A Song and a Story: “Thing of Beauty” #AtoZChallenge


Today’s song by the Irish rock band Hothouse Flowers is pretty and inspirational, and truly a

Thing of Beauty

Back in 1999 and 2000, I participated in the Boston –> New York AIDSRide.  The commitment involved bicycling 275 miles between the two cities over a three-day September weekend (challenging, but doable as I was biking a lot as a commuter at the time) and raising at least $2000 dollars in pledges (much harder, but I pulled it off with the help of my generous family and friends).

The first year, I didn’t do much biking at all as the AIDSRide weekend coincided with Hurricane Floyd.  Instead we were bused to New Haven where we spent the night sleeping in the New Haven Coliseum, after watching Breaking Away on the jumbotron.  The next day, some bikes had been delivered to New Haven for riders to participate in the next leg to Bridgeport, but mine was not among them, so I rode the bus again.  After a night sleeping in a Bridgeport high school, I was reunited in my bike and was able to ride the final 60 miles to New York City on a beautiful, sunny day.

The next year the weather was more agreeable, and I was able to ride up and down the hills of Massachusetts and northeast Connecticut to Storrs where we camped for the night.  The next day was more challenging as the whole route seemed to be a moderate incline with no downhills.  As the sun set, I was picked up by the van for the final few miles into Bridgeport.  But once again, I got to ride into New York City for the grand finale on the third day.  So, I never rode the entire distance from Boston to New York, but close enough.

Over the two years I was involved in the Boston –> New York AIDSRide as a rider, fundraisers, and volunteer, I watched the orientation film several times.  Over scenes from the very first AIDSRide in 1995 of riders arriving in New York, a song played that I absolutely loved.  This was before Shazam, so I had no idea what it was.  But on that third day in 2000, at a rest stop in Connecticut, a crew member at the snack stand was playing a stereo, and I heard this song.

“You must tell me what this song is!” I told him.

“Uh, its ‘Thing of Beauty’ by Hothouse Flowers.”

To do this day “Thing of Beauty” is one of my all-time favorite songs and a reminder of the long bike rides and fellowship of the AIDSRides of ’99 and ’00.


2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story

A: Always on My Mind
B: Baby Come Back and Baker Street
C: Cheek to Cheek
D: Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Doctor Jones
E: Everyday Sunshine
F: Fly Me to the Moon
G: Ghost Town
H: Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe
I: If I Were John Carpenter
J: Jungle Strut and Justified & Ancient
K: Kiss
L: Loaded
M: Marble Halls and My Moon, My Man
N: New York, New York
O: Oliver’s Army
P: The Parting Glass
Q: Qué Onda Guero
R: Rave On
S: The Servant Song

If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:

And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:

And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.

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