Boston, this past September, I’m spending a few days visiting bicycle retailers. I love Boston. I went to high school in Boston junior year while my Dad got his MBA at MIT, and I ended up going to college at BU. I used to love to ride my bike around Boston, so on this trip I asked the Trek rep to have a bike for me at the hotel. I don’t care what model it is, I just want to ride in the morning before we hit the road. I fly into Boston and we spend the day visiting retailers and end up having dinner with a retailer in Natick. After dinner the manager invited us to go for a few beers at a bar in Brookline. A good time was had by all!! Bill Hand, the rep, drives me to my hotel, the Doubletree in Cambridge, right next to the Charles River. Strategically picked so that I can ride my bike in the morning.
I arrive at the Doubletree just before midnight and am greeted with a hearty Welcome to the Doubletree! Thank you, I reply. My name is John Burke and I have a room here. I’m sorry, Mr. Burke, we are sold out, and we have a cab waiting to take you to a hotel on the other side of Cambridge. You must be mistaken, I have a reservation here. We know, Mr. Burke, but we oversold the hotel and we don’t have any rooms. To which I reply, there must be a mistake, I have a RESERVATION here. Mr. Burke, there are no rooms. We are now in the taste great/less filling part of the conversation, and this is going nowhere. Do you have my bicycle? Yes we do. OK, if you could get my bicycle, I’ll find a hotel on my own.
My bicycle appears, a very nice 7.3 FX. I take my helmet out of my backpack, strap it on, put my backpack on, and sling my night bag over my shoulder. I head out the door at just past midnight. Destination: the Cambridge Hyatt on the Charles. I have stayed there in the past, and my Dad and I ran a race that ended at the Hyatt. The path isn’t lit and it is a little dark out, but there is a great moon high in the sky making up for the lack of a light. The Hyatt is further than I thought, but I make it there and wheel my bicycle into the lobby and to the registration area. Do you have a room? No, we do not. Surely you have one room. We are completely sold out. Any recommendations, then? None. Back on my bike, out the door, and I head for the Charles River Hotel further down the Charles. I get to the Hotel and ask for a room. Sold out, nothing available. Any recommendations? On the bike again and no luck at the Royal Sonesta. Maybe in Boston. It is now past 1 a.m. as I get back on the bike. I look across the river and I see in bright lights: WESTIN. I smile. My Dad and I ran in the Boston Marathon three times, and we always stayed at the Westin. FATE.
I ride my bike up the river and across the Mass Ave Bridge. It really is a beautiful night. I get to the Westin and up the escalator I go with my bike—not the easiest trick in the world after a few beers. I approach the registration area and ask for a room. Sold out. Are you kidding me? No. Just one room? Completely sold out. Any recommendations? You should try Cambridge. Already been there. I leave the Westin and I am now in my cost-is-no-object zone. I just need a room. I go across the street to the Copley Plaza. Nothing. We are now past 2 a.m. and I don’t know where to go, when I remember there is a hotel down by the Boston Common. I ride my bike towards the Boston Common and see the Boston Park Plaza on my right. I enter at 2:20 a.m. I walk up to registration and ask for a room. Sold out, says Theo. To which I reply, Theo, I really need you on this one. Let me check, Theo says. He returns with a key to a room on the 16th floor. At 2:30 my odyssey to find a room in Boston ends. It was one of my best bike rides of the year.
As we begin this blog journey, you just never know what will come next. Ride your bike.
P.S. If you’ve got a favorite ride, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.