Rain does what it wants. Not what I want.
Three weeks in to the Staying Put Tour! Hauling a shopping cart of stuff up five flights of stairs aint so bad. There is good food and good fuel everywhere I look and my commutes are mostly short (30 mins – 2 1/2 hours). The first week was a challenge though. Due to scheduling difficulties my first three shows were not so linear. 171st and Broadway all the way down to Bank St. then all the way up to 163rd! In that first week the cart was breaking down regularly. Wheels were wonky, steel was bending, my packing system was deplorable at best and control of the cart was a challenge. Things were so bent out of shape on my way to Bank St. that I walked the cart from 125th all the way down. Took about 5 hours with stops along the way to try and problem solve. My friend Israel Collado has been my collaborator and savior at times with the cart. He refitted it with big ol wheels and cut the sides out for my signs. After considerable tinkering and head scratching It is working like a dream. Like a dream on a cloud bathed in golden sunlight soaked in angel breath.
My friend Vivian said “Gid I got the bicycle when you were going across New Zealand. That made sense to me, but what is up with the shopping cart and the roller blades?”. At first it was just an idea. I liked thinking of different ways to use my body to get from place to place. I just did a bike trip so I wanted something different. The modified cart and Rollerblades occurred to me and sounded like fun. Then I realized it’s completely practical and utilitarian. I don’t have a car and I can’t go up and down the stairs to the subways. It’s a great way to get around expediently with a lot of baggage. So long as the cart is not breaking down (this has only happened 5 times in 21 days) it rides like a dream. My friend and I painted the beast day glo for safety and flash and put the name of my website on the wooden sides. I thought it couldn’t hurt to be pushing a walking billboard around a city of nine million.
People do look at me, but only for a moment. You gotta be riding on the back of a day glo Terradactle to get a real double take in this city. Some have told me I look like a homeless guy with a website. Oh well. I put a considerable amount of pre-thought into this mode of transport, but there were still unforeseen challenges.
1. NYC roads are built on a slope for drainage. The only flat part of the road is the middle. That is where the cars go and where I do not go. I ride the cart along the side of the road and therefor and perpetually veering off to the right and into the drains. SOLUTION = Ride on the sidewalk when possible (much flatter), ride on the left side of the road whenever possible to veer to the left for a while and compensate musculaturial dis-evening and last but not least petition the city to change all their roads for a more comfortable shopping cart tour next time.
2. The rain! My original plan on rain days was to wait under some awning for dry spells and move fast in those moments. Start early and wait for the rain to stop, cause rain always stops. Apparently I had a faulty understanding of weather patterns. On my very first rain day the rain began and continued. I gave myself 6 hours to make a 1 hour ride and I spent many hours waiting before I realized my faithful dry spells will not always exist. SOLUTION = My beautiful brother and sister in love brought down a tarp, we sloppily dressed the cart and I carried on. It wasn’t pretty but it worked. My papi always said “A soggy banjo’s like a lump of dough without an oven. What’s it good for?”.
3. The rain! Turns out the smooth wheels on rollers blades slip on the wet ground and have very little traction. SOLUTION = baby strides.
Today it is sunny. I’ll be carting from Bed-Stuy to Williamsburg.