Boston->New York AIDS Ride

Thursday, September 14, 1995
Day 0

Red Wrist Band

Check in, tags, wrist bands ... and lines

I wanted to get to the check in site at the World Trade Center as early as possible, because I knew the lines were going to be bad. There were up to 4400 people registered to ride and they all needed to check in between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the New Yorkers would probably start arriving in huge numbers right after noon. Because of a couple of things, not the least of which was no sleep the night before (thank you, Baja) I didn't make it out the WTC until 10:30. The same time everyone else made it. Lines like you've never seen. The longest of which was the temporary bike check in. This was the place you put your bike until you could get a place you could check your bike in to. The line was almost surreal. I felt like I was in that M.C. Escher drawing where you can never get to the top (or bottom) of the staircase. Every winding turn led to the horizon. There were more lines to come.

After the temporary check in was the real check in. It was well organized, but I was grumpy due mostly to a lack of sleep (thank you, Baja), so the check in wasn't a lot of fun. I was rider number 30B. 'B' means Boston. So into the Boston line. Oops, wrong Boston line, that Boston line over there. Ok, I'm here, now take the green paper and go back to that other Boston line. Give the volunteer the green paper, sign a white paper;, get a red card, a blue card, two red bands and a map. It was a three color map. The wrist bands have your rider number stamped on them and are red for Boston or blue for New York. This was clever. They are like hospital bands and can't be removed unless you cut them off. One goes around your wrist and must be worn all weekend. The red number allows them to find your emergency information quickly. The other red band (with your rider number) goes around the headset of your bicycle. Once a bike is checked into security, no one can remove it without a matching wrist band. Vegetarians got an additional yellow band. I guess if you lost consciousness on the highway, they wouldn't try to wake you by stuffing a steak down your throat.

On to the tent assignment line. It was long, but moved quickly. There are seven colors for seven sections and 300 tents per section. The colors are the colors of the Pride flag plus white. I ended up as Red 107.Dog Tags

This number gets fastened to your dog tags. Time for the last line. Last two lines, actually. The line to get your bike out temporary check in then check in to permanent check in.

Done! Off to meet Eric for Dim Sum in Chinatown. On the shuttle to South Station to meet Eric, I found out that my luck had already started. I got there at 10:30 and got out of there shortly after 12 noon. (Somehow it seemed longer, probably the lack of sleep -- thank you, Baja). There were others on the shuttle who had been there since 8:00 am. If you didn't have your medical forms or all of your money turned in, you had even more and longer lines to wait in.

Carbo Loading

Starting at around 4 p.m., there was a carbo loading dinner at the Trade Center. This was an optional dinner before the mandatory safety speech. Lots of over cooked pasta, veggies, bread and cookies. Luckily, the food would be much better for the rest of the trip. You'd think the WTC would know how to cook for crowds by now.

Kate Clinton & Betty

Kate Clinton and Betty were two of the acts entertaining during dinner. If you don't know her, Kate Clinton is a comedian who plays a lot in P-town. She's great. She gave a long list of do's and don'ts for the ride. It's NOT OK to put baseball cards in your spokes. It IS OK to shout NICE ASS at the rider ahead of you. Betty is one of my favorite bands. I first heard them three or four years ago. They're from *sniff* *sniff* Manhattan *flip* *flip*. They bill themselves as (big breath here)

"The world's foremost all-girl bi-racial rock and roll cabaret trio of our time."

They just released a new CD, get it, it's good.

The Safety Speech

The Safety Speech was the required event for the evening. To ride, you had to have another "green to ride" bracelet you could only get by going to the speech. I suppose it releases the organizers from a certain amount of liability, but it does make sense to do it anyway. At least I thought so in the beginning. These rides were started and are organized by a guy named Dan Palotta. Dan runs an outfit called Palotta and Associates, Inc., a fund raising consulting company from Los Angeles. Now, I'm sure Dan is a great guy and a terrific motivational speaker, but a lecturer he's not. Rumor has it that whoever was supposed to do the safely speech didn't show up, so Dan did it. It was, in a word, awful.

"Never, never, never pass on the right. Always, always, always wear your helmet. Always, always, always signal your intentions. Always, always, always ride single file."

It was like this for an hour. I can't remember much of it. I fell asleep (thank you, Baja). I was sitting next to my friend Adonica who also fell asleep. We nearly cracked heads falling asleep on each other. We should have been wearing our helmets.

There were three more events planned for after the safety speech. One was a singing group, then Greg was to tell everyone about the route the next day then sort of a touchy-feely sing along-y thing. The safety speech was required. The rest of it wasn't. Everybody blew out of the place after the speech. Sorry, Greg. But the speech went on for so long, to get 8 hours sleep, you would have to have been at home, in bed, asleep 15 minutes before Dan shut up. We had to go.

Green Wrist Band

[Home] [Contents] [Previous] [Next]

Copyright ©, Todd Davis
Comments to
Last Update