I can’t really overstate how obsessed I am with Boston-based Firefly Adventure Team right now. They get everything right: the camaraderie, the attitude. The riding, the scenery. THE KITS. THE BIKES. Oh. My. God. The. Bikes. Team-issue Firefly titanium cross bikes w/ SRAM Force and Chris King that each team member builds herself. (“The first rule of the adventure team: Everyone builds their own bike.”) Swoon like whoa.
I think the team also pings some deep memories for me because of Leah Pappas-Barnes, one of the six women on the team. I met Leah when I lived in Boston from 2005-07 and was just starting to become bike-obsessed. Leah was a painter for IndyFab and was one of the first women I ever met who raced bikes. I had a total friend crush on her, thought she was the coolest person ever, wanted to be just like her etc.
I really wanted to start racing, but at the time, knew nothing about cycling-as-competitive-sport. There were really no club teams in Boston — only collegiate teams at Harvard and MIT and a sort of defunct Danskin elite team that I was in no way qualified to join. I ended up organizing a bunch of girls’ fixed gear rides out to Castle Island — at six miles away it was a “long” ride by Boston commuter standards — and racing alley cats for a while, but it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and found xXx that I found the women’s development team that I needed.
The club/racing team scene has exploded in Boston since I moved to Chicago, in a way that makes me really happy, if a little jealous! Cambridge Bicycle has a fabulous team full of people I miss riding with. (And super cool kits. They were doing black/white/hi-viz yellow before it was cool, for real.) Embrocation started in Boston after I left, before migrating to Chicago when it was purchased by Iron Cycles' Brandon Elliott. (Hi guys!) There's Geekhouse, of course. My friend Jill Meyer races for the Pedal Power women’s team. And these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. It’s so great to see Firefly added to that list.
Cindy Brennan, another Firefly lady who I know from the Providence-Boston-Worcester-triangle Collective A-Go-Go bike/art punk connect, invited me to come ride with them next time I’m out there. I am SO taking them up on that offer. I haven’t been back to Boston in . .. two years? … and I haven’t been back there to ride since I raced the UCI Grand Prix of Cyclocross Race in Gloucester in 2009.
Clearly I’m overdue for a visit.