critical mess

sat 29 sept 17:15

critical mass 09-2007

it was friday night, almost 6pm at Justin Herman Plaza, and several hundred bicyclists were hanging out, waiting for the “festivities” to begin.

bike nerds are weird. there were all types: messengers, earth-hugging hippies, all-around freaks, office people, unwashed homeless meth addicts, etc. and each one of them riding some sort of bicycle contraption.

at about 6:20 we started down the embarcadero towards the ball park. then looped around and came back up the embarcadero, and crossed over to market street. we somehow jigga-jogged over to one of the other streets, and then back along market. we cut over along turk st, and rode through the ‘loin. we crossed over van ness, snarling traffic at every intersection.

it was so very childish, but fun at the same time.

i’ve noticed that bicycle folk are very dramatic. they’ll stop directly in front of a car, and purposely (pretend, or otherwise) decide to start making repairs on a tire, or talk on their cell phone, or look in a different direction, so long as they’re not making eye contact with the driver of the car.

during our ride, i noticed that bicycle nerds are very strange. many of them made strange noises: of course the requisite hoots and hollers, and whistles. but some made siren noises. what i heard most were chicken sounds. clucking, crowing, cock-a-doodle do-ing…. one person sang the tune of Deathstar/Star Wars in chicken. like i said. weird.

through hayes valley we went, along hayes st, then a left to continue along octavia green.

i was beginning to feel like i was on an all-bicycle version of the BaytoBreakers

i was wondering if we’d get onto the freeway, but SF’s finest had already planned ahead, and blockaded the on-ramp with several patrol cars and motorbikes.

we continued along market st, and made a left onto 14th or so… and then down to south van ness….

the on-ramp to 101 was also blockaded. we continued along made a right onto 15th street, and then a left onto valencia. you get the idea.

i aborted the mission when i realized that we made a huge loop: valencia, 18th, mission, 22nd, then valencia again, and then 18th again, and then mission again…

i hightailed it outta there on 16th at valencia, and headed to the castro. i don’t know why i chose the castro; it seemed close by, and the likelihood of snacking options seemed high. by this time it was 8:15 and i was getting cold, hungry and kind of bored with the whole situation.

it seemed like many of my fellow riders had done the same. passing by the local bars: casanova, delirium, gestalt, etc. i saw nothing but bikes-bikes-bikes-bikes and hipsters-hipsters-hipsters everywhere. (but… those places always have a high concentration of bikes and hipsters—-critical mass has nothing to do with it!)

was it worth it? i suppose so.

would i do it again? maybe.

[where: san francisco, ca]


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