Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Full Moon Fiasco V true-up

Our safety record stays clean (barely), there were tons of new faces, a committee is formed and as a result the FBC gets some ass (again).

Seconds after hanging up my phone, hearing that he was only a few blocks away and about to join up with us, The Hazard called back to let me know he’d just been hit by a car. The look on the driver’s face was one of shock when 20 bicyclists flew into the parking lot two minutes later to check on him. Thankfully Martin escaped the event with some soreness and a wobbly front wheel and the Fiasco was on.

There were too many new faces Saturday for me to name check them all but I do want to shout a big WELCOME TO CHICAGO and slap on the back to Andrew and his fancy black track rig. Good to see so many people Saturday.

The plan for this Fiasco was to celebrate spring under the full moon by hitting one of the best beer gardens in town at Moody’s Pub. A Springtime Arctic Blast common in Chicago thwarted this and kept us on the medieval interior of the joint. The factor I did not foresee was the restraint-setup of the place which lamely kept us all sitting at one long table—making it hard to drift about.

Last, certainly not least, the Ass Committee was formed Saturday night to organize the ever-elusive ass photo. The Ass Committee is really comprised of one person, so Ammo is more along the lines of our very first Ass Captain. An honor for sure. After a couple of assless months, a number of brave and prideless FBCers lined up at about midnight to moon the moon. A glorious thing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Biking in Amsterdam

When people asked me what my plans were for Amsterdam, I replied, not entirely joking that I was going to:
A.) Rent a bike
B.) Get higher than Jesus
C.) Cruise around town on said bike sipping some local beer and enjoy the sights.
Knowing that Amsterdam is a bike-oriented city, this seemed the perfect plan. What could be wrong with it? Seems to be a pretty laid-back relaxed place right?
Wrong. Upon leaving the train station with a slightly off-kilter, hungover gait, Darin and I were nearly dismembered maimed or nearly separated from life by: three trams, one bus, four cars and about 37 bicycles. This was in a span of 45 seconds. Safe at last in the hotel room, I collapsed.
Despite the deadly madness of Amsterdam streets, we did end up renting bikes. Imagine a ginormous sharp-angled cruiser geared like a track bike and thrown off a cliff. That's what we were issued. The Amsterdam standard.
At this point stoned-riding was out of the question and Darin and I learned the hard way the previous day that drinking on the streets of Amsterdam does not have the same legal protection as say, Germany, Italy, New Orleans. (Ironically enough, we were taught this lesson by cops on bikes.) Sober was the only way to navigate. Well, mostly sober.
The fast and light riding most of us are accustomed to in Chicago is certainly a product of our environment. A lack of, or ignored bike lanes with drivers hurtling their cars heedlessly down pot-holed streets makes us essentially fighter-pilots on the streets. Amsterdam bikers are more like...critical mass every day. But, imagine a critical mass in which if you stop paying attention for a split second, a Fiat and tram car will slice you in half.