Saturday, July 28, 2007


Before I started my current project I have only had two trips to the Boston Area. In September of 1988 I went to Lexington, MA for Sun Microsystems SunOS 3.X System Administration training. I had moved from Syracuse, NY to Atlantic Highlands, NJ in June of 1988. At the time of the training class I had yet to take the train into New York so spending a week in the Boston area was a big deal for me. It was during this week that I attended my first Major League Baseball game at Fenway (Boston Red Sox vs. the Baltimore Orioles).

As far as I can tell Fenway is a great place to see your first game. At the time I was big NY Mets fan so I did not have to deal with Yankee guilt. The Yankees were going to be in town over the weekend and it was a big series between the two division rivals.

The week I spent in training was a great week. I had a car so I drove into Boston every night to eat dinner. The weather was just starting to move from Summer to early fall so it really showed off the Boston area in a positive light.

I thought I would have had more opportunities to return to Boston but all of my training classes were in other cities either in Baltimore or California. However, at the end of 1999 I joined Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP) and I attended a two week New Employee Orientation (NEO) located in 8 Cambridge Center (pictured above). However, this trip was not nearly as much fun. I had some reservations about working for CTP and I was planning on relocating back to the NY/NJ area from Charlotte, NC.

This will be the first project I have ever worked in Boston. I have worked on projects all over the US and I even managed one project that had resources in London, Tokyo, Sydney and Stamford, CT but I only traveled to London. This is also my first trip to Boston since the Big Dig was completed.
I forgot how much I liked Boston on my first trip there. For the most part it is a big college town with a large list of Universities and Colleges that are close to each other. Also, Boston appears to have been able to retain its older buildings while at the same time building the new buildings that are required to support a modern work force.

I have yet to go over the the Harvard side of Cambridge but I have walked around the MIT campus and I have explored the Back Bay neighborhoods. MIT is located in the more industrial side of Cambridge. In fact the last time I was in Cambridge the NECCO factory was almost on the MIT campus. On my first trip through the MIT campus this week I was looking for the new Frank Gehry designed building and I also wanted to get a picture of the NECCO factory. While I found the Gehry building I was disappointed to find the the NECCO had been relocated that old factory had been converted into a Big Pharma Research center.
I am staying in Cambridge again this week so I am going to make the walk over to the Harvard side.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bike Pictures from Boston (With Updated Pictures)

I am working in Boston now for the next couple of months. Boston is definitely FIXIE Town. It seems like everyone rides fixie and single speeders in this town. I found a Specialized Dealer (Back Bay Bicycles)close to the hotel that I have been staying at and they have one of the new 2008 Langster Boston bikes in stock. Very sharp bike but I have seen several that look just like it on the streets of Boston.

I made sure to bring my camera and I have been taking pictures. The picture above is of the Citgo Sign that is right outside Fenway. The Police are playing here this weekend. I have been hangout after work in the Back Bay neighborhood that is across the Charles River from my hotel in Cambridge. This looks like a fun place to live. Since I grew up in Syracuse, NY I am sure I can handle Boston winters.

The picture above is the first bike I saw. I had only been in town about 20 minutes when I saw this gold beauty in front of the building where my new project is located. Notice the brake levers but there are no brakes installed. The funny thing about messenger bikes is that they seem to show up and disappear fast.

I saw this one on the way back from lunch on the first day. I noticed that alot of the messengers in Boston are women riding fixie. Much more than I saw in New York. I often saw couples out riding together on there fixies. Really cool.

I am staying in Cambridge and I was walking across the Charles River to find a Drug store. This Parlee was on a car parked in front of a boat house on Memorial Drive in front of MIT. It was raining so I think the owner decided not to ride this day. I walked by the same car later in the week and the roof rack was empty. This is one of the nicest bikes I saw all week. At least the nicest that I could get a good picture of.

I tried to talk to the riders but they did not really seem open to conversation. They probably consider me a poseur which is probably true.

The bike above looks like the 2oo8 Specialized Boston. I saw a lot of bikes just like this.

The riders down by my office seemed to be all working as messengers but the riders in the Back Bay neighborhood appeared to be students and urban residents out enjoying the nice weather. Harvard and MIT are in Cambridge while Boston University is across the river in Boston.

I met a woman in the Back Bicycles shop who went to Northeastern which is not too far away. The woman worked at the bike shop and asked me if I was from New Jersey. I told her that I was and I asked her if she was as well. Turned out she was from South Jersey. For a while I was wondering how she knew that I was from New Jersey and then it hit me that I was wearing my Rutgers Lacrosse t-shirt. I thought it was kind of funny.

