This last weekend was the Dock 11 store opening alley-cat race and party. It was a super laid-back alley-cat, and I had a blast rolling around Berlin with two of the raddest, coolest, bike polo ladies I know – Käete and Gitti. Our race started after we finished our beers and Käete finally said ‘ok, one more cigarette and then we’ll go,’ 20 minutes after the race had already started. We were riding with a larger group of people, who were all determined to have fun and not take things too seriously.
This alley-cat was one of my favorite kinds because every stop involved doing some sort of task, and you got points for arriving at the stop (10 points), and points for how well you did the task, totally arbitrarily judged up to 40 points (although I received 300 points at one stop…). I think these kinds of alley-cats are far superior to the plain-old-stamp-your-manifest-and-go sort. Personal preference.
Anyways. I remembered to take photos at most stops, and so here is a visual storybook of the race.
First, we went to ‘get stoned’ by smashing a concrete block in half.
Then we rode to a small park where there are still parts of the Berlin wall, and we had to use the half a block from the first stop to ‘rebuild the wall.’ Tounge-n-cheek political stop: check.
Next we went to a small BMX track where there was a table with 9 pictures of cats. Volunteers then handed you 9 names of types of house cats and you had to correctly identify the cat species. I failed at this task (I wish I could blame this on German, but I can’t) and did not correctly identify a single cat. But at least I remembered not to label the dog, which would have put me at -20 points.
BEST STOP – next we went to an outdoor bar where you had to listen to a song, try to remember the lyrics, and then do air guitar and sing the song in front of everyone. I got a laidback reggae song where the chorus was ‘oh man, oh man, kill all the whiteman.’
After our 30 seconds of fame (and another beer), we rode to what was probably the most technically difficult bike polo stop I’ve ever been too.
Step 1: Pick the mallet up off the ground, on your bike. I play polo, and I’m still not good at this.
Step 2: Ride up and over a long piece of wood (sort of like a see-saw).
Step 3: Shoot a goal into a small cardboard box.
After the polo stop, we had to go to bar and pick up a hamburger bun to bring to the party. Apparently we were also supposed to look at the staff and then guess how much they collectively weighed at the end. That got lost in translation for me.
Next, we had a short photo shoot with long-exposure photos. I’m excited to see how those turn out.
At the second to last stop we had to create a bracelet for ourselves out of bicycle chain. I had seen other people at stops with chains on who had forgotten to clean the chain first and were covered in grease, and so I felt pretty smart for remembering to do that first.
Lastly we were charged with the task of arriving at the final stop/party with a blue ice cream cone in hand. I had no idea about this because I couldn’t read the manifest, and had been blindly following Kaete and Gitti the whole time. So all of a sudden we stop at an ice cream place, and I just figured that people wanted to take an ice cream break, which I was totally down with, but then I was confused as to why we were packing up the ice cream and taking it away. Then when we were only a few blocks from the finish, and it had started to rain, Kaete takes out the ice cream, puts it in cones, and we all rode to the finish with ice cream cones in our hands like torches. We failed to find blue ice cream, but purple was close enough to earn us a special prize at the end.
Then I stopped taking pictures, ate a hamburger, drank some beers, and hung out at a really fun party. Thanks Dock 11 for organizing a great race and party!
Oh. And along the way there was a beautiful sunset over a river in Berlin.