Ride Report02 May 2009 12:58 am

There is something magical about making yourself move as fast as you can. When I was a child I used to experience great joy from running. Pushing my legs and arms and lungs until I felt like I was flying, the world galloping past me in a blur. I thought it was the greatest thing ever, until I got on a bike.

Now that was some speed! Running was great, but pushing the cranks faster and faster and faster until your eyes start to water from the wind, that is a true rush.

Tonight I wasn’t feeling very good about myself, or my life. A bike ride seemed to be the thing I needed. What started as a run to the grocery store turned into a flat out ten mile sprint, farther, faster, harder. Traffic be damned, safety be damned, all that mattered was going faster.


As the cranks spun, and the very fabric of the world seemed to fall away, cars were feathers to be brushed aside on the quest for more and more speed. I realized the wind was in my face, I had come 5 miles against a light headwind, it was time to go home. I turned around and felt a new surge of power, was it possible could I eek more speed out of my panting husk?

Literally frothing I pushed myself, gasping for air, moving just fast enough to leave life behind, just fast enough to forget it all.

Ride Report07 Nov 2008 02:47 pm

Life is an awful lot like a bike ride through deadly fast rush hour traffic. Exciting, full of surprises, and every once in a while you get hit by a car.

Right now I feel like a truck just ran into me out and I am laying on my back staring at the sky thinking “how did I get here” and “why does it hurt so bad.” Something is seriously wrong with my insides, and I think I might have just figured it out. I have surplus organs.

The first on my list of extra’s would have to be the heart. I know some people are all attached to theirs, but mine seems to have become pretty useless. When you give little parts of it away, do they come back when those people are done with them, or are you left with an ever shrinking piece of real estate ever more scarred and useless.

At this point I am thinking a metal heart, one that is strong, uncaring and impenetrable might be the best option for me. Chrome up the insides, full robot.

The second on my list of “must go” items would have to be the brain. Again, people put a lot of stock in these lumpy gray chunks of neurons and chemicals but personally I think mine might be a hazard. It floods my senses with ideas that are not only dangerous but stupid. It is not thinking about the rest of my bodies best interest, and it refuses to let me go to sleep at night. The damn thing has completely revolted.

Loneliness, sadness, despondency, what the fuck brain, what did I ever do to you! My only solution, the brain has to go…get me an old computer and jam it in there instead. Something mindless, something digital, something uncaring and dead. Flat line the meter, remove the emotions, just turn it off.

I figure the new me will be stronger, faster, less interesting, less prone to love, and caring, and therefor more able to cope with this world. Clearly the old model was a dud, here’s looking forward to me 2.0.

Ride Report26 Oct 2008 01:55 am

The other day I was at one of thous lights where you push the button and wait for it to turn red. A pedestrian crossing. I use it to cross a very busy street. I pulled up to the edge of the intersection, pushed the button and waited. The lights did their slow dance, yellow and then red. It was raining lightly.

I know this light, I know people like to run through it, so I always wait till everyone comes to a full stop before going. I was sitting on my top tube, hands in my pockets to keep them warm, waiting as life passed me by. A young man in a shitty car must not have noticed the light was red until pretty late because he slammed on the breaks locking up the front end and sending his car into a skid on the slick streets. I sat calmly watching as several hundred pounds of metal and glass slid to within a foot of my front wheel.

When it was clear he was done skidding I mounted the bike and drove off. What really bothered me, what really got me thinking later, was that I never even thought about getting out of the way. I never thought “hey this car is about to run you over, move.” I have been nudged, bumped, pressured, bullied, nearly hit, hit and flat out knocked down by so many cars at this point that unless you actually knock me off my bike, I don’t notice.

It’s a statistics game. You spend enough time in the street with people who are more worried about getting from point A to point B at high speed than watching out for you, and you are going to get hit by a car. You can be as safe as can be (and I often am) and all that does is increase the time in between accidents.

I am not a macho man, I don’t think I am tougher than the other guys “cause I ride in the streets”, but something has happened to my outlook. I also don’t do stupid shit, I stop at red lights, and stop signs. I ride on the right hand side of the road. But unless you actually hit me hard enough to break a bone, or break my bike I will get up, spit, get on my bike and ride off. When did the prospect of getting run over stop being scary?

There are things that are starting to bother me though. I have stopped getting excited in heavy traffic. I can be inches away from a screaming cab and the adrenaline isn’t going. I can miss being run down by a bus by inches and my heart rate doesn’t change at all. Something is wrong here. The human body is chock full of self defense measures, and none of mine seem to be working.

People honk, I don’t care, people nudge me, I don’t care, people even scream and throw things. I don’t care. I am going to take my little slice of the road, I am going to ride it into oblivion and fuck everyone else.

A month ago a man tried cut me off (he also almost hit several pedestrians in the cross walk at the same time) so I banged on his hood to remind him that, yes a human being was in front of him. He proceeded to scream out of his window that “I am going to kill you”, he then went on to chase me at high speeds though heavy traffic. He tried several times to run me over, and even got out of his car once and ran at me, the whole time all I could think was that “he isn’t going to catch me, this is kind of funny.” I easily threaded in and out of the heavy traffic and left him at a red light and never looked back. The moral of this story, there isn’t one, it’s just one of a million stories that anyone who does a lot of city riding will be able to share with you.

