Jul 10, 2011

facts of life: solving puzzles

Here's the first of a series of chronicles by Tiago, the deadbeat driver who's sort of following the group and gets to drive Boris around. He'll be trying to provide a different perspective of what goes on in the world while the group is out there, riding for your Rights!

Have you ever wondered how the riders manage to carry all the stuff they need from one city to the other? Well, they don't. Boris does it for them, which is to say, yours truly has to pack everything inside Boris - every single day!

When I got to Vienna ahead of departure, Julian picked me up at the airport. He showed up with a Transit covered in giant stickers and proving to the whole world that he was indeed born to move around cycling, instead of driving. There was a bike hanging from the ceiling in the cargo hull, swinging at every turn of the wheel and reminding me of a Stomp! show.

It was pretty obvious we'd need some system to accommodate all the luggage and equipment along the way, not just for us, but also for some 20 people who, for some reason, decided this was a great way to spend their summer vacation...

Thanks to a friend of Andi's, we managed to "trim" a wooden shelf rack and strap it in the back of the van, as a temporary solution. Like all temporary solutions, this would become definitive, at least until some disaster came to pass.

Upon loading all our stuff inside the van, including Andi's filming material and four and a half bikes, we headed out to Novi Sad with the trunk completely full. There was no way we'd ever fit something else in there.

On the morning of departure, before the opening ceremony, we had to fit the luggage from all the people staying at Milkaza. Moving around some things and adjusting others properly, we managed to make just enough room for everything. There was no way we'd ever fit something else in there.

After the opening ceremony, the group gathered to take care of the last bits of planning and goodbyes, and of course some more luggage came along. Plus, the Bike of Honour had a 1 o'clock with its case. It took a long while before every backpack was squeezed in, and all the small bags plug the holes in the structure. There was no way we'd ever fit something else in there.

With Svetlana's help (you'll read more about her soon), I bought a couple of metal racks so that we could start thinking vertically instead of totally giving up on ever seeing the floor again. This, in turn, implied that the use of ropes would be mandatory to secure those little death traps to the van. But even so, considering we received two spare bikes from the guys of Ideas on Tour, considering everyone likes to buy some food for the way and considering we need to carry quite a lot of water, this wouldn't really solve the problem. There was no way we'd ever fit something else in there.

Stage A has 8 riders, plus 3 members of the core team.
Some other stages have around 20 people signed up.
I guess what I'm trying to explain is: we need some pro-bono carpentry.

Let's see if I can still have a LEGO mindset...

- Tiago

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