I have lots more pictures. I may have to do another post about my trip to Boston. I am supposed to spend the next couple of months in Boston.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thoughts on the 2007 Tour de France

Just some of my thoughts on the 2007 Tour.
  • This year's race appears to be wide open. I am not sure who I would like to win there are couple of riders that I am hoping will do well. I have changed my mind about some riders.
  • It might be better for European Cycling if a non American rider wins. Team Discovery appears to be riding well so they may get at least a podium position but it might not be an American
  • I have decided that I do not want Michael Rasmussen to win. I have completely changed my mind about him. I was impressed with his climbing skills but there are so many other riders that I like better.
  • It seems like there are alot more attacks this year than there have been in past years. Teams are really fighting.
  • I was happy that Michael Rogers finally decided to withdraw. I would have like to see him in the Tour but he was in so much pain that it was uncomfortable to watch. What I saw of the crash looked bad and it did not get any better after multiple viewings. How David Arroyo was able to fall over a guard rail, down the hill and then climb up to get back on his bike was completely amazing. That has to be Mr. Arroyo's lottery win.
  • Now that I now the story about the Astana team I have changed my position on them. Alexandre Vinokourov is riding very bravely. Mr. Vinokourov also has the coolest sunglasses on the tour. I wish I knew what kind they are. Astana's attack on Stage 11 made for a great stage race. The Astana team appears to be one of the toughest teams out there.
  • Christophe Moreau of Ag2r gets points in my book for recognizing that pay back is a bitch and having a sense of humor about it.
  • Now it seems like all the teams are working hard on both the flats and the climbs. While the Tour did not really start out this way it does appear that nobody is willing to concede anything.
  • Fred Rodriguez of Predictor-Lotto certaintly knows how to complain but he might have a point. However, it does make for a thrilling race even though I hate to see crashes. As much as I was sorry to see Robbie McEwen leave the Tour I do think it was better for Cadel Evans and the rest of Predictor-Lotto. Since they appear to operate like a time they are my favorite to win the GC. Predictor-Lotto has two American's riding the above mentioned Fast Freddie and Chris Horner who appears to be having a great tour supporting Cadel Evans. Finally Predictor-Lotto has the best dual sponsorship on the tour. Predictor is a pregnancy test and Lotto is a European Lottery.
  • The CSC Team has a warm spot in my heart since CSC was the company that moved me to New Jersey in 1988. Of course it was a different company then than it is now. When I work for them they mostly a government contract with dreams of making it big in the private sector. It would have been really cool if they had the cycling team when I worked for them. I might have stayed with them more than 2 years.
  • If US Television operated the way German TV operated I would not be able to watch baseball or the NFL. Of course I have not been a baseball fan since the strike of the early 90s and I have never been a big NFL fan.

I am going to be busy on the morning of Stage 13 but since it is a Time Trial I do not think I will miss much by not watching it live.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some more New York City Messenger Pics

I had to go into the New York office today. It was a horrible commuting day. As I was leaving to go to the train station the skies looked like they were getting ready to open up. While it held off until the train came I left my rain slicker on the back seat of my car. I could have used it.

The local train that usually runs ahead of us was cancelled and our express train was turned into a local. The end result was that the passengers from two trains were packed onto one. Luckily I had a seat but those who got on at stations after me were not so lucky.

Since it was raining I was thinking about taking the subway up to the office from Penn Station but I enjoy the walk so I decided to risk it since it was not raining too hard. This was a bad bet since I got about 4 blocks when the skies opened up. I was thinking about flagging down a cab but I there was guy outside of a shoe store selling umbrellas so I decided to make the $4.00 investment. It did help a little bit but I was all wet by the time I got to the office.

For the most part the day was not that productive so I decided to take a walk at lunch time. I decided to go to the main Toga Bikes Shop on the corner of West End and West 64th Street. This is about 3 blocks west of Lincoln Center. I was originally thinking of taking the 2&3 up to 66th Street (Lincoln Center) but I would have had to walk south to the station so I decided I would walk the whole way.

I was hoping that I would see some more messengers on single speeds and fixies today but I think the weather made them bring out the beaters and mountain bikes. Not nearly as many as there were on Monday. During during the lunch time hour most of the bikes that you see are from restuarants delivering orders. Most of these are beater mountian bikes with baskets mounted on the front. You also see a lot of English style 3 speeds.

Unfortunately my picture taking activities were cut short because the battery in my camera needed charging. The shutter did not have enough power to catch messengers as the rode by me. I figured I would keep trying and then recharge the battery once I got back to work so that I could get some more photos on the walk to the Penn Station on the return commute home.