Is this all just a slow suicide. In a couple of months/years/decades will I find myself splattered all over the pavement because I had the audacity to ride my bike in the street with the cars. I don’t really care, and that more than anything concerns me.

Ride Report10 Sep 2008 03:20 pm

Nothing will ruin your day faster than falling off your bike. Be it from being hit by a car, being knocked off by a pedestrian, or simply doing something silly and paying the price. As I painfully type this out with a sprained right wrist I can tell you that the silly mistakes hurt the most.

Pain is one thing, but pain you can blame on someone else seems to hurt a little less. Pain that is your own stupid fault…well lets say it hurts a little more. Rain + metal plates + turning too hard = sprained wrist (dumb). Guess that will teach me.

Now I get to practice the art of riding around real slow and cautious till my hand heals. The pain will eventually go away, but the sting of how stupid I was will last forever.

Live and learn people.

Ride Report12 Jul 2008 03:41 am

It was late, very late, and I was in a foul mood. It really isn’t important why, just that I wanted to reach out and tear at the night with my teeth. Downtown was a snarl of aggressive cabs, foolish peds, cops, cars, and a whole host of other obstacles. Fuck each and every one of them.

Dodge, swerve, weave.

I was in the far right lane of traffic until the gap started to close, boom, two lanes over in one fell swoop. I am now 4 lanes to the left, a line of cops and cones pushes the traffic to the right, I push through behind them doing at least 25 mph. “Slooooooow Doooooooown” is all the cops contribute to my night. Fuck them, fuck everyone.

Air, space, freedom.

At least for a hundred yards, it’s up hill here, I am a snarling frothy mess. This hill is the enemy, it hates me and I hate it.

Spitting, cussing, pumping.

I am up out of the saddle mashing for all I am worth, the cars start to blur. It might have been tears, or perhaps just something in my eye, the red brake lights start to leave glowing tales. Ghostly trails that show me where the danger is. Fuck all of them, I hate them, I hate myself.

Push, push push.

I am off like a shot, fuck red lights, fuck stop signs. Nothing is going to stop me tonight.

Look left, look right.

I judge just right and shoot through both lanes of cross traffic, no horns, nothing. They didn’t even know I was there till I was gone. I am an angry poltergeist, and I have no fear, and no desire for self preservation.

Squeeze, mash, pack.

The road is getting smaller, the car compressed into less and less space. FUCK, I hate the very air that I breath to keep going. I want to pedal myself into oblivion, nothing will stop me. I look to my right as I dodge yet another cab. To my left is a car full of young drunk men. They look to me, and begin the ritual. “You think you hard on that bike son?” I play my part “Fuck you bitches, you think you can keep up?”

Please catch me.

I find new reserves, these men, then boys, if they catch me, will hurt me. I am torn, catch me so I may get all this anger beaten out of me, or run to preserve my self. I reach deep inside and force my legs to go that…much…faster. I split lanes, the young men have begun to hollar and scream. They know how to play the game. I stand pumping more speed into my legs, these fuckers don’t own this road, I do.

Speed is life.

I am too fast, too fast to stop, too fast to die, to fast to be hassled by the mundane desires of violence. In a matter of moments I am 1, then 2 then 3 blocks away. The screams of my traffic entombed assailants die behind me. I cut a hard left in front of quickly approaching head lights. My back wheel misses by inches, I couldn’t give a shit. If I keep going, nothing can catch me, not cars, not angry youth, not death, not time, not fear, not even my own troubled heart.

All alone.

The road empties the further I get from downtown. It’s just me and my glowing anger. Can I out pace my own fury? I try. Faster, harder, push it for all it’s worth. I want to grind my knees off, want to break both legs, anything to make it all go away. Keep going forward, maybe then it will all stop.

This is the end.

I make it to the end, exhausted, furious, empty. A remnant husk of a man. None of this was worth it, none of it helped. The anger still made me want to gnash my teeth. The night didn’t care if I spilled my blood all over the street, the night was impervious to my minuscule desires. FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUUUUUUUCK!

You can’t outrun yourself.

Nothing works the way it should, sleep doesn’t fix your problems, and pushing yourself through a fun house of sharp cars will eventually get you killed. Only time, and hard work will fix this, but I can always count on my bicycle and the streets to give me a suitable challenge. A made to order meat grinder always waiting for me to throw myself into.

Ride Report01 Oct 2007 04:05 pm

It seems like the cars are restless lately. In the span of three day two of them try to run me over? The fist while I was safely ensconced in a bike lane, the second while in clear view. Dear cars, the best way to ruin my day is to suddenly pull over in front of me. This makes me sad. Mostly because this means I will either, A) fly off my bike and land on your trunk, or b) fly off my bike and land on the ground. Both suck.

