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Monday, October 16, 2006

Bike fun observed--SF, SC, LA

Mural on Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

In LA, gas stations are for bikes?

Another chicken mural, this one is by Echo Park, LA

The obligatory tall bike with hippie, Santa Cruz
I'm in Los Angeles right now. Yep, I've made it! (Some) details of the trip will be forthcoming, but first, reflections on bike fun in cities!

I made it to San Francisco in time for Critical Mass back on Friday, Sept 29th. Despite having lived in the Bay Area for a time, I never had a chance to participate in the mass. I showed up to Justin Herman Plaza at 5:30 and watched the crowd gather. When we left there was easily several hundred people. We headed up Market Street and then looped around SoMa. The mass attempted to take the Bay Bridge via the Transbay Terminal, which I didn't think was particularly a good idea (and yes, they did get thwarted), so I paused and talked with a guy who was up from LA for the Bike Film Fest. We rode around the Financial District for a bit and then managed to find the ride. From there we headed up the Embarcadero up to ultra-touristy Fisherman's Wharf to give those tourists a good show. We also took over the Broadway Tunnel for a bit. The sound of several hundred cyclists roaring through the tube (along with someone playing Twisted Sister's "I wanna rock") was awesome!

The Bike Film Fest was going on that weekend and I managed to catch the last program on Saturday. The feature: B.I.K.E., a film (loosely) about the New York Black Label bike gang. I thought it was ooo-kay, but way too long.

Next stop: Santa Cruz. The next Friday (Oct 6th), was their weekly Mystery Ride. Me and Dr. Wasabi raided his closet for RenFaire outfits, because the theme of this ride was medieval. The ride met up downtown on Pacific, a couple dozen assembled. We cut through town, had some "medieval" type of "tourneys" thrown in the mix (like a damsel rescue off the railroad bridge that the Lost Boys made famous) and ended up by the railroad tracks in the westside of town, where guerilla Drive-In presented more bike films: Caravan/Prague, about a bicycle caravan from Berlin to Prague in 2000 to protest the World Bank/IMF meeting (pretty good), and, um, B.I.K.E. Again. Didn't stick around for that one.

Another city, another Friday night. This time Los Angeles on Friday the 13th, for their monthly night ride, Midnight Ridazz (although they depart at 10pm). This ride was pretty big, easily a couple hundred people. Though folks were saying that the summer rides got up to 1,500 people. 1,500! Apparently the little rain that happened earlier in the night scared some folks off. The theme of the ride is a bit different than Portland's Midnite Mystery Ride. Rather thanride 5 miles somewhere hidden to go drink (what we do in PDX), the ride was almost 25 miles long and lasted four hours (!) It went pretty fast too, but there were several stops. It was loads fun because we basically took over several big and famous boulevards. The best was when we rode down Hollywood Blvd through the heart of Hollywood. And we also took over a gas station at one point (which i should upload the photo from) (and you can see photos from earlier on the trip (up to Eureka) here ) We ended up at Echo Park around 2am where a hip-hoppedty type combo (villain City) put on a small show in the back of a U-Haul truck! 

Saturday night was a Spoke'n'art ride. About a couple dozen of us rode around the Highland Park neighborhood and went to art galleries. I consumed lots of chips'n'salsa, wine, and beer. Too much, because i had to leave the afterparty at the Bike Oven (a DIY bike workspace in someone's garage) fairly early to go crash. And what's next? Who knows...


  1. Shawn,

    I had no idea you were such an avid biker! What a great ride! I hope you are planning to write a zine about your trip, maybe with sketches, like Jeff Zenick used to do.

    Larned Justin
    St. Louis

  2. What's next? You come see me, that's what! I'm excited! Lots of fun stuff this weekend!

  3. granton,

    sounds like an excellent adventure.
    i agree with larned, cuz u have the ability to draw stuff u see and do. damn lucky.



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