Darts at the Map

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Back in February I bought a bike off an old friend. For a while now I’ve wanted a travel frame, something with S&S couplers. I travel a fair amount for pleasure, and occasionally for work. So having a ride that doesn’t require my full scale Evoc case was enticing. I came to learn that my good pal Chewey had a Surly Trucker Deluxe in his family, and was willing to let me take custody. That bad boy will break down and fit in a case that complies with the airlines’ 62 linear inch bullshit.

purdy little mutt ain't she?
purdy little mutt ain’t she?

Just over a week after I took delivery of my new two wheeled companion I was discussing its future with someone at the bar. And I made a comment that my acquaintance took some issue with. Something to the effect of “….I can take it on work trips. Or just throw a dart at the map and bring a bike along. No big fuss.” Despite it being a turn of phrase his response was, “Who does that? Nobody literally throws darts at a map. That’s a silly phrase.” Obviously I meant that I could tote the bike along on random trips despite their intended purpose. I found this to be an odd sticking point, however I didn’t know the guy too well so I let it slide.

But, as it happens, I’m a cartographer by trade. Yes we still exist. It’s not my official title but I deal with maps and make them quite often. So the whole map thing had me thinking. Fuck this guy, let’s throw darts at a map. Let’s take a completely random trip and see what we find. The idea being that we can be dumped in an unfamiliar city with nothing other than our bikes, and we’ll find ourselves a good time. Dirty, Chewey, and Kerry Coldhands were on board. We have a crew.


I threw together a simple map of the US, highlighting cities that have an international or regional airport. Yes, I probably missed some. If you’re into the science behind the goofy shapes they’re voronoi polygons. Essentially the area inside each polygon is closest to that city. I grayed out all of the Four Corners states and California. It’s too familiar. We need something out of our element. Austin and Minneapolis are also out of the running since some cronies in those towns are tagging along.

The rules were simple. Three darts were thrown, each by a different, appropriately drunk individual. The three cities pegged by the darts were then put into a hat. And a fourth individual blindly selected our destination. Nobody going on the trip had a hand in the process.

Last Friday we gathered at our neighborhood clubhouse to check-in for this year’s Squealer. Our local Easter Saturday race. So I figured it would be the perfect time to decide our fate.

Corpus Christi, TX
Corpus Christi, TX

Dirty thought it would be a great idea to let our resident bartender Justin pick someone random from the bar to throw. So he shuffled in this drunk older German woman. Perfect. She couldn’t for the life of her understand why we were asking her to throw a dart at a map. After struggling to hit the board twice she eventually landed a shot. Corpus Christi, TX

Meridian, MS
Meridian, MS

Next, Asian Bob’s girlfriend took a toss. Meridian, MS

Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati, OH

Finally, Doubleday threw with purpose like he knew what he was doing. Cincinnati, OH

Final bracket
Final bracket

And there they were. Corpus Christi, Meridian, and Cincinnati in the finals.

And the winner is....
And the winner is….

We put the cities into a hat and brought the lottery to Justin at the bar.

See ya soon
See ya soon

And just like that, we’re going to ride Corpus Christi. The Texas Riviera. The Real Windy City.

Probably in the next couple months. Nothing like summer on the Gulf Coast. Where’s the coldest beer? Best bike shop? Anyone know of a good strip club?

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11 Replies to “Darts at the Map”

  1. Pingback: Darts at the Map | PEDAL CANTON

  2. Padre Island has good beach riding and an acceptable assortment of charachters

  3. Damn….I wish I had the balls to do something like that. I travel like a little girl.

    Good luck Men. I salute you.

  4. Anyone know a bad strip club?

    How you plan bike rides is pretty much how I plan my life. All important life decisions should be made with whimsy.

  5. @fair weather cyclist

    Lots of bad titty bars out there. I remember my late bro and I went to one and paid the dancers to go away so we could drink in peace.

    You need to get out more often.

  6. Again, I ain’t been around that much. Just living the dream in Appalachia. But iff’n ye wants ye some titty bar and ye be close to I-81/I-70, I reckon a hookup might could be done.

    You DID say y’all can ride a bike AND drink shine?

  7. When you make it to Corpus, take the public transportation out to Port Aransas. Shorty’s Bar. Maybe not cyclists, but your kinda people.

  8. There is no doubt the game was NOT rigged. No how, no way would Corpus Christi be the answer to the Ouiji question, “Where do I want to ride?”

  9. Matagorda Island Wildlife Refuge. Just a little northwest of Corpus Christi. An island you have to boat(or float) to, lots of old jeep roads and the remnants of an old air force base. Supposedly mountain bikes are the best way to explore it, always wanted to go check it out, could be fun, bring some fishing poles!

  10. CC is ready for y’all. Hope y’all are ready to drink. I know some good spots to kick it.