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Biking Baltimore with the Kinetic Sculpture Race

Here's an excellent opportunity to enjoy the color and excitement of Baltimore's Kinetic Sculpture Race by combining it with a relaxed biking tour of the city's most popular neighborhoods.  Instead of being stuck watching the race from one spot, our group can move along with the racing teams on our bikes to see them in action the whole way.

We'll ride the same 15-mile route used by the racing teams on road lanes separated from car traffic, so this is a rare chance to see Baltimore's best sights without getting run over.  Our route takes us through Federal Hill, Inner Harbor, Little Italy, Fells Point, Canton, and Patterson Park, as well as many famous streets along the way.  You can see the entire race route and estimated time schedule to reach each point here:

http://www.kineticbaltimore.com/ksr/downloads/2011KsrSpectatorsGuide.pdf

Following our ride, we'll head over to Barfly's in Federal Hill to enjoy their terrific pizza and beer.  And Barfly's is just two blocks from where we parked our cars at the start, so it's a convenient place to end up.  Check it out here:

http://www.meetup.com/Second-Half-Rally-Active-Recreation-for-Fun-People/events/59241042/

Baltimore's Kinetic Sculpture Race

Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Kinetic Sculptures are inventive and creative human-powered works of art custom built for the race.  Although they're lots of fun to watch, the Kinetic Sculptures must be able to traverse miles of city roads and be amphibious.  The eight-hour race covers 15 miles mostly on pavement, but also including a dip into Baltimore harbor and a trip through the mud and sand of Patterson Park.  This year, the organizers expect about 40 entries from teams that have invested a lot of imagination, time, and money building these inventive contraptions that must bear the brunt of the race all afternoon.  

It's all in fun to create a colorful spectacle of artistic design, clever engineering, and human bravado by the many contestants who eagerly propel their machines along Baltimore's streets and waters.  The crowd becomes part of the spectacle with their own outrageous costumes and constant cheering.  There are awards presented at the end for everything from best artistic design to worst entry into the water at the Canton ramp.  

Here are some of the race entries from last year:

You can see the complete collection of colorful photos from the 2011 Kinetic Sculpture Race here:

http://www.kineticbaltimore.com/KSR/2011/Default.asp?Page=0

The Bike Ride

Our group will meetup at the McDonald's on Fort St. in the Southside Market shopping plaza parking lot.  You can get there directly from I-95 by taking the Key Highway exit or by driving through Federal Hill from Inner Harbor.  The shopping plaza has ample free parking, and it's located right on the route of the Kinetic Sculpture Race.  So we can get a great view of the racing entries from there without encountering any big crowds. 

After watching the Kinetic Sculptures pass by in the morning when the teams are still fresh and vigorous, we can ride our bikes back to the Cross Street Market on Federal Hill to have a nice lunch and some refreshments.  Bruce Lee's wings and burgers are Rev. Jake's favorite, but Nick's sushi bar and beer is quite popular with the healthy folks.  Both places are fun as you stand in the market aisles while eating and drinking on barrel tables.  And there are many more eating options in the Cross Street Market.  You can check out the pics of Second Half Rally's February 11 walking tour of Federal Hill if you need to see why we like it so much.

Following lunch and refreshments, we'll bike along the Kinetic Sculpture Race route to catch up and follow them through Inner Harbor and Fells Point to the water launch at Canton Park.  The racers take a while there to get in and out of the harbor water, and then they go up to Patterson Park for the mud and sand section which also takes a while.  We can watch the race and enjoy the attractions of the Canton area if things get slow. Then we'll follow the racers back through Inner Harbor, along Key Highway, and back up to Federal Hill where the the race ends.

Helmets Are Required For Everyone

This is a slow easy bike ride that's suitable for anyone who can breathe and pedal at the same time.  Newbies are welcome, but you must be able to control your bike and stay with the group during the afternoon.

Meetup Details

As this is an outdoor event, we need good biking weather to make it successful.  Check here on Saturday morning before 9 am if the weather looks doubtful.  I'll post an update if we need to change plans or cancel.  

Call Jake at[masked] if you have questions or need to find us.

I hope to see you there!

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Lots of fun. A great event.

    May 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Neat event with hugely fun people! Thanks Jake for always having great ideas! Even if they will NEVER involve horses...

    May 6, 2012

  • Tom

    Thanks Jake. You have yet again provided a very enjoyable and unique event. Had a blast with enjoying it all with the usual group of fun loving people.

    May 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a great day. The floats were great and especially since they were required to float and have the ability to go through sand as well as mud.

    May 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good fun with friendly folks - life is great!

    May 6, 2012

  • Rori

    This was a great activity.....so much fun!!

    May 6, 2012

  • Gloria

    Those of us who enjoy a little weird sprinkled in with our fun loved this event! The dedicated car lane just for bikes and "contraptions" was the perfect way to see a great neighborhood city like Balmer. Riding through an authentic Cinco De Mayo street festival in upper fells point was a special treat. Thanks to everyone for a great time! Thank you Jake for setting this up and plotting our course.

    May 5, 2012

  • Jake

    What a great day! We started by watching the many colorful and clever "kinetic sculpture" contraptions go by on Fort Ave. Then our group biked to Cross St. Market for a nice lunch while the racers continued to Canton. After lunch, we enjoyed biking in the separate racing lanes to catch the racing contraptions at Canton Park where they enter the harbor briefly. Then we followed them up to Patterson Park for the sand and mud events. Finally, we returned to our starting point while getting cooled by a light rain. Great crowds, lots of good cheer, and friendly people the whole way. We ended with a wonderful pizza and beer meal at Barfly's pub. Just my kind of day, and lots of variation for taking in Baltimore once more in a different way. Thanks everyone for sharing the day with me.

    May 5, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Dave, I'm in Arlington and have room for 2 with 2 bikes on the bike-rack. I could come pick you up. Alexandria isn't too far out of the way. Email me at gomerbarkley at gmail if interested. Thanks!

    May 2, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    @anyone - I am coming from Alexandria, would anyone like to carpool. but my bike in the trunk with the back seat folded down. I not really sure if I can get another bike in there, but I can meet anyone who wants to car pool -- Dave

    April 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Rori, I might like that! I'll be coming from Potomac.

    April 16, 2012

  • Rori

    This sounds great! Anyone interested in carpooling from Gaithersburg? I don't mind driving and I have a bike rack. Just need to figure out how it will attach itself to the car!

    April 16, 2012

  • Alison

    I'm already signed up for Over 40's version of this event (LOVE the AVAM). If the timing works out I'll join you at Barfly's.

    April 11, 2012

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  • Jake
    Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Tom
  • A former member
  • A former member
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