Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snow? Say it ain't so!

WTF SNOW!?!? Yep I said WTF SNOW?!?!?!??!?

I just watched the weather report and they talked about the possibility of snow (although not accumulating) by week’s end.

I have to confess that there was a time, albeit long ago, that I would have been really excited with such a report. But, I was a Ski Patroller back then. Happy to ski all season long for free and I got to cut lines. First tracks and always last off the mountain. It was all great except when there were drunk skiers attempting to get a patroller to “man up”; it was a snot freezing -10 below zero with 15 MPH winds; raining (sideways); lighting (which made for very interesting lift ride); high winds (again with the lift rides); first tracks after an ice storm; I could go on… But no matter what the conditions, we always skied…5-6-7 days a week, all season long.

What does this have to do with bicycling…the weather here in New England/Boston is ever changing and can be downright harsh, especially in the winter months. And as all Bostonians know, as much as there is no such thing as “Manhattan Chowda” (I heard it’s tomato soup with clams in it?), winter around here can be from any time in October and up to and including pretty much all of April.

So to say that you ride a bike here in Boston/Cambridge means you ride in all types of weather…no matter what. Ok, except maybe when there is plowable snow on the ground…and I strongly recommend staying off the roads for that first accumulating snow. You know the one where the driving public re-learns how to drive in snow and that learning curve resembles somehting like a bad EKG read out.

There are oh so many things to "get" about cycling here in the Boston/Cambridge area. To those of you that are new to the area, look, listen, read, ask, etc. You will be just fine. Like I heard so many times skiing. A bad day on skis (or snow board), beats a good day working or doing much else. And it follows, a bad day on a bicycle beats most any day in a car, bus…etc.

What better way to say BIKE ME to our wonderful winter weather (or with my best Boston accent, winta weatha) here and going a little more native… Chowda anyone?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tweed Ride, Brilliant!

Saturday October 3nd something like 2+ inches of rain? OMG, like we didn’t have enough this summer? Then….Sunday October 4rd starts out dark, foggy, misty, and cool. But by 1PM the sun was breaking out and spreading warmth and good cheer, as will happen after such a dim start.

But alas, there was one more thing setting up to spread good cheer (just as the sun shine would) though out Boston and Cambridge. Nearly one hundred people dressed in Tweed and riding vintage bicycles (mostly) would be cause to stop traffic and pedestrians alike. Most of them taking pictures and asking; “Who are you people?” I had a lot of fun with my replies…everything from it’s a filming of the sequel to “Good Will Hunting” to we just rode in from NYC.

Good cheer was spread by this cheeky throng winding its way over the Longfellow Bridge to the front of Trinity Church in Copley Square. Next, a short jaunt to Newbury St for refreshments. Then crossing back over the Mass. Ave Bridge to the Harvard Foot Bridge for some good hearted competition and judging.

Business partner Vin V ( & I were honored to be chosen as judges. And I must confess both of us shamelessly told everyone that we were indeed official judges and could be bribed…and yet, nothing! We figured some free beer maybe… actually we did get one each for an emergency repair performed at Copley Sq. Sorry, I digress.

I must tell you, that there are some seriously nice vintage bicycles being ridden here in the Boston/Cambridge area, most on a daily basis. And a few of those, as it turns out, were sold from our shop. Thus, judging for me, I have to confess, was difficult. So may wonderful rides. As much as I like all bikes, a nice looking 3 speed has a special place with me, as one was my first “real” bike. You know, it is like any first; it is something you never forget and it becomes an eternal bench mark.

Ok, so honestly, I must report we got separated from the main group. After that quick emergency repair at Copley Square, the group had got way ahead of us. So we zipped down Dartmouth St. right past Newbury St. somehow missing where 90+ riders went. Zipping right along searching for our fellow Tweeds, we arrived at the Harvard Foot Bridge warmed by the October sun … and waited. Thinking we should have brought sun screen, we still waited until…

We were treated to the grand sights and sounds (bells, horns and of course the clicking of Strumy Archer hubs) of those nearly 100 Tweed Riders stretched out on a closed Memorial Drive. That alone could have made this incredibly nice day, but the community of “Tweed Riders” made it complete. Maybe it was a love or at least an intense crush on vintage bicycles or maybe just a really cool group of cyclists having a good time together. No matter what IT was, it was an incredibly nice place to be.

And, I only wanted to say Bike Me just once to a rather obnoxious (over use of horn) cabbie on Beacon St. Thinking that the event itself had a subtle Bike Me message to it anyway, I stayed (unusually) silent.

So if you missed what is now known as The Inaugural Tweed Ride, please keep an eye out for the 2nd Annual (?) Tweed Ride. This was serious good fun…