Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exit Music (For A Bike)

My trip to the Radiohead concert was a smashing success. The music was great, the light show dazzling, and my seat was ridiculous. There are plenty of reviews, photos, and videos about the show itself that would put my efforts to shame, but I'm here to talk about the transportation.

As I wrote earlier, I was trying to find the easiest, least gas-guzzly and trafficy way to get to and fro' the show. Originally, I was planning on driving my bike to Providence and catching the Boston commuter train north to Mansfield, which would put me about 4-5 miles from the venue. I changed up a bit when I realized that I would have to be in Providence around rush hour and the last trains out of Mansfield are at 11:07 and 12:39. One too early, and risking missing the last one. (The last train north to Boston leaves at 10:17...a horrible time for concert-goers.) Finally, Mansfield is right near the intersection of I-95 and I-495, the drive time direct to Mansfield is about the same as it is to Providence. Plus the train station parking lot is 2 exits away from the mess that was to be the exit to the concert venue. I parked in the train lot, asked where the nearest food place was and grabbed a bite before biking in.

The ride was really easy. After getting out of the little town of Mansfield, I did notice a fair number of people obviously walking to the concert. Good for them. The only tight spot was the bridge over the interstate which was under construction. They squeezed 2 lanes into one, so I lost my shoulder there. Luckily, the car behind me that just got off the highway didn't mind rolling back and let me get ahead. So I breezed past the line of cars that was jammed not only at the main parking entrance, but also for the $40 private lots that were open right next to the on-ramps. I was looking for a pedestrian way in, when I noticed the flag-waivers were directing me to follow the auto traffic...I wasn't expecting that. Got to the front of the huge lot to find no bike racks (no surprise), but about 10-12 other bikes were already cable-locked to a cluster of trees right near the ticket windows. Nice to know there are a few others out of 20,000 people.

I was really hoping that the security wouldn't put up a stink if they found my blinkies on me during the usual entrance-frisk. Knowing my luck, they wouldn't know what they were. No problems, however.

Post-concert was a snap. I was out of the venue at about 10:55, and just had to walk my ride through one big crowd of people before finding a nice lane out to the road. I was at my car by 11:10. And it's such a peaceful ride after the highway onramps. A perfect silent breeze to reflect on the awesome music I heard the previous 2 hours. Here's the mind blowing thing: I read blogs that said that it took them until 1:15 before their car even moved while still in the lot. I was nearly back in Hartford by then with a stop for food. And I haven't mentioned that some reports were that I-495 turned into a parking lot going *in* to the venue as well.

And that's the moral. Biking to concerts totally rules. I did it once this summer to Dodge/Meadows, and my trip to Great Woods/Comcast cemented it. The in/out traffic designs of these parking facilities at music venues are simply horrible. Past trips to Oakdale/Chevrolet taught me to either run to the car or take a nap in the car...now I'm thinking of looking at bike routes to Wallingford. While it'd be nice if these venues provided adequate bike parking facilities, you can always make do.

Rock and Ride!


Karma said...

We drove to Tanglewood this summer and it was an unbelievable nightmare! The type of situation where if you weren't prepared for a full bike tour, 30 mile ride you'd be totally screwed. These venues are seemingly designed with no transportation issues in mind which is entirely unacceptable! Glad to hear your biking somewhat overcame what was otherwise a total transportation disaster.

chillwill said...


its true, yer a blogger! and a well one!

Rich said...

Aw, shucks. Thanks for the opportunity, peoples!

As a footnote to my own post, I found this post that shames the band for picking such a shitty venue for their alleged green tour.