Below are some of the pictures I took on the way to Penn Station to catch the train home. It started to rain hard on the walk so I had to look for bikes and take the pictures while holding an umbrella. I did see one fixie rider hit a pedestrian but I did not get a picture of it. The rider apologized and then continued on.

The rider of the bike above rode by me as I was walking but I could not get a picture in time. However, she was making a deliver to 1 Penn Plaza and I walk by her again as she was locking her bike. I really want to get some pictures of messengers posed next to their bikes but I know they are in a hurry. Also, it was raining today so I was afraid to ask. Maybe next time.

I caught the 5:33 Jersey Coast Line Express to Long Branch so I missed the steampipe explosion. I was on the other side of the Hudson in New Jersey probably in Newark by the time this happened.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New York City Single Speed Pictures - July 16, 2007

I had to go into the New York office today and I made sure I brought my camera to get some pictures of some Single Speeders (extra points for fixie!!). I forgot to look for bikes for most of the day but when a messenger rode by me I decided to get my camera out. I started looking so hard for bikes that I almost walked out into traffic. I did end up missing one train and I had to take a later one which meant I missed my evening ride window.

This was taken in Little Italy over the weekend but I figured that I would rerun it the way newspapers do.

My first attempt at catching a messenger. Kind of hard to tell what I was taking a picture of. They come by so fast I found I had to see the riders at least a block away if I wanted to get a decent photo.

This one was easy to get. I had already crossed over to the west side of 6th Avenue when I spotted this bike. I ended up crossing back over to the east side to get this picture. I have noticed that the messangers that ride fixie have a lot more pride in ownership.

I saw this guy coming but I had to wait for a bus to pass before I could get the picture.

After a few minutes I realized I could tell a fixie rider just by the way he was riding. I can not explain the difference but my eye started to pickup on it.

The DIY Single Speed method.

This kid was walking with his mother and I had the camera on so I snapped the photo. BMX bikes are still single speeds.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Trip to New York to do Tourist Type Things

My daughter's closest friend is visiting us this week and we have been doing different things to entertain the two girls. On Saturday we had planned on going into the New York to look around. My daughter's friend has only been in the City once before and that was the last time she came to visit us.

Since they are both teenage girls they like to stay up late and sleep in so I was able to get a quick bike ride in before we left (21 miles thanks to my new computer). We took the 12:25 PM NJ Transit Jersey Coast Line from Middletown, NJ. The video above is of the train arriving in the station. The trip by train on the weekends is about 1.5 hours since only local trains run on Saturday and Sunday.

Our first stop was going to be the Dylan's Candy Bar and I wanted to give my daughter's friend the whole NY experience by riding the NYC Subway system. My Metro pass had expired since I have not commuted in to NY for a project since August 2006. I knew I had about $50 on the card but I found out that I can trade it in for a new card and not loose any of the value. During the week the subway can be the fastest way to get around the city but on the weekends is not nearly as reliable. Every train we got on either stopped for long periods in the tunnels or was taken out of service before we got to our destination. I finally gave up and started using cabs. At least we tried and got some adventure out of it.

Going to Dylan's Candy Bar gave me a chance to do a little sight seeing of my own. I have never been to Togabikes in NY. Toga is also Gotham Bikes which I think is a Specialized Concept Dealer and I wanted to stop in and see what the store looked like. Dylans Candy Bar is on 3rd and 60 Street and Toga is on 63 and 1st. I thought it would be nice to walk over the the park along the East River. Toga had a 52 Langster in Silver on the sales floor. I like the look of the Silver. It is a little less street looking than the copper one that I own. I noticed that graphics were different between the two colors.

The rest of the day was spent going around the city doing random things such as walking through Central Park and taking time to sit on the swings in one of many nice playgrounds in the park. We ended up heading down to Little Italy to eat dinner. The girls wanted to have desert at Rice to Riches since it was featured in the movie Hitch.

I was expecting to see a lot of Fixed/Single Gear riders while I did see a some it is not as many as I would have saw in San Francisco. Of course it is a weekend in the summer so a lot of the messengers may have stayed away from the city on their days off. I did see a Fixie rider in Central Park on a really nice custom bike but I did not get my camera out in time (I am not a very good reporter). Most of the riders I saw were in Little Italy and I did get one picture of one rider walking with a woman. I should have asked if I could take a picture but instead I tried to sneak a couple of pictures.

I am going to get a ride in today (Sunday). I wanted to watch the Tour this morning since today is the big climbing day. I was wondering what Michael Rasmussen was up to since he has won the last two King of the Mountain competions. What a climber this guy is.