Day 160-204, 18Dec08 – 31Jan09: San Francisco. Part 4: Critical mass, Ivana’s B-day party and friends
Though my knee was still painful, I could cycle slowly again. It was time to move on, and leave our new home for new adventures down the road. We invited our new friends for a dinner in a cosy Lebanese bar to celebrate our departure and Ivana’s b-day the next day. But first we had some other cycling to do!
San Francisco is the birthplace of the Critical Mass. It is a monthly event where hundreds, maybe thousands of cyclists group together and ride through the city, reclaiming the streets from the cars that have no other choice that to wait until all the cyclists have passed
It is a great event and I urge everybody to join the Critical Masses, in SF or elsewhere. It is not just to make a firm statement, but also a great way to see the city, without being bothered by cars and red lights.
Besides, it is a big party with all types of cyclists, music and general fun. It was Ivana’s best B-day present and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
Saying goodbye on Ivana’s B-day
We had to hurry back though as we had a party appointment! Adriana had picked the nice place with relaxed people and Lebanese snacks as well as fruity hookahs and even a belly dancer!
We had a great time and though many people could not make it to the the last minute invite, we were happy to spend some of our last hours in SF with our new friends.
New and old friends, thank you for making San Francisco our home
We met many new friends, some of them (Mitch, Adriana, Gerard, Kourtney & Brian, Fiona & Jeremy, Kim & Nate & Jessica & Mikelanjelo) are listed on the “1000 Americans” category, others whom we did not capture with our cameras we owe just as much.
We could write full page stories about each of them, but for now here are some simple thank you’s
- Thanks to Kristan& Rhasaan for opening their house in Oakland and showing us Berkeley as well.
- Thanks to Jan and Wandralee for opening their house and giving us time to relax and re-organize. Jan is off to to the ride from SF to LA for Aids, she is a brave and strong woman!
- Muchas Gracias to Barbara & Ramiro, who invited us for a wonderful dinner in their new home twice! Ramiro never forgets his roots and makes great empanadas.
- Thanks to Yaffa and her roommate, who shared their house with us for a few nights.
We even met some old friends again, some we had met earlier on the trip, others we had met many years ago.
- Colie is the coolest chick we know, she is just great, and it was wonderful to spend New Years Eve with her in snowy Truckee!
- Alison was busy as ever, still it was great to see her briefly, the 4th continent we met on! Thanks for letting us borrow your car, we would have missed Colie & Yosemite otherwise!
- Many thanks to Bradley & Saskia, it was great to see you again after nearly 10 years! Thanks for letting us guard your great house, twice!
- We saw Louise again and this time she brought her husband Brian as well as her kids, it was great to see them; thanks for the great Thai lunch!
- Barry dropped by for some lunch, just before he started his bike trip across the US, heading for Florida. Meanwhile he has returned, read his reports here.
Thank you all, more than words can express, for making San Francisco a special place for us.
Next report: on the road again, off to LA! how will the knees hold out with the Devils’ Slide, Big Sur and many more challenges ahead? Tune in next time, same channel, unreliable time 😉
21st July, a long and tough B-day party!
I went to sleep at the Arctic circle age 37 and woke up being 38, great place for a b-day. The road that Ivana had spotted had a name, which is always bad news. It was called the ‘Beaver Slide’ which could be pleasant in different contexts, but in our case it meant 3km of steep uphill cycling at a 10% grade. The asphalt had ended, so we were back on mud and gravel and the returning rain made it even more difficult.
The rain and hills did not stop all day but still we were in a good mood. Just when we thought we had enough hills, we entered the area which was called ‘The Rollercoaster’ and it deserved its name. We had been warned beforehand by some people as the big trucks cannot slow down on these hills and cannot avoid us well. In order to get up the next hill, they have to go full speed down, else they will not make it.
Well, on a fully loaded bike you cannot go down at full speed as you will break it, so we usually start braking at about 50km (30mi)/hrs speeds when on the mud and gravel as there are potholes everywhere. This means that we cannot make it back uphill, and many times we had to get off the bike and push it up.
Just when I was pushing my bike on part of the Rollercoaster, called the Sand Hill, I noticed something moving on the side of the road and I stopped pushing. A large dark brown shape swiftly crossed the muddy road, some 20 meters/70 feet in front of us. Read more