What would get some approaching-middle age parents to stay up all night riding bikes all over town looking for star fruit and covers of the out-of-print Seattle PI and wrapped toothpicks and Polaroid photos? Why the Solstice 9 to 5 all-night Bicycle Scavenger Hunt, of course.
It all started a few months ago when Tim asked me if I wanted to do the 9-5. My reply was immediate and fierce. ” I’m not staying up all night riding my bike all over town.” I go to bed at 11 and can usually never make it through a movie without falling asleep.
and then he called me boring. and he may have said I was old.
so then I had to do it.
The 9-5 is a bike scavenger hunt organized by Ryan of Go Means Go. The annual event (this was the 2nd) takes place the Saturday of the summer solstice. It starts at sunset and ends at sunrise. 8 hours on the bike, pedaling all over town picking up random things.
Once I decided to do it, I was totally on board (and looking for four others to round out our six-man team). We asked all the bike riding folk we could think of. The standard reply was, “that sounds like fun, but (insert excuse here)”. We told our always energetic brother-in-law, Dan, about it and he was in. He asked a few friends and they had the same response as ours, no way. Julian was into it but non-committal. Even up until the day of the event, we weren’t sure if Julian would round out our four (not six) man team. When he arrived at Gasworks at 8:59 raring to go, we knew we were set. Four gatherers are better than three and Julian has enough energy for all of us put together. Plus we were all on a mission and drinking coffee not beer like some of our competition.
What followed was 8 hours of pure fun.
I can’t remember how many things were on our manifest, but it had to be @ 150, each with a point value depending on how common or obscure it was. There were also time sensitive stops, pictures of clocks at 1:30 AM, and a couple of meet ups throughout the night for coffee and pastries.
I haven’t laughed that much for consecutive hours in years.
Tim and I often ride at night: to see movies, go to dinner, meet friends etc. you know, the kind of things old boring married people do. But I’ve never taken a tour of the entire city after sunset. and I mean the entire city. We were everywhere: Fremont, Ballard, Wallingford, Ravenna, Laurelhurst, Eastlake, Capitol Hill, Downtown, SoDo, East Marginal Way, the Waterfront and sometimes looping around to those places a few times throughout the night. There’s nothing like riding through Fremont at 4:55 AM in the middle of the road as the sun’s rising with nary a car on the road.
Other than the brief period when we all hit a wall in downtown Seattle @ 2:00 AM, it wasn’t that hard to stay up all night. Being with friends and laughing and having a common goal and checking stuff off our list really helped to keep us awake.
And the best part, our team took the trophy!
It helped to have 2 Xtracycles on the team. And did I mention Julian has lots of energy? That helped too. He wouldn’t stop until he found the elusive star fruit. And he was all over getting a photo taken in the Re-bar photo booth (while shirtless and in bike helmets no less). Shirtless earned extra points. The trannys didn’t even notice them and no one blinked an eye.
We got most things on the list and tallied the most points. The canned food, no limit, on the manifest was a loophole that we chose to use to our advantage. 96 cans of tuna (to be donated to a food bank), worth 2 points each easily slipped into Tim’s Big Dummy bags and tipped us into the winners circle. That cinder block I picked up on Capitol Hill at midnight and hauled around until 5:00 AM was no problem at all. And Julian’s nimble Brompton made it easy for him to pop into a store (or 5) looking for his prize star fruit. And Dan on his fast city bike got us the Starbucks clock photo at 1:30 with mere seconds to spare.
The post ride high lasted so long, I didn’t even know I was tired. And then the high wore off and I was tired…real tired. It’s one thing to stay up all night when you’re young and stupid. But doing it when you’re old is just hard.
Despite (still) being tired, Tim and I are already making plans for next year. He wants this to be our annual pre-Father’s day tradition. Want to join us?
Thanks, Ryan, for the great event.
Want to know more? Check out the flickr pool and Ryan’s post and Julian’s post too.
About that 4:55am in Fremont… don’t forget about the 60-year -old man in the road-workers orange vest and bright-red short-shorts who blew by us on his 1970s road bike. Or the 50-year-old man, walking down 34th clad only in running shoes, body paint, and a smile. He must have had quite the Solstice Parade story to tell!
Proof it really was the night for old folks sowing their oats.
Damn straight I was going to find that starfruit. I get perseverative that way. Are you still keeping half an eye out for St. Ides and religious tracts? The things we missed still haunt me.
And yes, I’m in! And Jordan from http://www.wallyhood.org likes to go all night, so we could probably field a six-old-fogie-parents team next year. We need a new name, though.
I totally think the bus covered us for religious tracts. We forgot to add that to our points.
Especially since it also had a bike on a bike rack (DOUBLE POINTS!!!)
But you’re right… St. Ides is really bugging me. I thought about looking my my neighbor’s recycling to see if he had any in there w/ the usual Olde English.
Oh, and name? We could go with our second name. Maybe call ourselves the “IG FYF Six”? Though nothing can top the pull out couch name.
That sounds blissful riding through Seattle hoods devoid of cars in the middle of the night!-Did anyone keep track of how many miles you logged?
Bike computers weigh too much. That would have cut into how many Dick’s Milk Shakes we could consume. Seriously, it’s hard to believe no one had a computer. Anne has one on her bike even, but was using a spare wheel w/ no sensor. Hmmmm maybe Julian’s iPhone surreptitiously tracked our route?
Great post! So happy you guys had a good time. Greg and I are already thinking of next years manifest- we’ll be keeping you on your toes with new stops and things to collect! Good decision to stick with the caffeine- next year I’ll be sure we have more! We filled a Northwest Harvest food donation station with all the food we collected too!
We’re looking forward to it, Ryan! Thanks again. Super fun time (though if anyone asks we’re going to bag on it. Gotta keep the field small to increase our chances of a two-peat!) 😉
Back-to-back biking victories for Anne, I see. Felicidades!!!! I love that one was in a parent/kid event, the other in a ride-around-all-night quest. Thanks for representin’ parents everywhere in this clearly “cool kids” bike event!
I was so bummed to miss this! Last year I swore I would ride it this year. But I have a good excuse, and was with you in spirit – on the 21st we were up at 3:15 AM to hike through the jungle in the dark and climb the tallest temple at Tikal ruins in Guatemala, to watch the sun rise and the canopy come to life.
Next year count me in!!!
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