Thursday, July 7, 2011

Invasion of the Nerds

Last weekend, Cleveland was stormed by nerds on bikes. The strange sight was not random. It was the first ever nerd ride hosted by Crank-Set Rides, a nonprofit that organizes themed bike rides.

The 180 geeks, dweebs and dorks rode about four miles on Saturday from the Root Cafe in Lakewood to a nerdy dance party in Cleveland.

"People have been loving this," says Lindsey Bower, organizer and co-founder of Crank-Set Rides. Decked out in oversized black glasses, knee high tube socks and pink polka dotted suspenders, she said the group attracted the attention of onlookers wherever they rode. Some just stopped and stared, wondering what was going on, while others pulled out cameras and started filming.

Nerds faced off in a trivia match that tested their knowledge of geeky subjects from Boba Fett to pi at the Happy Dog in the Gordon Square Arts District. Joe Milan, above, out-smarted the other nerds, winning the first round. Milan, dressed in a bowtie, glasses and suspenders, exclaimed that his outfit was authentic. "I didn't have to go shopping for any of this stuff," he said.

After two rounds of nerd trivia, the two winners faced off in a Math-a-thon. They had 30 seconds to do 60 multiplication tables. As the winner was named, the crowd celebrated by chanting "Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!"

Riders stepped outside the stuffy hotdog joint to cool off, even though the temperatures on Saturday rose to the upper 80s. As cars drove by and witnessed the gaggle of nerds, drivers honked and hollered. The nerds all took off at once for their next location, Joy Machines Bike Shop on West 25th Street.

Crank-Set is using proceeds from the $5 participation fee to purchase new bike racks for Cleveland. Its next events are the hot pants ride on Aug. 20 and the second annual zombie ride on Oct. 22.

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