One man's attempt at opting out of the total car culture by walking, busing, and cycling in Omaha, Nebraska.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Photos From "Oh! What An Alleycat!"
Omaha's first annual Oh! What An Alleycat! event was a huge success! Read the official blog here.
When Sean announced that he was going to organize an alleycat race, I knew I wanted to help make it happen. Rather than participate, I offered to help run a checkpoint. I'm not terribly fast, and sometimes not the best navigator, so helping out seemed to be the thing to do.
About 15 people showed up to race, and several more to help out. Our gathering at the arch in the Gene Leahy Mall was certainly noticeable. There were bikes everywhere of all kinds. Fixies, single speeds, racing bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrids. It was a beautiful thing.
We helpers showed up early and Sean briefed us on the protocol. We each were given a grease pen for marking player's playing cards, and an index card telling us where our checkpoint was, and the location of the next checkpoint.
I rode off to my post in the Heartland of America Park. Sean had directed me to an area on the lake that was near the boat ride piers, describing a boardwalk. I think most people interpreted their clue, given by them by the officials at the first checkpoint, as the wooden footbridge over 8th and Farnam. In the confusion, some people rode all the way to the wooden bridge leading to the riverfront before seeing me waving from my checkpoint. Please explore the map below.
I got a kick out of seeing the leaders trying to get to me at great speed. Some bombed down the steep grassy hill (on fixies, no less), while some hefted their bikes on the shoulders and ran down the steps from 8th Street. I think everyone ended up finding me. However, I had forgotten to ask Sean how many riders there were, so I wasn't sure when I was done.
Just to be safe, I moved out more in the open to the boardwalk at the boat piers, waited, and fed some cookies to the ducks.
Finally I got a message from Sean telling me to rejoin the group at the arch. By the time I got back, all prizes has been awarded. A few of us went on to Upstream for some post ride refreshments.
After some snacks, some of Upstream's finest beverages and some fun conversation, I rode off toward home. Ben was looking to get some more saddle time, so he joined me for the ride to my house. I think afterward he might have continued on to the Keystone Trail for some more miles.
Everybody I talked to seemed to enjoy the alleycat, and is looking forward to the next. Thanks to Sean for putting this together, at his own personal expense, and thanks to everyone who came out to race or to help. Also, thanks for The Douglas for making the special event spoke cards. That's something you don't see every day in Omaha.