I have 1.5 Boston winters under my commuting belt [I got my Bianchi in January 2008].
It doesn't make me any more hardcore, or special, than any other cyclist. But it's something I'm secretly proud of. It's also the reason I think Bicycle Commuter Appreciation Day should be in the middle of February, not in May. When your eyes and nose start to gush water as soon as you climb on a bike because of the cold, and the air's so dense you can't manage even a moderate pace without a struggle, well, that's when you should be appreciated.
But open houses, contests, and block parties are a different story. You need warm weather, good people, and a solid shop. And that's exactly what my other, other home - Cambridge Bikes - provided last night. Even food was involved.
Arriving a little late [as usual] and slightly completely confused, I stopped by a tent, bumped into RMM, and got suckered into entering my track baby into the Commuter Bicycle contest [believe it or not, I actually have commuted to school on my little pony]. There were a whole bunch of different categories, and tons and tons of bicycles. No way I was going to win anything, but hey, I got to park my bike next to a Vanilla, and that's a reward in itself.
Bouncing between the shop and the party outside, I spotted some distinctive white and black kits and shaven legs. And tricycles. I couldn't miss this.
The camera came out and I was laughing hysterically as some of CB's finest raced tricycles in kits and cleats. It seemed addictive, as more and more people signed up to spin around the makeshift course three times. I nearly got seated on one of those things, but used the excuse that I'll have an unfair advantage over everyone because those tricycles would probably fit me.
Slipping inside, "what's up"s and high fives were exchanged, despite the packed shop. Both familiar and unfamiliar faces filled the shop, and sort of in limbo, I ended up leaning against the end of the counter, in that happy medium between customer and employee. Between snapping more pictures, I caught up with Pete, Jason, and Zach while commuters as diverse as the bicycles outside milled about curiously.
It was dark before I knew it, which meant that I learned how to open the plastic packaging of a Knog light [throw it against the floor]. And just when I was about to head out, the call that awards would be announced was made. It was probably the new CB cycling cap [designed by Croth, and handed to me by Kip himself] that did it. Or maybe my luck's just turning. Because I did end up winning something:
Or, a few things. All things pointing to more bike rides. Matching green CB socks with Pete? Check. CB water bottle that I've been wanting for a while? Check. Massive bag that I could probably carry my sister in? Check, check, check!
Winning stuff also apparently meant pictures had to be taken. Natasha snapped away while Croth pulled a sneaky from-behind pic [justifying it by claiming that "that picture didn't include that much of your ass"]. All pictures which will undoubtedly eventually surface on the Internet. So, a disclaimer: I am constantly sweaty, disheveled, and un-photogenic. You've been warned.
[Big thanks to everyone at CB for putting this on - it was awesome! More pictures from the open house/block party here.]