Intro Lesson: Graffiti has many connotations, good and bad. Our riders mentioned things like art, expression, illegal activity and vandalism. All true. Graffiti is the oldest evidence of human expression and it can refer to anything from scratches on a rock to elaborate masterpieces of aerosol art. This trip explored some of the recent works around Rochester that are part of the “Wall Therapy” public art project.
Word of the Day: graffiti (Gr. graphein: to scratch, scribble, write or draw)
Every Cyclopedia ride is its own adventure, and this one proved no exception. We were happy to be joined by two first time co-leaders: Jess, who had been looking forward to meeting us, and Ms. Koralee, who woke up this morning not thinking she’d be going on a bike ride. But it’s good they did as we needed some extra leaders on wheels to get the group together and to guide us home.
The spirit of Cyclopedia is experiencing Rochester’s communities and neighborhoods and nothing exemplifies that spirit better than running into long-time supporter John Curran working on another neighborhood improvement project. We took that unscheduled break opportunity to check on Shanna’s bike which seemed to be having a little brake trouble.
Back on the road we decided to split into two teams, with Marc, Jess and Kauri leading Momoh, Vanni, De’Quan and Drahai up to the Avenue D graffiti site while Cappy and Koralee lead Shanna toward the Public Market site.
Marc’s team took a tour through our usual haunts, the Mill Street/High Falls district, across the Pont de Rennes bridge to St. Paul Blvd. From there, we enjoyed a short stretch of some of Rochester’s newest dedicated bike lanes to Scrantom St. and the start of the El Camino Trail. A short jaunt up the trail brought us to the Avenue D Community Center (one of teen leader Kaurie Griffin’s former haunts) to check out the artwork of graffiti artists Siloette (San Francisco) and Cern (Queens, NY). From there we headed to the Public Market via Hudson Ave., Cleveland St./Draper St./Central Park, scooting past a nice neighborhood party at Portland Ave. and Draper St.
The Public Market brought the artwork of German artist Case, local Rochester artist Thievin’ Stephen, and Spanish artist Liqen. The kids were able to see the stencils that Thievin’ Stephen used for his mural, and offered him some snacks as thanks for his hard work and creativity.
Cappy’s team cruised on top of the old Rochester Subway and saw some nice graffiti along the barrier walls, not far from Nick Tahou’s. A blue line running down the sidewalk turned out to be something called the Heritage Trail–wonder what that’s all about? Shanna learned to use her gears for going up hills, but something still wasn’t right–Koralee realized her back wheel was having some real trouble and it turns out the axle was coming loose. Yikes! No luck finding pliers at the YMCA, so the three intrepid cyclists started walking west on Main until the other team came to the rescue.
From there it was smooth sailing back to the club. We lucked out with the winning side of the 50% rain forecast and everyone had a great time seeing some great local art.
Trip distance: 10.5 miles , 5.9 miles for Shanna
Programming time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Participants: Drahai Beasley (10), Shanna Dennis (21), Momoh Kamara (12), Vanni Kamara (13), De’Quan Sheffield (14)
Leaders: Koralee Bernardo, Cappy Collins, Marc Lavender, Jess Wygoda
Teen Leader: Kaurie Griffin