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Magic still happens!

Critical Mass last night, a very crisp and clear night… no, really, it was freezing! But being in San Francisco that’s not really so cold. It was a very exuberant ride. Something was in the air, who knows what? The crowd built up slowly at Peewee Herman Plaza before sneaking out the ‘back way’ into the Embarcadero, and went a whole block southward before u-turning to the north. Thus began one of the best rides in memory, 800 or 1,100 or who knows how many, but it was characterized by a dozen moments when many people collectively did the right thing(s)… from the creative beginning to the occasional stopping at intersections to allow folks behind to ‘mass up’, to the circuitous turns and twists, through North Beach, down to Fisherman’s Wharf (where a scuffle between a FtM tranny pumped on testosterone defending his car was defused in smiles and humor by everyone, even the scufflers who seemed to realize how ridiculous it all was, or so Joel tells me)…

This bus, going “Nowhere in Particular”, was stopped cold in the midst of the ride on Bay Street, the driver relaxing behind the wheel… clearly some pro-situ had programmed the sign somewhere long ago…

Back through downtown, around Union Square and on to Polk gulch, then, crucially, a surprising and wonderful left turn on Pacific to avoid the vortex of the Broadway Tunnel (people have compulsively gotten trapped in the tunnel for months now) where we went thumping through Pacific Heights on a new route (my favorite moment was when Jino’s sound system suddenly had a rockin’ Balkan tune animating our progress through the haute bourgeoisie, a taste of the global pulse of real life against the staid, fearful castles of the super rich), turning left on Fillmore, then out California to Divisadero, all the way up Divis before another surprising turn on Hayes to Scott when we ended up doing the wiggle eastward… which is how we came to be going east on the Duboce Bikeway, where I shot this video and these pictures:


Eventually we ended up on Valencia as usual, and before long, everyone had vanished into countless house parties, bars, restaurants, etc. Ahh, life in San Francisco! Sometimes it’s just so good… I had at least a dozen conversations last night with folks I’d never met before, plus another dozen with old friends too, all amidst my usual bell tinkling…

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5 Responses to “Magic still happens!”

  1. 1
    Dennis:

    Great that the Broadway tunnel was overlooked this time, and the new route thru Pacific hgts rocked. Cant wait till next Critical mass.

  2. 2
    Rocco:

    Chris-
    Nice seeing you at CM. What a wonderful ride it was. And even more special for me since I am misplaced in Orange County for the time being. I rode all day long in San Francisco ahead of CM. I will post some pictures (not as good as yours on my little blog) in the coming hours, maybe days!

    Rocco

  3. 3
    BikeSummer!:

    Happy to hear the ride went so well.

    Here is some fun stuff everyone can enjoy:

    The Where’s Waldo of BushCo.

    http://bikesummer.org/CanRAND.html

  4. 4
    russell:

    FYI: Broadway Tunnel

    I spread the word Fri. night about a tactic that the motorbike cops used in last month’s CM:

    They geared down in the tunnel, grouped up, and smoked us all out with their exhaust! It was horrible, full of coughing and failed attempts to scoot past the gauntlet. NO ONE wanted to go around a second time after that, so I was glad to see the ride move on.

    An NO tunnel this past Friday was good on the stress levels.

  5. 5
    hedgehog:

    I saw about 100-150 riders still going with the music when I left work just after 9 in the financial district. It looked great. I was about to join in when the pretty girl I had just picked up on the back of my bike got her high heel stuck in the spokes, leading to one of those slow-motion collapses onto my side — and her butt — that is funnier to watch than to be part of. By the time we were upright, the remains of the ride was gone.

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