Critical Mass

So, every last Friday of the month loads of bikers  – I mean cyclists but it seems too tender a word – get together in the center of San Francisco for Critical Mass. The idea is that if you get enough bikers then they can take over the city. Red lights, stop signs, mean nothing if you have a few hundreds bikers bunched together. You just keep riding and for once all the cars have to wait for you.

The start is a the Ferry Building on Embarcadero. Bikers gather, there is music and  nakedness is significant.


French Canadian

Lots of people come up to press their case. I liked the lady who suggested that people who snore – sleep apnea – are more dangerous at the wheel than drunk drivers. They don’t get enough good sleep and so risk nodding off.

Don't snore - she'll get you

I have known someone who snored like a sow but seemed to to be fully rested, so I doubt the lady’s  thesis.

6:30 ish and off we go. James who told me about the Critical Mass and his friend Nick are just in front of me. We go straight up Market. I think we are around 200 and we take over as we ride around SoMa past the ball park and back onto Embarcadero South of the Bay Bridge.

They're off

We go all along Embarcadero, through Fisherman’s Wharf. The people having dinner cheer as we go by and the naked guys respond with “Take your clothes off! Ride a bike!”

It is evening, the sun is setting as we head for the Golden Gate.


Our numbers have swelled and there must be 400 bikes in the pack. Racers, mountain bikes, trick bikes, bikes with speakers to boom out the beat, kids on er kids bikes.

James - right - and Nick

Up to the Golden Gate, through Presidio, back along Bay and then I get lost as we pour through the street of San Francisco. We go through tunnels with everybody shouting.

Take off your clothes! Ride a bike!

Then we are  in China Town and at about 8:30 I chicken as  I recognize Market and thus a way home. I leave James who continue s with the rest. Up Market, through the Wiggle and I get home at 9:00.

No anger from the cars that are blocked, great  camaraderie, sunset and then full moon over the city.

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