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On Biking: He likes Let's Talk about Bikes

Posted by Maureen Quinlan  June 13, 2012 12:18 PM

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Let’s talk about bikes.

But first, let’s talk about how you get to Let’s Talk About Bikes, the bicycle show that opened Tuesday night. Point No. 1 is that the BSA (Boston Society of Architects) is not the BAC (Boston Architectural College).

I learned this the hard way. When I rolled into the BAC and asked the guard where the bike show was, he looked at me kind of funny. “This is an architecture school,” he said. “No bike show?” I asked. “No bike show,” he said. “Maybe try the Hynes Convention Center,” he added.

Fortunately a friendly and helpful gentleman who looked like he might teach architecture at the BAC said, “Perhaps it’s the society that you want.” Yes, I thought, society sounded right.

“That,” he added, “is in the financial district.” Which happens to be about five blocks from where I work, and where I had been an hour earlier.

I had taken Hubway to work that morning, figuring I could walk to the show and then take Hubway home. Got to love Hubway: it sure lets you be flexible.

Hubway also happens to have a stand about two blocks from the BSA. But did I happen to mention I was hungry? And tired? And that I’d already ridden 40 miles before work? And then I remembered: the BSA is near my favorite burrito place. And a Hubway stop.

Twenty minutes later I was the proud owner of a very large veggie burrito. Five minutes after that I ambled through the financial district, heading toward the BSA. Along the way I saw the vehicles of choice for those who worked in the financial sector: two Bentleys, a couple of Porsches, and too many Mercedes to keep track of.

And then I saw the vehicle of choice for my people: a mad tangle of bikes, too many to count, all locked up outside the BSA.

So how was the show? If you like bikes, if you even think you might like bikes, then you will go head over wheels for Let’s Talk About Bikes. Chris Grimley, Michael Kubo, and Mark Pasnik of over,under have done a spectacular curating this show. Let’s Talk About Bikes explores the big questions, like: What role do bicycles have in the urban mix? How are they changing our culture and our lives? And what can we do to get more people riding?

There are also a number of bikes on display that were built by Boston area frame makers. Boston used to be the epicenter of American bicycling about 100 years ago. According to Outing magazine, Boston was “the bicycling paradise of America,” and Albert Pope’s bicycle showroom on Columbus Avenue was the largest seller of bicycles in the country.

What goes around comes around: Boston is rapidly becoming a top American city for all things two wheeled. Some of the best frame builders in the country call Boston their home. Many of their bikes are showcased in Let’s Talk About Bikes. Meaning, if you like to gaze at handcrafted bicycles, there’s a lot of eye candy to look at.

My favorite bike wasn’t hanging on the walls inside the show, it was outside: a beautiful Seven commuting bike with a wire mesh basket in front big enough to hold one large pizza or a dozen burritos and chips.

My favorite shirt? What looked to be a hand-made one that read, “Don’t Steal Bikes, Bro.”

After a while I decided to all it a night. The show was packed, and the people I had hoped to chat with were nowhere to be seen. I didn’t care: I had seen the future, and it was powered by two wheels.

By now I was tired and my feet were sore. I admit that for a moment I thought about calling my son and having him drive downtown and pick me up. And then I considered taking the T, but I didn’t want to end a beautiful evening by traveling underground.

I decided to walk a few blocks back to the Hubway stand near the Aquarium. Where I found a bicycle waiting just for me.

As the sun began to set I headed home. I made decent time down Beacon Street, but honestly, I didn’t care how fast I rode. Because if we’re really going to talk about bikes, if the truth is to be told, I was just happy to be out for a ride around town.

Jonathan Simmons is a psychologist and an avid cyclist. His book, “Here For the Ride” will be published later this year.

Looking to ride to work on Friday? Why not try Bike Friday, a convoy ride from the communities outside of Boston that funnels into City Hall?

It’s not too soon to register for MassBike’s summer century and fun ride, with rides for all ages and abilities.

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