Getting Lost

My first city experience was when I interned for a TV production company in Boston for a summer in college. I knew nothing of Boston except for a few stops on the Red Line. Suddenly I found myself being sent to all ends of the city on foot, by car, driving the company van, and even by borrowed bicycle.

Getting Lost

At first I was overwhelmed  and terrified of not knowing my exact route. But then I discovered that getting lost was no big deal and learned to embrace it. I loved having an adventure.

Now that I mostly bike around the city, I try not to get intimidated by unfamiliar places and keep the same sense of adventure. I just take each street it as it comes.

Getting Lost

And I skip the ones I really don’t want to take. After all, on a bike I can just hop off onto the sidewalk.

Sometimes when I get lost I discover things that I would miss entirely in a car…

Getting Lost

…And I then I stop and eat them.

Getting Lost


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  • David February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Sounds like a great attitude.

    Enjoy the ride.

  • John February 16, 2012   Reply →

    HA! If you’ve never gotten lost in Boston, you’ve never BEEN to Boston. :-)

  • Edem February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Awesome! Love it.

  • Lovely Bicycle! February 16, 2012   Reply →

    OMG I want cake!

    The last time I got lost in Boston I discovered a tiny beautiful neighborhood that I haven’t been able to find since. I keep trying to get lost in the same area, but to no avail.

    • bikeyface February 16, 2012  

      That’s the opposite of my experience. No matter where I’m trying to go I always end up in the same square that somehow has 5 one-way streets feeding into it… and none going out.

    • Marianna February 16, 2012  

      I’ve been there!

    • Sarah February 16, 2012  

      I wonder if you’re thinking of Bay Village which is a tiny, beautiful neighborhood of 19th century houses between the South End and the Public Garden and Chinatown–kind of hidden. Definitely worth seeking out!

    • Lovely Bicycle! (@lovelybicycle) February 16, 2012  

      Wow could be, will have to check it out! I stumbled upon it when I got lost trying to walk somewhere from the Prudential Center. This was a few years ago now.

    • cycler February 17, 2012  

      I bet Sarah is right Velouria- that was my first thought when I read your comment.
      It’s mostly residential, and is squeezed between the pike, the south end, and chinatown/ the theater district.
      It’s really worth checking out for real, but there’s not much to do except check out cute houses.

  • cycler February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Zen navigation is the key to getting around Boston. You just have to meditate your way in the right direction, despite the twists and turns of the road. And getting lost a couple of times makes you know the neighborhoods so much better.

    I’m gonna call you though- I ride through that intersection with the statue and the curved pediment all the time, and there’s no store with cake there 😉

    • bikeyface February 16, 2012  

      I know, originally it was going to be more a joke image about multiple road intersections but then it evolved to cake so I “Hollywooded” it a bit.

    • cris February 16, 2012  

      “And getting lost a couple of times makes you know the neighborhoods so much better.”

      When I first started to get the hang of navigating the city, I’d randomly make myself take different side roads just to see where they’d go or if they would lead me to where I thought I might head to. More than half the time, I’d get lost and circle back, but there have been some magical moments where it’s like you’d find some interdimensional wormhole shortcut; but it’s really just coming to understand how so much of the city isn’t based on square grids, but triangles and ovals.

      I also used to believe that the only way I could get to Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline was to make random right turns in Coolidge Corner, no two of which were ever the same.

    • April February 21, 2012  

      Pfft. I do not get to know neighborhoods better by getting lost. I just get….more lost.

      My sense of direction is appalling though.

  • Jim Duncan February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Ms. bikeyface, your talent and whimsy are incredible. For sure. Thank you for sharing it so generously.

  • Steve February 16, 2012   Reply →

    We now know bikeyfaces kryptonite.

  • anniebikes February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Ayup, cake and coffee will do it for me every time! As a matter of fact I route my ride to include a stop at a coffee shop. I’m not proud. I’m food motivated, just like most of the bike riders that I know.

  • Vocus Dwabe February 16, 2012   Reply →

    You will have realised that one of the many advantages of riding a bicycle as opposed to driving a car is that if all else fails, you can always turn back into a pedestrian and negotiate obstacles pushing the thing – or if even that doesn’t work, hoist it onto your shoulder and climb flights of stairs, use lifts (elevators?), go across stiles, shoulder through hedges or even wade shallow rivers as I’ve done once or twice in my career. Also you’re travelling much more slowly and have better all-round vision, so you tend not to get lost quite so easily. I always find that carrying a small compass hung round my neck is a great reassurance.

    No need to apologise for the cake: for a regular cyclist even the most calorie-packed foods are permissible. Fruit cake; bread and dripping; malt loaf; pemmican; smoked whale blubber; you name it. A great traditional cycling mainstay here in the UK was always lardy cake; something so laden with saturated fats and sugar that for a non-cyclist a single slice of it would bring on an immediate heart attack followed by Type 2 diabetes.

  • Michael Blackmore February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Love it.

    Oddly enough, people always ask me directions because I look like I know things.

    Even down to several times being in a new city and being asked within hours of being there for directions (and each time weirdly enough I knew exactly where they were looking for and could direct them!)


  • Charlie February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Oh man, so true about the roads near I-93. Pick the wrong one and you’re headed towards the highway with no other options! That must be the Traveler St Bridge going westbound in the drawing. Once I was trying to get from South Boston to Back Bay. I crossed that only to find out that I couldn’t go straight under I-93 and had to go right onto an elevated road (over the rail yard) that feeds to I-93 but also goes to Stuart St near South Station. It didn’t have a sidewalk but it did have a wide shoulder, and I saw no signs prohibiting bicycles, so I rode on. I was really worried someone would honk at me but no one did!

    • Charlie February 16, 2012  

      Oops I meant Kneeland St not Stuart St.

  • DAN February 16, 2012   Reply →

    Yaay Cake!

  • Tyler February 16, 2012   Reply →

    I love wandering Boston (on foot). I’ve never managed to get REALLY lost, but I did accidentally walk from the Financial District to Harvard Square!

  • Johan T February 16, 2012   Reply →

    With a GPS you can both see where you are and mark out the good cake shops. Just remember to take it off your bike when it is unattended.
    The big + with them though is that you can go out exploring pretty much anywhere and still get back home somewhat within an expected time frame.

  • Jean February 24, 2012   Reply →

    Ah yea. If you get lost in a hilly city, as long as you can do enough hills while lost and get back home…along the way. But stop at a nice cafe to rest. 😀

  • Opus the Poet February 24, 2012   Reply →

    Finding a coffeeshop that isn’t a $tarbuck$ in my town requires a bicycle, and a sense of humor. We have a sign ordinance that is biased against operations that don’t have nationally-recognized logos, and most through streets have a 45 MPH speed limit which limits your ability to look for signs that are set back from streets as much as 100 feet and limited in size (except for those chain stores that somehow get a variance for larger signs closer to the street).

    We are trying to get buildings placed next to the sidewalk with parking in back, so that locally-based businesses can compete with the chains, as well as reducing parking so that stores are not so far from each other and everything else.

  • Nathan Daniel March 15, 2012   Reply →

    You sounds like great adventurous person and that’s why I like you. Keep it up dude. :)

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