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Haiku Poets Lead Bikers Through Scavenger Hunt to Knitting Factory Concert

By Meredith Hoffman | August 2, 2013 8:15am
 Haiku clues lead riders through a "secret" scavenger hunt.
Haiku clues lead riders through a "secret" scavenger hunt.
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Poetry at Parties

WILLIAMSBURG — Even if you've wandered through the streets hundreds of times, a cluster of haiku writers, cycling fanatics, obscure historians and electro-pop musicians guarantee to renew your intrigue with North Brooklyn — and to help you get a bit lost.

CyclePop, a BYOB (bring your own bike) scavenger hunt led by haiku clues, will wind its way through the neighborhood next Saturday, culminating in a concert at Knitting Factory. And the artists and organizers involved are scheming intently to lead riders through a quirky maze.

"Riders can expect to find clues in the most unexpected places, poems being written on typewriters, danger, intrigue, and French people!" said Lisa Markuson of the bike tour company Get Up and Ride, which is leading the hunt. "We're incorporating odd history, camouflaged street art...and one stop will involve a French actor."

As for the clue creators — a haiku-pumping pair of friends who run the four-month-old creative venture Poetry at Parties — preparations for the adventure involve writing 120 poems for teams to encounter on their quests.

"We'll provide a sense of direction from the poems while at same time maintaining sense of mystery," said Poetry at Parties co-founder Eric Szentmiklosy, 25, who started writing haiku two-and-a-half years ago as a way to keep in touch with his college friends. "I've never participated in a bicycle scavenger hunt but I've always wanted to."

Szentmiklosy — who met members of Get Up and Ride at Vermont's recent Wanderlust Festival of art, music and yoga — said he typically writes haiku for people right after speaking with them about their lives, so noted that this format would be a change for his company.

"It envelops the entire interaction between us the and guests being written about," said Szentmiklosy of Poetry at Parties' poems, "so each one is so unique."

But even though he's composing the poems before the ride, Szentmiklosy said members of his group will be stationed along the route with typewriters creating impromptu poems.

And Lavalle said the 5.5-mile route will be anything but predictable.

"It's a fun way to explore more of your own neighborhood, and add some competition," said Get Up and Ride's founder Felipe Lavalle of the afternoon contest, which includes prizes. "We also wanted to showcase local art and music while promoting cycling in the borough."