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:
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:
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:
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.
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!