221 Bikes on a Train! (and the largest Boston Midnight Marathon Ride yet)

It seems like only yesterday during that fateful BU Bikes meeting where I proposed an idea for a bike ride after hearing someone mention some friends who were running the marathon route the night before:

“Hey guys, wouldn’t it be awesome if we rode bikes along the Boston Marathon route the night before? At midnight?

And thus, the Boston Marathon Midnight Bike Ride was born. It started innocently enough the first year; From a simple Facebook event, word spread fast, and about 50 friends and strangers gathered at South Station to take the commuter rail out to the starting line of the Marathon route and ride bikes back into Boston. Then the next year, 70 people showed up. Somehow we all managed to cram 70 people and bikes onto the commuter rail cars:

Then this year, I joined forces with the Boston Societies of Spontaneity. You can thank James Cobalt, the SoS director, for helping out with the fancy graphics for this year’s promotional materials:

Perhaps you’re thinking the commuter rail conductors must have almost had a heart attack when they saw 216 people show up this year to South Station to board the last train out to Southborough:

But really, the MBTA was more than happy to accomodate everyone for this ride. In fact, they originally told us they’d happily accommodate up to 150 people and bikes. What we didn’t realize is that this year when we told them to expect upwards of 150 people and bikes they’d be whipping out the double-decker rail-cars on us, and that in actuality, all 216 of us could fit with plenty of room to spare:

All 216 bikes spilling onto the train platform was quite a sight:

The loading process went very smoothly, as we all piled our bikes into the train.

The conductors were even trying to help direct people:

Bikes were everywhere.

In the seats,

in the isles (I spy Scul!),

in wheelchair access spaces (after all, a bicycle is a “wheel-chair”),

and on top of people (where else could you fit a tandem bike?):

Here’s a video clip of me walking through a train car for a headcount.

We had a total of 216 people board the train from South Station. At least 5 more join on later stations, totaling to at least 221 people and bikes stuffed on the entire train. I lost track of how many people we had total when an entire group of riders were waiting at Southborough Station for all 221 of us.

People trickling into the finish line:
Finish Line
Including SCUL:

How’s that for a multi-modal commute?

Jamie, another organizer who helped get Panera on-board with our ride, made this nifty time-lapse of the entire night with her Go-Pro HD:

A huge, huge, thanks goes out to everyone who came out for the ride, Boston Societies of Spontaneity, the MBTA, the volunteers who helped make this as awesome and enjoyable as it was, and the generous foodstuff donations from Panera and Code Blue.

Another year, another Midnight Marathon Ride.

As for me, I stuck to the tail end of this ride, and got to meet a lot of wonderful people. Somewhere in Framingham I was riding with one of these new friends and we stumbled across a lost black and white terrier running in circles on the sidewalk just a few minutes after a driver shouted out of her car window to us asking if we had seen a “black and white dog.” We decided to stop riding and stay with our new canine friend to return him to his owner. Luckily, the owner called the local Police just a few minutes after we called them, and shortly after, the owner met us where we were with her dog and thanked us for our midnight canine rescue-by-bike operation. Just one small and unexpected victory for my Boston Midnight Marathon Ride.

Keep on riding, midnight riders, and see you all next year!

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5 Responses to 221 Bikes on a Train! (and the largest Boston Midnight Marathon Ride yet)

  1. mtalinm says:

    been waiting for the recap – thanks!

    I did this the previous year and should have joined this time too. was planning to ride with the a.m. group but got called into six-flags-taxi duty.

  2. Rick says:

    OMG. Those pictures are amazing. I take my folding bike on the commuter rail several times a week and let me tell you all those bikes on that train is a beautiful sight! I’ll have to come out for the marathon ride next year

  3. Pingback: My New Loves: A Folding Bike and the West Coast | theHumble Cyclist

  4. Paul says:

    Is this occurring this year? Can’t seem to find anything about it.

  5. Pingback: 4th Annual 2012 Midnight Marathon Bike Ride: In the Boston Globe! | theHumble Cyclist

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