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.
Our group did this last year, and it was a BLAST.
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, the estimated time schedule to reach each point, and costume suggestions on the Spectators Guide:
Following our ride, we'll head over to Barfly's in Federal Hill to enjoy their terrific pizza and beer. Barfly's is located just two blocks from where we parked our cars at the start, so it's a convenient place to end up and socialize. Scroll down to check out the details for Barfly's.
Baltimore's Kinetic Sculpture Race
Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Kinetic Sculptures are 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 on pavement, but also includes 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 event with their own outrageous costumes and 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 entries from previous races:
Be sure to check out the COMPLETE COLLECTION of colorful photos from the 2012 Kinetic Sculpture Race. It's guaranteed to get you excited about seeing the 2013 race:
The Bike Ride
Our group will meet at the parking lot by McDonald's in the Southside Market shopping plaza on E. Fort Avenue. 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'll 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 over 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 available in the Cross Street Market.
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 some time. 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 up to Federal Hill where the the race ends.
Helmets Are Required For All Riders
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 keep up with our group during the afternoon.
Post-Ride Pizza at Barfly's
After the bike ride, we'll walk two blocks to Barfly's to share some refreshing drinks and excellent pizza. We've been there several times, and it's always a great adventure in a real Baltimore bar. Barfly's is located at 620 E. Fort Avenue.
Our group's standard procedure in restaurants is to infiltrate them as individual customers so we get faster service and separate checks. Then we can mix and mingle without the hassles of finding large group seating and getting an automatic 18% tip added to a single gigantic bill. Figuring out who owes what and paying each share at the end of the evening is an unpleasant chore that detracts from having fun at our group meetups.
So just sit down and order what you want when you enter. Don't worry about trying to find room for all of us at once. Everybody will get in and have a good time. We always do...
More details and Yelp reviews below:
As this is an outdoor event, we need good biking weather to make it successful. Check here on Saturday morning before 8:00 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!