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Midsummer Mass

A lovely ride last night, really friendly, lots of newbies and oldtimers too. Had many great conversations along the way, and rode much longer than I can remember riding for the past few years. We went up Sutter, down Stockton and around Union Square, up Geary all the way to a u-turn on Fillmore (!) which means we climbed Cathedral Hill twice before turning south on Gough. A new pal, Adam, took some great close-up photos of people on the ride, so check those out. Here is a long shot down Gough looking south…

We went down to Market, all the way up to Castro, down 18th past Dolores Park (the usual area where I peel off) and then turned back on South Van Ness and rode all the way north via Polk and Van Ness to a right turn on Green Street… the rumor had gone around that Tony Blair was having dinner at Green and Taylor so someone led us up there, but we never got past Jones and Green so our clustering up there may have been a bit puzzling to all concerned. From there we went back down Russian Hill towards Chinatown, riding down Bernard Alley for the first time in Critical Mass history! woo-hoo!

Eventually made our way through the Stockton Tunnel, past Union Square again, and then turned down Market and rode all the way back to the starting point! Sheesh! People just wanted to ride and ride. At about 8:45 or so, we finally peeled off and went home for dinner. But I heard a few hundred kept going until nearly 10 p.m. A fun night indeed…

Sometimes Critical Mass is such a satisfying experience, socially and in terms of being alive in the city. On the other hand, it can be and probably is for most people a weirdly apolitical experience simply riding and riding and talking and goofing. Fine, but surely there must be something more?… next month some of us are planning a “Follow the Flood Line to FEMA” ride, taking a route at 15 ft above sea level as our future shoreline, commemorating the Katrina New Orleans disaster and highlighting our own inevitable future disasters here in SF…

Meanwhile, if you aren’t already following him, you should be reading Billmon these days. He’s doing a much better job than anyone else of applying the appropriate level of disgust and horror to the barbarism unfolding in Lebanon. We can speculate about it as a prelude to an attack on Iran, but the war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli army are shocking by any measure. Then again, what’s shocking anymore after Iraq and the callous inhumanity that has reduced millions of human lives to pawns in a geopolitical theater of a few old men’s insecurity and fearful state of mind… check out Peter Galbraith’s latest in the New York Review on the Iraq debacle for more on that.

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One Response to “Midsummer Mass”

  1. 1
    Rocco:

    Wow. Those pictures are tough to look at! I just moved to away to Irvine, and while it is not as bad as thought it would be here, I miss the city, especially with two critical masses gone by.

    When you are riding down streets like the one in the second picture, alone or in a group, take it all in! Live it. It is special. Streets like those, so common throughout San Francisco, are few and far between. As much I tried to hold on to the feeling that those streets, that the density, that the architecture gives me, it is not possible. You have got to be there. That sort of atmosphere and the way it makes you feel cannot be recreated or experienced in a different setting. I guess that is what makes it so special.

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