By Kelly Howard, BCO Event Leader
Someone asked me recently at the Graffiti ride, how does Bayou City Outdoors come up with all the event ideas? Seems like every month there’s new Houston bikes, hikes, parties, dinners and who-knows-what happening!
I can only speak for the BCO events we come up with in the office. The other 80 or so events each month are the dream children of our awesome event leaders — you have to go to one of their events to find out what they have up their sleeves. But, here’s what I can tell you about the BCO events we do:
Something new we started in 2014, and an overall crowd pleaser, is The Graffiti Ride. One day I drove past graffiti that was on an underpass, it was simply amazing. I could not believe that someone had done it with a can of spray paint. I also knew that it would be “cleaned up and painted over” by the road service guys in no time at all. Made me wonder if there was “sanctioned graffiti” in the city, and what I gathered was yes there has to be, because there is an amazing amount of art that can be found in and around H-town. Chamber of Commerce’s, developers, and Metro are all bringing artwork by our local graffiti artists to the fore front. The art demands respect and it’s left alone for everyone to enjoy whether it’s from the seat of a bike, a local walk or maybe the passenger seat of car — be on the look out as you cruise through Houston!
Another ride that I love and have been doing for years (pre-BCO!) is our Farmers’ Market ride. One Saturday, long before BCO, I was riding through Montrose and saw what appeared to be a vegetable sale on a small front porch. I had to stop and see what was up. That front porch was the beginning of the Central City Co-op and the beginning of me shopping by bike on Saturdays. The co-op has grown up, markets have exploded around the city. Almost any day of the week you can find a Farmers Market to check out, they are sprinkled all over Houston. These days, our Saturday ride tends to focus on the Urban Harvest Market on Eastside near Kirby. Between all the local vegetables, there are other treasures like Blue Heron goat cheese, Sinful Bakery vegan goodies, Artisana Breads, Lavande lavender farms, plus tons of more vendors that fill up the locals booths. There’s always a musician playing, food trucks ready, and prepared on the spot food booths — yummy! (Next Farmers’ Market ride is this Saturday, 12/13)
Our Reindeer Romp was a suggestion from one of our members, he told us about a 5k out east he had done that was a fundraiser. Well, I wasn’t going to run, but a romp in the woods on the trails is right up our alley! And, what self-respecting reindeer would be seen without a set of antlers? So, we provide the antlers for a small donation (this year benefiting Memorial Park Conservancy) and everyone else at the park provides the astonished looks when they see 50 people in antlers cruising the park. What’s life without a little silliness and a lot of fun?? (Checkout the calendar — Reindeer Romp this Sunday, 12/14)
I could go on-and-on, but here’s one last event that is always been one of my faves! Not sure how Kayak Polo (aka Kayak Hockey) came about but years ago there was a group of us who were determined to get better at whitewater kayaking. One of the most important skills to have is your kayak roll, the ability to bring your boats back upright when you flip in a river. We were diligent, if not very good. Watching a “real” Kayak Polo game in San Marcos gave us the idea to see if we could find a pool that would let us play in Houston. Mayhem and exercise ensued. We always wear full protective gear; helmets, pfd’s, and elbow pads, so there’s not too much concern for our safety by us. But, to spectators it looks like a dangerous mix of crazy and athletic endurance. We are always careful with people who are new and never get too rowdy if they can’t roll their kayak. I’ll never forget one evening we were playing and Phil paddled up to a new player who was holding the ball. He asked “can you roll” and she replied “yes”. He promptly pushed her over. She rolled back up, passed the ball and came back again and again. We do love a little fun in our Bayou City! (Next Kayak Polo is on the BCO calendar for 1/16/15) Well, there you have it folks. A first-hand peek of how some of my crazy adventures are born into awesome events. See you at something fun soon!