Monday, May 24, 2010

First Ever Brommie Yummie Ride!

You may remember back in March when I (Tim) rode in the first Brompton US Championship, a wacky race in Philadelphia modeled on the Brompton World Championship, where folks in "business attire" (jacket and tie) race Brompton folding bikes. Well, at the BUSC, Steven Huang, graphic artist (he did the graphic for the 2009 BWC and 2010 BUSC shirts... that's him standing behind all our bikes before the ride) and employee of Bfold Bikes in NYC, was passing out fliers for a "Brommie Yummie Ride". What he had in mind was a ride around NY with a group of people on Bromptons, stopping and eating at a variety of dining establishments... a sort of "progressive meal by bike". I was intrigued, but not sure if I could make it.

Well, John was kind enough to give me the day off, so off I went on a bus to the Big Apple, with my trusty Brompton P6R safely (I hoped!) stowed in the cargo bay. Based on a suggestion from Steven, I covered the bike with the standard Brompton "slipcover", and then tucked that package inside a cheap tote bag, the Dimpa bag from Ikea. I would ordinarily have used the wonderful B Bag from Brompton, but it really is too bulky to carry around on the bike all day, so the cover and Dimpa seemed a good choice. All in all, it worked out just fine, but I was glad I could "supervise" the loading and unloading closely!

About eighteen riders (including four of us from the DC area, including Ollie Brock, bikes@vienna customer and top ten finisher at the BUSC) gathered near Penn Station at noon. After some getting acquainted and the obligatory taking of photos by everyone with a camera (myself included), we set off for our first destination... Babycakes, a vegan bakery which had some truly amazing treats for us. My choice was a cinnamon bun sweetened with agave... amazing! Here's a shot of riders and bikes outside, enjoying the treats.

Despite being issued cue sheets, I don't think any of us realized that our next stop was a matter of a few blocks away, at the Doughnut Plant. I never knew there was such a thing as "artisanal doughnuts, nor that there was a "trend" of such things, but apparently this place was/is at the forefront of that movement. And they did have some truly delicious offerings, although I preferred the cinnamon roll at Babycakes.

While feasting on doughnuts, we were joined by an "interloper" of sorts... a fellow on a Dahon who had dropped in at the start of the ride, and mysteriously appeared later along our route at Doughnut Plant. Coincidence? I don't know. But here's his bike peeking out behind the multicolored Brompton ridden by David Lam, owner of Bfold Bikes.

Lest you think this whole day was about nothing but eating, we actually did do a fair amount of riding, about 10 - 12 miles through parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. We had a fun ride across the Manhattan Bridge, stopping to admire the view, while I also took some time to look at the structure of the bridge. I've always been fascinated by bridges, and the design and engineering behind them, and New York has plenty to look at.

Once in Brooklyn, we stopped and picked up our lunches at The Chip Shop, which features food with a British theme. My lunch consisted of a delicious Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie, Mushy Peas (an odd British twist on peas), and of course, a heaping pile of chips, known to us Yanks as fries. The restaurant was small and crowded, so we remounted our bikes and headed to a park on the Brooklyn waterfront, adjacent to the Red Hook Ikea, located in what used to be the Todd Shipyard, apparently.

After that, it was a free water taxi ride back to Manhattan, with some great views of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. It was pretty funny seeing all of our bikes clustered on the foredeck of the boat. We drew a lot of attention everywhere we went, but I think the "show" of us all carrying our bikes off the boat and unfolding and riding off was the best.

All in all it was a great day. While the DC area got a pretty heavy downpour, we didn't feel a drop of rain all day, and enjoyed good food, fine company, and Steve's wonderful commentary as we rode along. He told us lots of fun information about the sights we saw, and really set a positive, fun tone for the day. It was a great way to explore a part of the city and meet new people with a common interest. More rides are planned later this year, and Steve even talked about working with the DC contingent to organize a similar event in the future. We'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, more of my photos can be seen here:

Brommie Yummie Ride, May 23, 2010

And Steve's site about the rides is here:
This final photo is Steve, doing the crane stance from "Karate Kid" surrounded by all of our bikes on a compass in the old shipyard. One of many delightful moments in a great day.

No comments: