Posts Tagged ‘pedestrians’

You Needed A New

January 27, 2016

Cog.

Huh.

I never would have guessed that.

And in my own perverse little way.

I am a little proud of that.

I have ridden my bicycle so often and for so long that I basically had worn down the teeth of the rear cog and that was why my chain was slipping and my crank wasn’t turning.

Brava!

I mean.

I have had the bicycle for three and a half years.

But the last two years, living in the Outer Sunset, bicycle commuting to the Mission five days a week, putting in over thirteen miles a day, usually 14, sometimes 15, why, of course I had worn out my cog.

Damn Gina.

The shop also fixed the flat and actually replaced the tube for free considering that there was no evidence on my tire that I had punctured it, fault lay with the shop and they took care of it promptly.

It was nice to have my wheels back under me.

Especially after the shared Uber ride into work.

My God.

I don’t mind the sharing the resource, I don’t mind going out of my way a little bit to get from here to there–I like to think of it as taking the scenic route.

However.

I am scent sensitive.

No shut up.

I’m not being a fucking pussy about this.

There are two smells that really make me feel like I am going to vomit and I got both of them today.

The first was from an middle age woman with a bad bed head do and an obvious hangover.

The smell of alcohol was not so bad, yeah, I gagged a bit from it when she turned and asked if she could recline the front seat, um, ok?

But it was the smell of cigarettes.

Deep, dirty, skin yellow, brown in the wrinkles of the fingers, nicotine stained.

It was like driving with a sack of formaldehyde.

She reclined her seat, put in ear buds, popped on her sunglasses and fell asleep in the front seat.

The second passenger, though much more dapper and clean, was not a bouquet or roses either.

Nope.

He was a big smelly sack of raw onions.

I mean.

Fuck.

It was like he’d just eaten a raw onion sandwich and then shoved a few shallots under his arm pits.

I was like.

Dude.

The window went down and I got some fresh air, but it was a tasty ride.

So different to be on my bicycle, in the dark night, whistling through the Pan Handle, the rich smell of just turned dirt and the bark of eucalyptus trees.

The smell of evergreens in Golden Gate Park.

And the spot, the one spot, close to the De Young Museum, where Fenugreek must grow–the delicious smell of maple syrup always wafts out at me from the bushes, I invariably think about bacon, the skillet breakfast at a O’Malley’s in Waunakee where the family would go every once in a while for a Sunday breakfast, and waffles.

I could ride back and forth that little bridge a 100 times just to get to smell that again.

But I am too concerned with getting home, the whisk of my pedals beating the air and the sound of the waterfall splashing over Storybrook Crossing keeps me company.

A few critters, who though did not smell as bad as my companions from this afternoons ride, nonetheless, were not to be messed with.

A big rambling raccoon, that startled me in the grass as I turned onto Chain of Lakes and my front light hit his masked face.

And the dog, wait, what the hell, that dog is going to get schmucked crossing Lincoln, I should stop and scoop it up and.

Oh no.

That’s not a dog.

That’s a skunk.

I whipped past and watched the little critter scurry into the underbrush.

Lots of critters out and about.

I thought, as I rode, about how long I’ve been riding my bicycle, riding bicycles in general, in San Francisco.

I have bicycle commuted from the Mission to jobs in the Mission.

I remember, with much fondness the five minute commute I had for a year and a half when I worked at Mission Bicycle Company on Valencia and 18th.

I lived at Folsom and 23rd.

It was such a sweet commute.

I have commuted from the Bayview to the Mission–Palou and Third to 18th and Alabama.

I have commuted from Nob Hill to China Basin and Noe Valley.

I have commuted from Nob Hill to the Mission.

You may see a pattern here.

I do a lot of work in the Mission.

I have commuted from the Outer Sunset to Cole Valley, NOPA, and the Castro.

But the commute I have now, is the longest.

I also, briefly, for a few months when I was in transition and staying out in East Oakland (EAST not West, thank you very much) commuted from 51st and International to North Berkeley.

Yeah.

Like that.

I had some interesting rides.

The prominent scent was not Fenugreek however.

Although it did have a sweet, sickly smell to it, it was not a natural smell.

Nothing says good times like rolling through the valley of crack and prostitution on your way to nanny.

I have ridden a bike up to Twin Peaks.

I have ridden more than one century–that’s a 100 miles–though not for a while now.

I have ridden through parts of the Bay View that I don’t even think people now exist.

I have seen things.

I have been seen as well.

I whistled at a pedestrian about to walk into the street against the light as I was crossing Divisadero on Fell Street.

“Whoa!” He said, “thanks!”

Then, without much thought, he said rather loudly, “holy shit! You’re beautiful!”

Thanks man.

That’s always nice to hear.

Can’t say my ego minds.

Most of the time, though, it’s just me and the bicycle and my thoughts, which fortunately are usually not too loud, I’m in my body when I am on my bicycle, even when the knees hurt and the hips are a little tight and my bag was heavy with stuff tonight, I am in my body and alive.

It really is a gift.

I love my bicycle.

I really do.

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Death by Machete

October 6, 2014

And other adventures in bicycling.

It was a bit of a shit show out there tonight as I was heading in towards the Mission from the Outer Sunset and the calm environs thereof.

Well.

Not really calm.

Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass was all weekend and this morning it was shockingly loud.

I thought at one point that I was hearing Tom Waits and I realized it was just so loud, distorted, and warped from traveling through the last bit of trees to my ears, that it sounded like a loud, belligerent, drunken Tom Waits performance this morning in my house as I was writing.

I was amused.

And I was not going anywhere near it.

Yes.

I had a tiny touch of FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

However.

I also wanted to have a relaxing day and I had some projects and plans that needed attending to, its honestly much more important to me to have my food prepped and ready to go for the week then to battle out the drunken pot soaked crowds at the festival.

San Francisco does like a good festival.

Or street fair.

Castro Street Fair was also today and it seemed that the benevolent weather was going to charm its way into San Franciscan legend with the warm sunny sunshine.

Although.

Should one stand still enough.

Or.

Should one be a long time San Franciscan resident.

One knew.

Or at least I knew.

The fog was coming.

I could feel it on my skin as I head out to do some of my grocery shopping today.  I still get quite a little thrill that my bicycle commute to get groceries happens to be along Great Highway, right along the Pacific Ocean.

The beach was packed.

I hadn’t plans to attend to anything at the beach either.

Again, too many people.

But, so pretty to look at and as I said, really a scenic little route to do my errands.

The pleasure of living in San Francisco struck home again and again today and over this past weekend as well.  I am really lucky that I get to live here.  I work hard and my life is fairly simple and the trade-off is that I live in this gorgeous jewel of a city.

It’s not the same city I moved to twelve years ago, but then again, I never thought it should be.  I actually like a lot of the changes I have seen in the city since I have moved here.

Some things not so much, I think MUNI fares are too high and rents are totally ridiculous, but I have the option to live elsewhere and I don’t so I don’t reserve the right to bitch about the city.

It is what it is and I am just grateful to still get to be a part of it.

Even, when I almost get hacked to bits by a machete on my bicycle.

The bicycle commute up Lincoln was a little crazy.

When I normally ride, in the morning, I don’t have to be too concerned about the traffic being intoxicated, I mean for the most part, there have been a few times when I thought some one was out of their skull, but really commuter traffic is what I am used to and it can be uncomfortable, but there’s usually not a lot of foot traffic or pedestrians.

Not so today with the last day of the festival happening in the park.

Folks on foot galore.

Moms and dads and strollers full of kids.

Skateboarders.

Dirty hippy kids with dogs.

Man with machete.

I saw him popping around in between cars at 20th and Irving and I couldn’t quite see what was happening, but there was a large machete be wielded, a lot of lank brown hair in dudes eyes and a general look of not being entirely present to the world that made me extraordinarily cautious as I moved up the block.

It was a baby coconut stand that dude had put up on the corner of  20th and Irving by the pedestrian cross walk.

The light changed and dude walked out into traffic swinging his machete, picking up a coconut at the same time to hack into pieces.  Except he wasn’t paying attention to the traffic, and all this hair was in his eyes and god damn that’s a big knife.

The thought passed in my head.

“That would be a funny way to die.”

Uh.

No fucking thank you.

“BICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLE!”

I hollered out.

I couldn’t swerve much to the left, there was traffic right next to me proceeding into the intersection.

He saw me at the last-minute and dropped his knife down.

“Thanks!”

I called out, my heart in my mouth and then I just laughed.

Only in San Francisco.

I made my way up Lincoln and then I actually took Oak Street all the way down to the Lower Haight.  I refused to go on the bike path through the Pan Handle.  There was a huge back log of bicycles waiting for the light to change at Stanyan and Oak and I decided to flit through on the road instead of the bike path.

Which was a veritable mess of bicycles, dogs, strollers, old people out for their after dinner constitutional, bikes coming and going both ways, joggers, and roller bladers.

I felt safer on Oak Street with the traffic zipping past then I would have on the bike path.

Then as the dusk was turning gloamy and purpled I spun through Church and Castro Street then dropped down to 17th hit the bicycle lane onward to the Mission and down to 24th and Florida Street.

At one point I was on 22nd and Alabama and I saw the old Bodega I used to buy six packs of Sierra Nevada from and it’s been renovated into an upscale craft beer and wine store.

I chuckled.

I avoided a few doors on cars popping open and made it to my destination.

A good hour of getting the deal and then a hop back on my bicycle and the ride in reverse.

Except this time.

I took the park and the fog was here and it was a carnival of breakdown happening from the festival as the last drunken dregs meandered out of the park.

I zipped a long.

The fog rich on my face, warm, wet, misty, thick with love and sea salt goodness.

My God I love San Francisco, I thought as I rounded the last turn on Lincoln at 46th Avenue and floated through the mist towards my little home.

Machete wielding madmen and all.


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