The night before the event, just as I feared, I had some envelope-stuffing business to take care of that tied me up until almost 2 A.M. Someone I know rode in the tour before and told me that as long as I had the vest, via mail, that was all I needed. There won't be any registration on the day and there will be so many cyclists chances are the start time of 8 AM can be safely ignored. It was my first ride, so against better judgement I still got up at 6 AM and got to the start line, or actually, about half a mile from the starting line, around 7:30 AM. Sure enough, I wasted about an hour just milling about.
I don't know what motivating speech Cousin Brucie gave the cyclists but by the time I got to the stage on Church Avenue, a few blocks south of Canal Street, there was no one left on the stage. There was a handful of cheerleaders somewhere on Church Avenue. I spent a great deal of time in front of Syms - "An educated consumer is our best customer", that Syms - and there was nothing entertaining around me. Many group cyclists had cute or recognizable helmet accessories, like BMW hood ornaments, flowers, or tin-foil antennas. Someone tried a wave once and it didn't last too long. There was no one from the Tour around to make us stretch or chant silly songs, just something to while away the time.
The one entertainment we got was from a PoleRider. It is a combination of pole dancing and cycling, or pedicab cycling, to be exact. Say you are good at pole dancing but want to be known outside of your house. Have someone pedal the bicycle while you dance away on the pole, on whatever streets the bicycle goes. Kinda weird for my taste, but it was entertaining while we waited. At first, from far away, I thought it was just some girl bored with the long wait and decided to use one of the traffic poles on the street to show off her skill. When we started to inch forward, I noticed that the pole also moved slowly with the flow. Close-up, I learned that the pole was on a pedicab of sort. Definitely the right place to advertise the merchandise!