Critical Mass May 2005

We had our usual splendid ride, probably 1,000 to 1,500 participants, rode south on Steuart into the Embarcadero and did an inefficient but entertaining wrap-around of the baseball stadium, avoiding the dense foot traffic in front of the stadium by taking the shoreline promenade.

Squeezing along the shoreline around Willie Mays Field, May 2005.

It was a bottleneck and it probably lost us a few dozen riders since whoever was at the front didn’t remember to stop and let us regroup for a long time. Going up 3rd Street I heard there was a minor scuffle between a big ol’ SUV and some cyclists, but I didn’t see anything myself. But the ride made its way back and forth north and south for an hour or more, crossing Market several times before finally heading west up the city’s artery, past the still unfinished Octavia Boulevard/Freeway offramp project, and all the way to the Castro. Some circling and bike lifting at Castro and Market was soon abandoned and down we rode to 18th, past Dolores Park and back to Valencia.

When they headed back northward I came upon Danny and we called it a night and headed off to a delicious dinner at Cafe Gratitude. Live food and lively friends… their tables are too big though, so as the roar of the diners rises, the intimacy required for conversation is impaired by the broad tables. All their dishes are named silly things like “I am happy” or “I am grateful” or “I am ecstatic” so there’s always an odd exchange with the waitperson (who this time actually introduced herself and asked our names with handshakes all around!) when ordering. They do amazing things with nuts, nut pastes, fresh vegetables, etc. My favorite thing of the evening was an exquisite cherry cheese cake made of who knows what kind of combo of cashew mousse, fresh cherries, nutty crust, etc. Cafe Gratitude ought to be on everyone’s short list of places to try in this town, especially if you’re of the vegetarian or vegan persuasion (which I am categorically NOT!).

I had several people come up to me saying they’d seen me in the latest Critical Mass documentary “Still We Ride” from NYC. Sounds like a good piece, but haven’t seen it yet myself. The shit continues to hit the fan in New York with the police having taken the law into their own hands in spite of attempts to rein them in by a federal judge. And our pals in Rome staged an “Interplanetary Critical Mass” this weekend, following their usual rambunctious ride through Rome on Friday night past. Not sure how many bicyclists from Venus and Mars made it, but I suppose they’d at least have a clear idea of where Rome is, given its long relationship to those noble planets.

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