August 11, 2009
NACCC Boston: 2009, in 3 parts
By: Ben Morrow
Part I: The Arrival
Visiting a new city is one thing, but riding in a strange, confusing, crowded spaghetti bowl metropolis is a different experience altogether. We left on July 29th around 10:00 p.m.—seven cyclists friends and myself set out from Indianapolis for a trip that none of us will likely forget—the North American Cycling Courier Championships in Boston, Massachusetts. As we crammed frames, wheels, bags, and luggage into the fifteen-passenger van, we all felt a sense of just how amazing this trip would be.
Each traveler took his place in a seat, ready for the sixteen-hour journey ahead. Hardly anyone could find sleep. The drive was littered with jokes, laughter, loud music, and Chris “Sox” Kellar’s under-the-radar sarcasm. Traveling through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York along the way offered some of the most beautiful countryside the nation has to offer. ‘Merica.
We arrived in Beantown around 2 PM the next day in a sweltering heat. However, we were far too excited to complain about the weather conditions. We unloaded our gear and checked into our hotel room. The desk workers in the hotel initially gave us curious looks as to how we would all fit in such a space, but over the course of the next few days, they warmed up to our rag-tag cycling group.
Thursday. We took the first day was simply to familiarize ourselves with the city – not an easy task. One turn, and we were already lost; Boston was no flat, grid-system city like Indianapolis. Apparently, Boston’s city streets were developed over old colonial cattle paths. We definitely could have traded in an iPhone for a cattle wrangler. We rode around, iPhone and maps in hand, looking for local bike shops and interesting places to eat and see. We found one shop called Superb Bikes, still under construction. Our mohawked friend Tom, a local Superb employee, told us about their parent shop Cambridge Bicycles, how to get to it, and also about a party later that night.
We met a few more people at Cambridge Bicycles, and talked to them about the weekend’s events. The shop bristled with candy bike parts that had us all drooling uncontrollably. The employees were very helpful and told us about more things to do in the city. Hospitality of that sort had a way of settling our new-city nerves.
After a few hours of riding we rode back to the hotel to get cleaned up and meet in Harvard Square with our new friend Tom. After picking up some adult beverages, we rode down to one of the most scenic, tucked away spots we would visit in Boston. Four tiny square docks tied along the bay would be the setting for our welcoming party. We met a number of new people, although it was dark and one could barely make out a face. A few beers later, everyone was tired and hungry, so we all headed back to the room to get some sleep. A long weekend crouched, waiting with the morning.