"New York, New York, is everything they say
And no place that I'd rather be
Where else can you do a half a million things
All at a quarter to three " -Huey Lewis
Before I was about to take on the Big Apple with a giant RV, I decided to stop, come up with a game plan, and assemble the troupes. I was driving on back highways and there was a parking lot that I pulled off into so I could make some calls. It just so happened by chance that it was the parking lot to a park and trails out in the middle of nowhere. Lucky me. I called up Brianna, the new Vice Manager of our NYC hub because she said the magic words: "air conditioning" and "comfortable couch". You had me at hello, Bri. We, Palmer and me, rolled in to Brooklyn, swung by her house to pick up her boyfriend so he can be my eyes and help park this beast. It's a two person job at times. Believe it or not, we had no trouble parking and.... spoiler alert: I had easy parking the entire time I was there. Andy and I found a great spot, went back to his and Brianna's place where he promptly began to fall in love with Palmer. She has that way with guys. One look in to those droopy eyes and it's game over. You're hooked.
The next morning I rode into work with Brianna over the the Williamsburg Bridge to our NYC HUB on Mulberry St. where Kris, Mike, and Jason were waiting with their beautiful smiles and warm embraces. New York has a solid crew and I am always stoked when I get to see them. After a bit of catching up, handing out hi5s, and yelling into their phone and interrupting their calls, my friend from Portland,OG messenger Todd Danger, showed up at the shop. See, Toddy flew out to join me for a month of my tour. If anyone knows the dude, you know every summer he takes about a month off and then travels all over. He's got the right idea, that guy.
Todd and I went out to get some lunch and catch up.... his beard was longer and so was my hair. That was about it. We headed to Second Chance in Brooklyn to meet some familiar faces. Joe Partyman, from back home in Portland, was in NY too on his own summer long travel extravaganza. Also from the Portland roster we met up with Ryan Hinds, who had just moved from Portland to Brooklyn and he moved there for love. Way to follow your heart, bro. Yeah, that's Ryan up there who looks like he just pissed himself and is saying to us "not only is this ok, but I am showing it off as well". The adorable girl up in the right corner hugging Todd is Katie, the girl Ryan moved there for. Now look back at Ryan.... now at Katie. Count your blessings Ryan and hold onto that one because with those pissy pants I don't see babes lining up. We headed to the East River Bar where we met up with the boys from the Lock Foot Posi. Fun time ensued and everyone progressively got louder and louder as the evening marched into early morning. The bar started to close with their "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here" send off and Todd and I took to the streets on our bikes..... totally clueless of where the hell we were going, how to get there, and generally what we were doing, which eventually led us to Borough Park, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside of Israel. It was like I was magically transported into another country. Pretty awesome if you ask me. I like that about New York, different worlds are just blocks apart.
The next day we headed over to the Cycle Hawk/Zipments office to meet up with Squid, Chrome Familia member and legendary messenger extraordinaire. He and Todd Danger go back 20 years so it was good to see these old friends together again. Squid suggested a BBQ joint to hit up for lunch, not because of its amazing food, but because they have margaritas the size of your head. YOUR HEAD. After we got a couple of those mamma jammas in us, we went to The Basket to meet up with the rest of the mess crew. We hung out for awhile talking talks and BSing with the locals. Some I knew from previous visits and some I met for the first time, but one thing about the bike world is if you don't know them, you have a friend that does. It's not as big of a circle as one might think. After a bit I had to be making my way back to Palmer, because as independent as she is, she still hasn't figured out how to open doors and let herself outside. We're working on it. My pal Ryan said he'd ride with me back to where I was staying because I am directionally challenged.As you can see from the pictures above the ride didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped. While we crossing the Williamsburg bridge we came cooking around a slight curve. Ryan said "tighten it up" and then proceeded to crash into me. His chain popped off as we were turning and wrapped around his hub locking up his back wheel and sending him into me. I managed to keep my bike up, probably because of my super pro bike handling skills, but poor Ryan took a digger. He put the chain on and a little further down it popped off again. He kept saying "this is a Campy Record chainring, I don't get it". I used to be a bike mechanic for years so I took a look at it to see what the problem was. The second I laid eyes on it, it was clear what the problem was. "Is this a new chainring" I asked him. "Yes", he said. "And this is your old chain?" "Yes." Boom, there is the problem. This is one of the most common problems I would see at my old shop, 21st Ave Bicycles, a worn drive train. People don't understand that they wear together and after a certain wear point.... like if you just ride the shit out of it, you can't replace one part without replacing the other. Ryan's problem is he replaced his chainring, but was running his old worn chain and the two weren't interfacing properly causing it to pop off when he applied torque. Silly kid. He is a friend of mine and would hate to see him get hurt so I bought the dude a new chain to go with his new chainring and all was right in the world.
On Saturday we piled into Chrome One and headed to Rumble Through the Bronx 8. We went and posted up at the finish line where we met Ninja and his wife, who has been cooking a feast for all of the riders since Rumble 2. It was quite the spread. Like many alley cats, the race started late so we had plenty of time to get to know our new friends, eat some good food, and listen to some jams. One thing I have noticed about the East Coast is the cops don't like you to have fun. You want to drink a beer at the beach? Nope, denied. What's that? You aren't even at the beach, you are at the picnic area and are not causing a ruckus? Yeah....no. The cops not only patrol the area HEAVILY, they roll up in their SUVs right on the grass and up to your picnic. Every adult there was hiding their beer like they they were a teenager about to get busted by their parent. Bummer. We had a good time in spite of the fuzz and waited for the riders to cross the finish line. It took awhile, but the first place rider finally came flying in. I asked him his name and he said "Crihs" he then spelled it out for me. "it's spelled like how people misspell Chris. No last name, just Crihs" 1st place mens 2013 NACC winner, Lane, came in before everyone because he was just trying to hit up the money check points and ended up getting terribly lost. You'll get 'em next year, buddy. After the park closed we headed over to Kate's house. She is a messenger and lives out in the Bronx so it wasn't a long trip. Ryan and Katie were tired so they took a nap in Chrome One. Ryan made the mistake of falling asleep with his shoes on and was fair game to get a Sharpie to the face. Donovan marked him up a bit and then got Ryan to take a picture with him. Ryan then took pictures with everyone, not knowing he had marker all over him. Bless his little heart.
On Sunday we had a Collection Session at Red Lantern Bicycles for the Urban Cycling Hall of Fame. Red Lantern is part bike shop, part bar, and all heart. I set up in the corner and waited for people to bring in their submissions. In walked Corey the Courier, or Story Corey as he is also called, with a mountain of artifacts. Much like many other cyclists, he holds onto everything. I got comfortable and listened to him regale stories of the past. It was a good night with some solid people.
While we were in NYC there was an unbearable heat wave that was cooking us from the outside in. We decided to head out to a RV park in Long Island so we could plug in and use the AC. Also, the car in front of us was broken into while we were sleeping in Chrome One, so that was more motivation to get out of the city, but before we did we had to stop by Affinity Cycles and pick up a Puma team frame for the Hall of Fame. We met up with Victor, he gave us the frame, and let us hang out a bit so we could cool off. It was a scorcher and while I was trying to regain composure, Todd was getting rad on a BMX for kids. The bike was legit, gussets and all. We said farewell to Victor, the city, and Palmer, Todd, and I made our way to the promise of sleep with AC. It's a beautiful thing. I always have a great time in New York and this time was no different. I can't wait to go back.