What particularly steamed me was the fact that the car this morning had the audacity to inform me that “I would have heard you if I had hit you” and “If I hit you why didn’t you fall?” Well excuse me for not making a louder sound as I bounced off your back tail light, and I most certainly did fall when you hit me, jerk face. Perhaps next time I will throw myself under the front wheels so that I make more noise and am clearly visible when falling.

My only thought is that it must be mating season for the cars, or perhaps they shed and it is itchy this time of year, because I have not seen them this restless in a long time. I will be extra careful to avoid more inter-species conflicts, lets hope they do the same.

Ride Report25 Sep 2007 03:31 pm

I had a fantastic time this last Sunday at Hub On Wheels. They made all the cars go to other streets, and it was adventurers as far as the eye could see. I rode 45 miles with “fast” pack which was pretty fun. I had no idea Boston had so many hills. There were a couple of harry spots when I felt for sure I was going to eat some pavement.

Specifically when traveling down hill at a very high rate of speed and then being informed by a very helpful huuman with an orange flag that I need to make a 90 degree left hand turn RIGHT NOW! Luckily the other adventurers knew what they were doing and had called out instructions and I sort of knew what I was getting myself into.

Riding in large groups is always fun, especially when they know what they are doing. Getting into groups of people who are drafting you really get a feel for how fast you can go as a group. Riding alone you have to break your own hole in the air (which is fun don’t get me wrong) but as a group you move like an oiled cheetah. Since this was not a race we took turns in the front so no one had to get too tired.

It was great to see what the roads could look like if cars were regulated to the outskirts of the city. Some day, some day.

Ride Report21 Sep 2007 02:53 pm

Damn mini-vans, they are quickly replacing cabs as my least favorite car species. I was having my normal morning ride, when low and behold mini-van awakes from its slumber and decides it needs to be right in front of me. Thats cool, I slow down, it pulls into traffic, I speed up and start to pass on the right. Seems mini-van needed to get right back out of traffic for some reason about ten feet down the road. No signal, no indication at all that it was pulling some sort of strange two parking space shuffle. Nearly pushed me off my ride as I had to lean way over the right and swerve through an ever shrinking gap to avoid the pinch.

My legs were a little shaky after that. I hate almost getting squished.

Ride Report20 Sep 2007 10:01 am

No not the silly car show, me. I was at an event the other day that ended well into the evening (9:30pm) which meant that it was real dark out. This was my first time doing a night ride in Boston.

When I lived elsewhere I would often ride at night. I remember once I rode by a low wet area near some woods, and saw millions of fireflies. They sparkled with a brilliance unmatched by anything I have seen before or since. They were like an ocean of diamonds bobbing lazily in the air. It was one of the most awe inspiring and beautiful things I have ever witnessed.

Suffice to say night rides can be great. This one was no exception. Without the hustle and bustle of the city, the night feels almost bigger somehow. The tiny pools of light from each street lamp lure you in out of the dark, then abandon you into it. The lack of cars on the road means you are free to take the lane and ride as fast as you want.

In order to get home I have to ride through some not so good areas, but the night seemed to insulate me from all of that. I was just a swift and silent agent of speed. No one and nothing could catch me. I felt like a blur shifted out over a long distance.

The darkness feels different than the light. It was about the same temperature, about the same wind speed, but it was somehow, better. Like the mythical ether that is supposed to fill space, perhaps this dark matter, this dark energy, is what makes you feel so good when you push through it.

I encourage you all to ride your bike in the dark soon, be careful and watch for cars, most sleep at night, but some are still awake. Happy pedaling.

Ride Report14 Sep 2007 03:55 pm

There is a large hill near my home, as such I hit it every morning on the way to work, sometimes before my legs have had a chance to “get used to the day.” This especially happens when I have gone to bed really late and got up really early. Today I was feeling good, and it showed, I was cruising up that hill (rather steep mind you). A car passed as I was climbing smiling nicely out the passenger side as it went.

The car was just being nice, giving me a little smile as if to say, “hey look a guy riding up the hill, how nice.” I however took it as an invitation for flight lessons. When I got to the top of the hill, the car was at least a 2 blocks (Boston streets are in no way organized in any sort of grid so these measurements are estimates) down the street. I said to myself “can you catch that car?” then said back to myself “you bet your ass you can, go!”

I chunked it into high gear and stood up on it, sending a pleasant burning through my thighs and I was off like a shot. The air was sweet with speed as if flowed past my lips, I was gaining on the car, and I knew it. Looking up I saw that the chase was all but over as the car was slowing down for a red light. The fun was over…wait no it wasn’t I don’t have to stop for red lights, I am an adventurer.

I toasted that red (no one was coming from both ways I looked!), and pow! I was off. I love when I feel like this. Everything just sort of came together and I was flying like greased mercury. The entire 6 mile ride to work felt amazing. I was go go go the whole way.

Rides like this are why it is so great to ride a bike. The feeling of your legs moving, and the air over your face. The jumping excitement of the speed, the world rushing at you. All under your own power. Living to ride, might sound cliche, but it sure feels good to be alive while riding, you can at least take that to the bank.

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