On Friday, July 27th, our Managing Director, Brian Hashimoto, will be making a 60 mile pilgrimage on his bike from New Haven, CT to the birthplace of FullStop: the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. This is in support of our upcoming show, CAUSE OF FAILURE, and its themes of heart health, transplant awareness, and coping with people with heart ailments. FullStop’s Director of Marketing and Outreach, Christine Drew Benjamin, sat down with him to get some insight on what this entails…..
CDB: The first question might be a little obvious, but curious minds wonder… why are you doing this?
BH: I mean, why not? Right? I cycle regularly anyway and love being on my bike, and I have been wanting to do longer rides. Also, I’ve been wrestling recently with a need to do things that make a difference and not just to say I’ve done them. I’ve been urging myself to do epic stuff, and I feel like I need to also do it so that I’m reaching people, saying something, furthering a dialogue, etc. So then I had the idea of cycling to the O’Neill and then it struck me, “do it for a cause, you dummy!” And this cause is very worthwile and close to us here at FullStop that know Megan and the journey she went through with her own mother. The show has a lot of insight into the world of healthcare and all of its absurdities, but perhaps more importantly it’s about the family that has to rise to the occasion and help those who are affected by these terrible afflictions.Which is why we’ve partnered with Help Hope Live, which is an organization that helps support patients and their families waiting for organ transplants.
CDB: Ok, but 60 miles? Are you ready for that?
BH: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can handle it. I’ve done 60 miles in a day before, but I also had a long stop in between, napping on the beach. This is the first time I’ll be going straight through with as little stopping as possible, except to hydrate and tweet, of course. I’ve never done this ride before, so it will be interesting to see what happens. I hope the hills aren’t too crazy. But the route is mostly hugging the coast, so I’m hoping it’s pretty scenic. And 60 miles really isn’t that long. I need to work up to 100 miles a day or more.
CDB: Why 100?
BH: Because the more I think about it, the more I really want to do ride my bike across country within the next couple years, and in order to do that I need to be ready to ride 100 miles a day and do it for a few consecutive days. If I’m practically going to live on my bike for a few months, 60 miles is relative chump change.
CDB: How does someone prepare for this type of exercise?
BH: Really, “just get on your bike and ride”, to quote Freddy Mercury, haha. Seriously though, I’ve really made my bike my main commuting option in New York. I really only take the subway in the summer time when it’s pouring or I have to run out to Brooklyn after work and don’t want to ride back late in the dark. I think I’ve ridden the subway a small handful of times in the past couple months. With daily commuting, I average probably 10 miles a day, which isn’t much really, but then I’ll ride downtown on errands and out to Brooklyn on the weekends on slightly longer rides. And then when I have a free day on the weekends, I’ve been trying to do a long cycle day. I’ve cycled out to Rockland Lake up the Hudson River and back (about 50 miles round trip), out to Red Hook and back (about 30 miles round trip), and then a couple trips out to Rockaway Beach (60 miles round trip).
CDB: And you do this by yourself?
BH: For the most part, yes. I’ve had a couple friends join me for parts of the longer journeys, fortunately, but I’ve done the Rockland Lake and Rockaway rides completely solo before.
CDB: How long are you on the bike by yourself for those trips? And seriously, what is it like to be on the bike for that long, without conversation or music even?
BH: The Rockaway Beach ride is about 2.5 hours each way, so 5 hours total on the bike on that trip. This one looks to be between 5 and 6 hours. For me, it gets to a really zen point at times. Maybe not so much when you’re going up a huge hill, or at the very end of the ride when you’re fighting just to keep your legs moving and cursing every slight incline for making you work harder at that point, but it’s an incredible mental slate-cleaner and really becomes somewhat addicting to a degree, just to be out by yourself traveling with the wind blowing by. It can definitely be challenging at times, though, especially being in a city where you are often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of interpersonal contact you have on a daily basis. But being from California and having a love of the silence that comes from being out in nature, I find it a welcome relief. Of course, it’s always nice to have a fellow rider, if only to keep you from talking to yourself like a madman….
CDB: You’ve totally done that, haven’t you?!
BH: You go up a steep hill that’s a mile long and see if you don’t start talking to yourself and cursing the universe, haha! I mean….. no, never….
CDB: Right…. So what do you need to do this type of trip? Can someone like me who hasn’t ridden a bike in years just pick up any bike and go for it?
BH: Well, I’m sure anyone COULD pick up any old bike and do it, I mean anything’s possible if you set your mind to it, I believe. That said, you can make your life a little easier in certain ways and prevent unnecessary injuries and fatigue with certain equipment and clothing. And also, like any demanding physical activity, you want to build yourself up properly and get your body used to it. If you get on your bike and try to go for 100 miles on rough terrain, you might be able to do it, but you might also injure yourself if your body isn’t ready for it. In terms of gear, I used to have a folding bike to get around in the city, but going out to Brooklyn on it got to be very tiring and I started to realize I needed something better designed for longer rides and carrying more gear. So on a whim back in the spring, I up and got myself a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike (awesome name, right?) which is specifically designed for going long distances (like, literally across the world kind of distances) and carrying copious amounts of equipment. Once I got that I started going everywhere. Then, once I started going long distances, I started to find a need for specialized clothing like padded shorts for relieving stress on your rear, gloves for keeping your hands from going completely numb for days afterward (it happened once), and cycling shoes for the same purpose (FYI, Toms are NOT a great shoe to wear for long rides, trust me). Then I have waterproof bags and such for keeping stuff dry in case I get caught in the rain. There’s tons of specialty equipment out there for this kind of stuff. I’m slowly building up my equipment stash. Next on my list is a tent and sleeping bag for doing a multi-day cycling/camping trip.
CDB: That all sounds awesome!! And expensive…
BH: Yeah, I definitely save up for things and add them on periodically, but this is also serious cycling I’m getting into. Good, high quality gear costs money no matter what hobby or activity you seriously get into. Between cycling and photography, though, I don’t think I could have picked two more expensive hobbies, haha. But I’m passionate about both of them, so it works out fine for me.
CDB: Well, I know we all wish you the best of luck on your upcoming journey and we’ll be following your progress!
BH: Thank you!
As a reminder, we have a campaign going for CAUSE OF FAILURE with IndieGoGo. Please check it out for more information on what we hope to obtain by producing this play and how you can help. IndieGoGo Video
FullStop is also proud to announce its partnership with Help Hope Live, an amazing organization that provides resources and support for patients who are awaiting or recovering from organ transplants. Transplantation is a long and costly process; and many crucial expenses are oftentimes not covered by insurance. Help Hope Live helps bridge that gap, and is making a difference in the lives of patients and their families all over the country. In keeping with the themes at the heart of CAUSE OF FAILURE, FullStop will donate 10% of our box office proceeds to this important organization. You can learn more at the link below, and purchase tickets at http://www.fringenyc.org/basic_page.php?ltr=num.
Thank you for your support!