Turnout for the October Critical Mass ride was light compared to last year, but we still had a decent-sized group ready to go at Bushnell Park this past Friday night. We headed south through Frog Hollow, down Affleck Street and past the Zion Hill Cemetery, then cut through the Trinity College campus and further south to Cedar Hill Cemetery. Cedar Hill is a beautiful place to walk or ride during the daylight, but it was pitch black at this hour. The only sources of light beyond the stone and iron entry gate were the dim glow of the mausoleum building and a few recently placed votive candles burning at one of the headstones. It was surreal and fun to ride guided by nothing more than the few feet of pavement illuminated by my headlight and the blinking red LEDs on the bikes up ahead a ways. I was also riding without my glasses, so it bordered on sensory deprivation-- disorienting as hell, but kinda cool.
We stopped for a quick break and bike adjustment by the mausoleum and then just outside the gate when Nick had the first and second of three fantastically loud catastrophic tire blowouts (that's the first flat tire hat-trick I can recall on a CM ride). The good-natured collective pit crew came to the rescue with tube repairs and a duct tape wrap for a front tire that had its sidewall ripped free from the wire bead. Dayum! The duct tape patch held for the remainder of the ride, so kudos to the master tapesmiths in our midst.
From there it was a straight shot up Maple to Main Street and downtown, stopping by City Hall to fix one more exploded tire (this time the rear). When we approached the Ancient Cemetery, our final graveyard of the evening, a Connecticut State Capitol Cop told us that there was a paid tour in the Cemetery, and that we weren't allowed in. This was kind of lame. This seemed well outside the normal jurisdiction for the State Capitol Police, whom I've hitherto only seen at the Capitol building, the Legislative Office Building, and the Dunkin Donuts at Capitol and Broad Street. Maybe it was a posse of Legislators slumming amongst the common ruck. At any rate, we shrugged and pedaled off and over the Founders Bridge to East Hartford instead, winding the evening down with a downtown loop back to Bushnell Park, where we happened upon one of the checkpoints for that evening's Alleycat race. which was going on at the same time. Does anyone have any pics or results from that, by the way?
A few people rocked costumes or face paint for the ride, including this bike-and-rider combo, which looked like a one-man Vegas Strip in the dark at Cedar Hill, plus Clark Kent and some weird Blue Man on a cargo bike.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Posted by Interstatement at 6:41 AM