girlfriend, Brandon (door-man at HK), and Brice (manager or something at HK) randomly showed up. We chatted with them for a bit until they too realized the party was super dead. I got hungry and to my pleasant surprise was rewarded with Collin’s leftover burrito from Chipotle. Apparently him and Matt had gone earlier in the night right before they closed and were given super huge burritos. So big, that Collin couldn’t finish his and thus I reaped the benefits.

Soon however, Brendon came out of his room and told us to keep it down and that he wanted us to leave soon. I was all ready to go and so was Matt, but then Collin had to get into the huge roundabout conversation with Abby’s stupid friend about the Boston hardcore scene versus the Texas hardcore scene and their perceived differences. I’m not sure what time it started but all I know is that it didn’t end until about 5:40am. At one point I semi-conciously nodded off on Abby’s lap.

Finally we said our goodbyes and made our way out to leave, but not before me taking Brendon’s Blu-ray copy of Her. I thought I was out of the woods when suddenly Collin realized, right as we were about the pull away from the curb, that he’d left his boom-box in the house. He promptly retrieved it and finally we were on our way. Matt dropped off Collin at his casa before ending my night by dropping me off at my house. It was 6am and I had nothing to show for it. No hickey, no girl, just my bike and my sleep deprived sober brain. It had been a nearly twelve hour excursion from when I left my house to when I got back to it.

So now you know why I should have left with Christian… because nothing fucking happened. Even with three plans I didn’t have a fun Halloween; I just sat around for several hours. Hours I could have used on sleep. By the same token, it’s not like I had shit to do on Saturday, so I could -and did- sleep in… till 2:20pm. I was disappointed to miss the AlleyCat Race but the weather was shitty anyway, so I probably wouldn’t have gone even if I had gotten to bed at a reasonable hour. Besides it’s like my friend once said, “Time spent being unproductive with friends is better than time being spent unproductive alone,” …or something along those lines.

 

*For those who don’t know, an AlleyCat Race is part of the bike messenger culture. Messengers meet up at a designated location and are given a manifest with a certain number of “delivery” locations on it. These locations are checkpoints at which you have to get your manifest signed. The first biker to get his or her run completed first, having hit all the checkpoints, is the winner.

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More BBP

As I said in the original Boston Bike Party post, one of the dudes I met on the ride was Jesse. I saw him filming everything with his GoPro and asked if he was planning on making a video. He said that he was and told me he’d let me know when he posted it online. The following is that video.

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