Critical Mass Goes Deep (into the southern neighborhoods)
So I’ve been piling up all the photos from my various trips the past month. Before I go into a long sequence of photos in the next post, we had an incredible Critical Mass last Friday night. It was led on an unprecedented route–my congratulations to the folks who made the effort to get the ride out of its rut for a 2nd consecutive month (I rode in the back and had no idea who was out front doing such a good job!). We went south, weaving through the South of Market to pop out on to Potrero and then much to everyone’s surprise, after a long cruise south past General Hospital we did a short jog right and left on 25th, Hampshire, 26th and Bryant to make a big left on Cesar Chavez.
We went south into the Bayview. One of the occasional obnoxious comments hurled at Critical Mass over on our blog or in the always-insufferable SFGate comments is something along the lines of “why don’t you take your ride into the Bayview instead of going through North Beach, the Mission and/or the Haight every month?”Â Well we had a fantastic ride down there, first taking Bayshore Blvd and Oakdale, turning on Palou, south on 3rd Street for a while, and then a big westerly turn on Williams.
With all the online blather about how much people hate Critical Mass and bicyclists, if you rode along on most of our rides what you actually see are hundreds of bystanders smiling, waving, and cheering. Whenever we go through residential neighborhoods we always get a ton of enthusiastic support from people hanging out of windows, clapping and cheering, and little kids get really excited. Imagine how it changes their imaginations to see thousands of cyclists streaming by laughing, talking, playing music, having a rolling party!
After a couple of turns we ended up on Silver Avenue and rode past that weird massive Evangelical College (what’s that doing in San Francisco anyway?) and made the turn back to the center city on Mission.
After going up and over the flank of Bernal on Mission we bombed down the hill and made the turn onto Valencia. I was near home and thinking about peeling off since I figured the ride was heading up to Masonic where that German bicycling tourist was killed a week ago by a drunk driver. I couldn’t quite leave so found myself going down Valencia and suddenly as we passed the Elbo Room and Sycamore Alley, there was some gorgeous brass jazz filling the air. A threesome, probably getting ready to play inside the Elbo Room, was out on the balcony serenading Critical Mass! What a great end to a great ride… one of the best in a long time…