i got back home around 3:00. going to bed, will write more with a few photos tomorrow!
i went to the local bike store to buy a spare inner tube for my trek 800, size 26"-2.0" ($5.20). it was for the boston by bike at night tour i was going later tonight, one of the requisite was to bring a spare tube in case one got a flat tire.
i wanted to ride my road bike to belmont but carrying my bags across my shoulders meant they'd droop uncomfortably when i leaned forward. the only solution would be a backpack; i had it so stuffed that i looked like a turtle. i stopped by the cafe first, where i helped my 2nd aunt buy a pair of sandals online and tried to fix a weird chinese text printing bug for my father. somehow i managed to get a paper cut on my fingertip. i knew if i didn't take care of it it'd hurt all day. so i rode the bike back to my place, stopping briefly at rite aid, but decided i'd go home instead. the remedy was superglue, which i used to seal the wound. i returned to the cafe to grab my bag then went to belmont.
for the first time there are a few sunflowers that actually have a bit of orange on the petals. the first zucchini plant is completely dead now. whether it succumbed to disease, to root rot, or squash vine borers, i won't know until i do an autopsy on the dead plant. the 2nd zucchini is still alive but has been very productive. there are also some powdery mildew on the leaves and it'll probably be dead before the end of the summer.
my mother came home in the late afternoon (my father was working today). after dinner i went back to cambridge around 7:00.
i wanted to replace the mountain bike tire on the front wheel of my trek 800 with the new one i got yesterday. i wheeled the bicycle to the back of the house so i could work on it. i was surprised when the motion-sensor lights turned on. i thought they were broken, i must've fixed it when i jiggled around the settings. parked upside down on my backyard porch, i removed in the front wheel and decided to work on it indoors.
replacing the tire on a bicycle wheel can either be very easy or very hard. this was my 4th time. all the other times, once was extremely difficult (my 24" bianchi wheel), once was super easy (the 26" wheel on my mother's ross 10-speed), and once was so-so (i put it on the wrong direction and had to take it off and do it over again). i also had the bianchi tire replaced one other time, but it was done at the bike shop and i had no hand in it (i did remember it was a tough job for the bike mechanic). since i've done it a few times, i figured it'd be pretty simple. what ended happening was it took over 2 hours to install, left me covered in sweat, and i almost cried.
taking off the old tire was a challenge. that should've clued me in that putting on the new tire would be just as difficult. i pried so hard with the plastic tire levers that i actually bent them. when that was done, i saw that the inner tube had been patched before, twice actually, by the previous owner. that was a surprise, because i never once had a problem with the tire going flat, and always thought it was a brand new pristine tube. when the new tire went on the tire, there was an 8" circumference that i could not pop into the rim. i worked on it so hard my hands were raw. there was no point going back to the old tire, which would be just as hard to get on. finally i ended up using the tire lever to push the last bits in.
the boston by bike at night tour group would be meeting at copley square at 11:15. i left my place around 10:30. it was a balmy night so i just had on shorts and a t-shirt, but in hindsight i should've brought a jacket because it was pretty windy. i took my trek 800 because it was more maneuverable, and i figured we'd be doing a lot of stopping and going. more than 200 bikers showed up in copley. everyone had to sign a waiver absolving the tour guides of liability should anyone get hurt. i felt a little out-classed with my ugly beater of a bike, with big metal baskets in the back. i think i saw a few single-speed hipsters snickering but i ignored them. if we chance up any curbage in our nightly sojourn, i'm ready to haul them back.
this was 23rd annual night ride, so this was an event with some history. there were several tour guides, and i read/overheard that one of them was an architect, another person a city planner, and a few more. they had a route planned but other than the organizers, few knew exactly where we'd be going except it'd be around boston.
the tour kicked off a little bit after midnight, with 200+ riders descending onto the streets of boston, with blickers and reflectors and headlights. it felt like being in a parade. the convoy was so long that it took a few minutes for everyone to congregate at our first destination, the christian scientist reflecting pool. the guides gave some short talks, but i wasn't listening, too busy marveling at the spectacle.
a few people were riding hubway bikes. the organizers let them know whenever we were close to a hubway station so they could recharge their bikes and not have to pay the additional fee for any rides longer than 30 minutes.
i didn't know anyone until i saw joel, renee's friend and fellow community garden gardener. the look on his face said he recognized me but forgot my name, so i helped him out by re-introducing myself. joel actually told me about this ride a last year, when i bumped into him for a cambridge city ride. i had a feeling i might see him here tonight. talking with him, i was surprised to find out he's a doctor, because he seems kind of dimwitted.
i brought along my mother's compact canon because i didn't want to carry my big SLR. earlier i tried looking for photos from previous outings but only found a few; i think the reason is because it's hard to take good photos at nights, especially if you're riding a bike.
next we went to the MFA, then franklin square in the south end, followed by downtown crossing, then boston common, down commonwealth to kenmore square to the marsh plaza, then cutting through brookline to see the dutch house (one of the only surviving buildings from the 1893 world's fair in chicago), coolidge corner, allston center, and finally to harvard square. as the night wore on, people were cheering us on from the streets (some of them drunk no less). some places we went were dark, but was surprised to still people around. one person said to me that they were getting a contact high from all the pot smoke. by the time we got to harvard square around 3:00 the group had dwindled down to 100. the tour would continue until sunrise, where they'd go somewhere to watch the sun come up. next stop was to see the historical houses on brattle street, but i'd had enough by that point, and split off from the group to go home. definitely a cool thing to do. the architectural talks don't interest me as much as just riding bikes in such a large group.