Boston Boda Boda

Just cause I'm back doesn't mean I have to stop having fun, right? I've decided the secret is just to keep living like I'm in Uganda. In the sense that even if something is not strictly "safe" or "wise" or "practical," if it sounds fun or convenient, hop on board.

The other night, I got a call from some friends a little after midnight. One of the guys had just moved into a new place downtown, complete with a roof deck with sweet views of the Boston skyline. Since it is still relatively warm here (according to them. I'm freezing, all the time), they figured what better way to pass the night than with a few drinks under the night sky. Honestly, I can't say they were wrong.

But there's a little problem with Boston, a problem that is as inexplicable as anything I had to deal with in Uganda. Namely, in a city with more college students than street lights, the subway shuts down at midnight, leaving you to rely on Boston's grossly overpriced cabs. I swear, they must be funding Menino's reelection campaign or something, because otherwise this just doesn't make sense. Sorta like Nairobi outlawing spitting on the street while doing nothing about the rampant violent crime.

But I digress. After we had appreciated the roof deck in all its splendor and sufficiently rehydrated, the non-retired members of the group (aka the working stiffs) decided it was probably time to call it a night. And then things got interesting. Including myself, there were four guys left. One lived in the apartment. The other two came on bikes. Leaving me just a bit out of luck.

Unless. Wait a minute guys, lemme run something by you... in Uganda, there's this thing called a boda boda. No, not burger burger, though I agree that sounds delicious. Boda. Shutup. Listen, I'm gonna ride back on your handlebars. All you have to do is pedal. Sound good? Sweet.

I really wish we could have gotten a picture. Picture the empty streets of Boston at around four in the morning. By the light of a full moon, you see two bikes roll by. The first has the standard crew of one, but the second is carrying a bonus passenger, perched on the handlebars with his hands in his lap and legs dangling ahead, perfectly content with the world as he talks over his shoulder to his friend the conductor. It must be said that the conductor may be having a bit less fun, huffing and puffing and trying for all the world to keep this bike balanced and moving. But they're both clearly enjoying the moment. Yes conductor, are you fine? How is your good life?

(Looks like fun right?)

I'm proud to say, as the one who did none of the work, that the whole thing went off without a hitch. In fact, I'd happily do it again. The highlight was without question going over the Longfellow bridge, and seeing all of Back Bay reflected in the Charles. The Pru and the full moon, the serenity of a puritanical city sleeping soundly, having the streets as your playground without any of Boston's notoriously charming drivers to disturb you. Just you, your driver and the hum of nubbed tires on the pavement. It was all so very pleasant.

By: Pear Biter /

Then, the low point had to be coming back down that very same bridge, realizing as we picked up speed that, from a momentum perspective, I'm probably not in the best place. I'm no scientist, but I seem to remember something about bodies in motion wanting to stay in motion. The thing I remember thinking most was that if we crash, I probably won't die, or even break my bones. But at this speed, I'm definitely going to get run over. And considering that I'm currently straddling the front tire, that is going to be a bit unpleasant.


  1. I don't get it, what's the big deal? You weren't even carrying a baby.


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