Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

Two ways yesterday was good

All right, cats and kittens, so yesterday was a pretty good day. I spent the day in NYC and managed to roll together two unrelated appointments, both of which I consider easily worthwhile.

The first was the more fun, but I won't get into too much detail about it. In a nutshell, my sister, because she's all professionally Disneyfied, got some passes to an early sneak preview showing of Tron: Legacy. Good times! I'm only going to talk about it in general terms, but overall I just want to say that I was in no way disappointed. I was a really big fan of the original film, and I'm quick to admit that I had high expectations of the sequel. And by that I just meant that I expected to have fun, and I did. Legacy served up plenty of nods to the first film, but more importantly was a concrete, clear (and not just spiritual) successor, even nigh-on 30 years later. I can't deny that there was perhaps a time or two when the movie kind of jumped off the rails, nor can I even pretend that there wasn't a lot of cheese involved. God, was there cheese. But I like to think that I took it in the vein in which it was intended, and I found the overall experience a very enjoyable one. I'm not saying it's going to be up for any Oscars or anything. I'm just saying that, as an unwavering and unapologetic fan of the first movie, I have no hesitation in giving Legacy a solid two thumbs up. Rob-approved! So there was movie, and it was good. Afterward we enjoyed a little diner nosh and conversation, and we went our separate ways for the evening.

My separate way took me to my second meetup for the day, which was with kawaiiryuko to see a man about some wheels. So...apparently James ended up in possession of a bike that was semi-abandoned by its previous owner who moved across the country. It was offered to me after the break-in in which I lost my bike, though try as we might, we hadn't been able to arrange a convenient hand-off until yesterday. And let me just say..."convenient" is actually stretching the term a bit.

Firstly, it was apparently quite a chore to get the thing into the City at all. This part of the tale isn't really mine to tell, but in summary, basically attempts to bring the bike to Manhattan (where we were meeting) met with all kinds of resistance from various public transportation institutions, so ultimately it had to be unexpectedly driven into town in a trunk and left in a parking garage. That aside, James was actually still deep in the old salt mines when it came time to meet up, so there were shenanigans around that part of the meetup, as well. Anyway...eventually we got everything worked out, and I took possession of the bike. And that's where my part of the tale comes in.

So let's take a small trip back in time where I was conferring with metalepticfit about transporting bikes between Philly and NYC, which he has done on a couple of occasions. Generally speaking, my go-to service is BoltBus, and Jeff explained that transport has never been a problem; the bike can just go underneath with other baggage. He also said the experience was similar with a Chinatown bus he's used. So, yay, I figure I can just pick up the bike in the City and bus it back to Philly. On this particular trip, though, upon reviewing my ticket options, it turned out that Greyhound was actually offering me the best ticket prices to the tune of like five or six bucks, so I decide to, as they say, go Greyhound.

Fast forward to that night when I'm preparing to leave NYC to head back to Philly. I get to the Port Authority Terminal, bike slung over shoulder, and I realize that since I normally don't take Greyhound to Philly, I'm not sure where to go. I stop by the information counter to get my gate number and the time of the next departure. They tell me, but it's quickly followed by, "You know you can't take that bike, right?"

Exsqueeze me?

What follows is a confusing and thickly accented explanation that I can take the bike, and it indeed can go underneath with the baggage, but it has to be boxed up first, and I have to go visit the other counter, which deals with packaging. Okay, that's fine. So to the other counter I go, and I explain the situation. The guy tells me that there's no one around with a key, whatever that means, and that he has to go get a supervisor. I start trying to figure out what my options are.

"So can't the bike just go under the bus?"

"No, it has to be boxed up."

"I'm not worried about it being damaged. It's not ridable. I don't mind if you just throw it under there."

"You want to get rid of the bike?"

"What? No. No, I want to take the bike to Philly. It just already needs work, so I don't care if it gets damaged."

"I need a supervisor. He has the key."

All right, fine...keys must be had, I guess. Time passes, and the supervisor appears. A cardboard bike-shipping kinda box is dragged out and presented to me. I re-start the conversation with the supervisor about how bad this box is needed, since I now find out that this "requirement" is going to cost me ten extra dollars. Eventually I'm told that the box is needed not necessarily for the bike, but to protect other people's luggage. Now...remember this is NYC to Philly. I know that this is not a trip where people tend to pack very heavy.

"What if there's an empty compartment? Can't the bike just go in there?"

"Well, it's basically up to the driver. This is just to Philly, right?"


"... I give it fifty-fifty."

Well, frankly, I didn't like the odds, and the clock was ticking before I was going to be sitting around there for another couple hours, so...boxing it was. The original guy started helping me tape up the box, and he tells me I'm going to have to take the front wheel off.


Well, not having expected any of this, I of course didn't have any tools on me. So the dudes in packaging started rummaging around, and they thankfully came up with an adjustable wrench, so I got to stripping the bike down into parts. It turned out that it couldn't fit in the box unless I took off both wheels, so I did that. And then it turned out the pedals were causing trouble, too, but by then I was like, "Fuck this!" *crunch* and I just forced the damn thing in there and we all proceeded under the unspoken agreement to ignore that what I ended up with was less a box than it was a misshapen lifepod-looking contraption made out of cardboard and packing tape. I hastily magic-markered my name and destination on the side and hauled ass to my gate, trucking around this packaged mass that's basically now the same size as me.

The trip itself was basically without incident, if crowded. Upon arrival back in Philly, I reacquired my package and walked about five feet out the door of the bus station before deciding that there was no way I was carrying this monstrosity for the hour-long walk back to my place. So I just plopped down on the sidewalk, opened my crate up, and reassembled the bike right there. :) Now...even if the bike had been in working condition when I left New York, there was no way in hell I was riding it back home in Philly after reassembling it without using tools. :) Hand-tightened bolts are not a recommended riding configuration, friends. In fact...even just walking home wheeling the bike alongside me, the front wheel popped right out of the fork three times, and one of those was right outside my front door! I couldn't even be bothered to reattach it at that point; I just staggered back in the house with the bike in pieces, still toting the cardboard box, now flattened, folded, and tucked under my arm. Quite an adventure in transport, everybody.

So a couple things in wrap-up. One, it so turned out that Greyhound was not at all worth it. The savings I eked out on ticket price were completely reversed because of the "packaging fee" or whatever that was that I had to pay to take the bike back with me, knowing that I could have taken it on BoltBus or some other service for free. Two, I do actually want to make it clear that I don't really bear Greyhound any ill will from that situation. I understand the policy, and the dudes in the packaging place were actually really helpful to me, considering the circumstances. So thanks dudes in packaging for being cool, but it's sadly it's not enough to absolve Greyhound of the raw economics of the situation, which pushes me away from their services if I've gotta have a bike with me when I travel. So...there ya go.

Aaaaanyway. I'm happy to report that I eventually made it back home safe and sound, and now I've got bike potential to play with. I'll get to the bike in more detail later on; it looks like a nice setup, but it needs work before it's usable again.

So that was my day. Today I'm basically doing nothing. :) So it goes. Peace out, everybody!
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