the spring tweed ride of boston was happening today, starting at the christian a. herter park in brighton, wedged between the charles river and soldiers field road. people dressed in their finest old fashion tweed outfits would be riding through boston on their vintage bicycles (preferred). i'd already missed the boston zombie march on saturday, so didn't want to end the long weekend without something noteworthy to photograph.
i briefly thought about joining, but 1) i don't own a vintage bicycle, and more importantly 2) i don't own any tweed garments. as a matter of fact, i only have the vaguest idea of what tweed is supposed to look like and maybe i'll wikipedia some knowledge about it later. another thing: i'm probably spoiled by the cambridge ride i had last weekend, but without a police escort, riders will have to fend for themselves as they traverse the mean streets of greater boston.
the 10+ mile route was posted on the group's facebook page. i studied it and decided that the best vantage point would be at the northeastern point of harvard street (next to the harvard business school, across from the stadium), down a long stretch of road that i could work my telephoto magic on as the riders stream by. i waited there for almost 40 minutes, standing underneath the shade of nearby trees, with no tweed riders in sight other than a few i saw heading in the direction of the park.
running out of patience, i got back on my motorcycle and went down to the park to see what was going on. on a hot memorial day, the park was packed with people, and the parking lots were full. it took me several tries before i actually got there, looping around solders field road and onto western avenue. i stashed the bike in the supermarket parking lot on western avenue and walked to the park.
it wasn't hard to find the group, a mass of bicycles and their costumed riders. they were just about to head out and were assembling for a group photo. riders were handing out digital cameras and asking civilians to help take their photos. the ride was moments away from starting as i booked out of the park and ran to my motorcycle. i returned to the spot on harvard street where i'd been previously loitering and waited for the procession of riders to come down the road.
i didn't wait long before i spotted the mob of bicycles off in the distance. it was a hot day and the air was particularly hazy. only later would i find out that the haze wasn't due to the humidity but rather the residual smoke from large forest fires up in canada. i think some of the riders who saw me at the park minutes ago were surprised to find me waiting for them now on the side of the road pointing at them with my telephoto lens.
after the procession passed by, i hopped back onto my motorcycle and chased after them. i caught up with the group at the intersection of mt.auburn street and mass ave, as they were making their way across cambridge (eventually crossing the longfellow bridge into beacon hill boston). it was a weird feeling, me on a motorcycle, next to a bunch of bicyclists wearing period outfits. i wonder if anyone of them recognized me and were surprised that i'd be following them on a motorcycle. as i raced ahead, i felt like i was their police escort.
i stopped once more at the intersection of mass ave and main street, waiting for the procession that was minutes away behind me. there were more spectators in central square, and i could overhear people asking one another what was going on as they watched the anachronistic convoy making its way through the commercial district. i got a few more shots before the riders turned up main street on their way to kendall/MIT.
with that, my day of adventuring was over. i returned home and drove bruce's car to my parents' place. i was picking him up from the airport later tonight and figured i might be able to go directly from belmont. also i had too many things to carry: a dozen flower seedlings (nasturtiums, cosmos, zinnias) and a coleman roadtrip grill that i had in my basement but never once used. moving the flowers meant the end of my grow house and i can finally reclaim my lost closet space.
in the garden i watered the plants, even though my father already did it this morning. i helped him move the wooden swing chair to the other side of the yard (beneath the maple tree) and then later he mowed the lawn. we set up the roadtrip grill and ordered a tank hose off of ebay so he can use it with a large 20 gallon propane tank. earlier he helped a neighbor fix his lawnmower (the problem: engine completely flooded with motor oil).
my sister finally came home from her long weekend indian wedding. i was just starting to get used to life without her (the tranquility); as soon as she got back, tension started building up again. she accused us of not taking good care of her dog while she was gone, then left for a friend's house, leaving my mother to feed hailey. when my mother asked about the shawl she spent all last week knitting for her (after my sister begged her to make it), my sister said she never wore it before it was too hot. when she was at home, all her attention was focused on her blackberry, a service she doesn't even pay for herself (my parents pay the $40 monthly fee on top of her phone bill) and has been known to text during family dinner, much to my annoyance.
a check online revealed bruce's arrival time would be delayed by 20 minutes. i decided to head back to cambridge first, being closer to boston and would make for a quicker trip to the airport. fearing possible rain showers later in the evening, i covered up the motorcycle. i left about 10 minutes before the updated arrival time, wanting to get a headstart.
i parked by the end of terminal C, near the MBTA silver line stop, right behind a honda element also here for a pickup. i called bruce but nobody answered. i was worried about where i parked because it seemed to be in a bus lane. normally i'd have the car on idle (to make a speedy exit) but i noticed the fuel gauge was already on empty so i turned off the engine in order to conserve what little gas i had left. i had good reason to be concerned because suddenly a bus pulled up behind me in the rear-view mirror and started honking.
i was wedged in pretty tight, with the car ahead of me and the bus behind me. i was just about to pull out when i heard, "YOU STAY RIGHT THERE! I'M WRITING YOU A TICKET!" from a traffic police. i feigned ignorance and asked him what i did wrong. "YOU'RE PARKED IN A BUS LANE! STAY THERE!" i told him i couldn't see the sign with the car ahead of me blocking it. "TELL IT TO THE JUDGE!" he told me while scribbling in his pad. not sure why he was so angry, and not sure why he could only talk in a shout. in my mind i was already doing the math: how much will this ticket cost me? will i have time to contest it?
right when all this drama was happening, i saw bruce coming out of the exit. while directing bruce to quickly get into the car, i was also reasoning with the cop, as he appeared to be writing a ticket for the car ahead of me. i tried pulling out the car, but the cop stop me, "YOU STAY RIGHT THERE!" i told him i'd only been here for a few minutes and my friend had already arrived. when the car ahead of us finally left, the cop turned his attention to me. for whatever reason though, he decided not to give me a ticket (maybe it was easier to clear out the bus lane than take anymore time doing the paper work for another ticket) and told us to "GET OUT OF HERE!" the car stalled momentarily, and i was afraid it was because we ran out of gas. "HURRY UP! GO!" the cop shouted. the car started and we sped out of the airport.
i ended up driving bruce back home, even though i originally planned for him to drive. he was too tired anyway, and was relieved to not have to take the helm. when we finally got back, that's when he realized he left a bag at the airport. it wasn't anything too important, just some gifts he brought back from florida, including a lollipop for me shaped like an alligator.
finally, i checked my bank account tonight (just to see how much debt i'll be carrying over into june), and for some reason i got a $25 bank credit filed under BALBLDR BONUS. i looked it up online and found nothing. sometimes i think my bank is managed by elves who tinker with my money when i'm not looking.