Return To San Francisco (Yet Again!)

For those of you who do not know: I now live in Oakland.

Earlier this week I bought a folding bike, and yesterday I took it on Bart underneath the bay and into San Francisco, and went tooling around. Here’s what I saw:

Mr. Breakpoint poses with the folding bike. He rode with me on Bart from San Francisco to Oakland.
Starting off with the bike! My first big ride with it! The seat is a little uncomfortable, but I can probably fix that later.
The first thing I ran into was a Farmer's Market. Mmmm!
Delicious carrots!
I enjoy the name of this farm.
These folks were filming the crowds, so I decided to make it a meta-moment and photograph them filming the crowds.
This guy is on a nine-foot-tall unicycle. I reckon their show makes a lot of money with the tourist crowds.
Touring the city via Segway. Cute, but very ... American. I like the people on the rented bikes better.
This band was performing a very lackadaisical version of "Stand By Me". Blegh!
Birds perch anywhere they like, around here.
Pretty boats.
Lots and lots of seafood gets chomped here.
A neat staircase.
Cable car wires.
A park scene. Look at all those boxy houses! I like the range of pastel paints.
This is used to suspend small boats in the air for pain and barnacle scraping.

The city is so compressed together ... I really like the chaos in the layers.

More layers...
The victorian architecture is fascinating against the wispy clouds.
Another upward shot. I like the sense of space.
From the top of a big hill, looking back the way I came.
Check out that big cargo ship. There's a whole lot of resources sitting here.
This dude is about to go down Lombard street.
Lombard street is very well maintained...
... And very twisty.
Chinatown is awesome.
An amusing city shot.
So many people, doing so many errands...
The mix of textures and color and age is fascinating.
Every square yard seems to have its own character.

I've always been fascinated by the way the buildings seem layered on each other, like they form a labyrinth. I imagine the city as a giant hedge maze in a garden that winds around for eternity.

More of that awesome layer effect. You could make a neat jigsaw puzzle out of this.
I'm pretty sure this is the same fellow who hangs out around Berkeley. He sure does get around. Every 30 seconds or so he would yell out a repeated phrase, ending in, "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!"
A famous building.
My last photo of San Francisco for the day, right by the same Bart station where I started. It's only been about four hours, but I've seen a lot on my little folding bike!
What do you suppose this means?
My haul from the Farmer's Market. (Not shown: A container of delicious hummus.) vCarried it in my backpack the whole time ... it seems to have survived the trip.

Pretty lamps.

Joseph Grant Park Ride

I started this ride late, since I forgot my helmet. Both the helmets I already own are customized for Bike Party, so instead of driving home, I got a third one. I’m LIVIN’ LARGE!

La dropped me off at the top of Quimby Road, and I’d gone no more than 15 yards when I saw a freshly dead snake on the shoulder. It was a big one – about four feet long – and still flexible. I collected it into a large ziploc bag and carried it with me for the rest of the trip, so I could deliver it to Monica at the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. The things we do for science!!

The park was splendid. I paused to chomp a sandwich and saw a bunny hop slowly over the road. Partway down Hotel Trail I saw a series of clustered holes in the road, each boiling over with large black ants, so I grabbed a shot of that. Many flowers were in bloom, and I had a sneezing fit from some of the pollen. Good thing I had a lot of water.

On my way up Highway 130, out of the valley, I caught a glimpse of a frog in my headlight, and stopped to grab a picture. It was slowly crawling across the road, towards the thick bushes on the eastern edge, and the lake beyond. I decided to give it some help, so it didn’t become a froggie pancake. For my troubles, it peed all over me. Good thing I still had lots of water to rinse off with!

Calaveras bike ride

Haven’t been all the way up here since 2008! The air was a bit cold, but it was still a nice climb. This time my bike had the custom cassette on it, so I didn’t have to do any switchbacking, and I took fewer rest stops. Hooray for “granny gear”!

During each ride, there is always at least one especially cool moment, during which I can say, “this makes the whole ride totally worthwhile.” This time, there were two moments.

  1. While pedaling to the top of the highest bend in Calaveras road, the sun oozed out from the clouds directly behind me, low on the horizon, and warmed my back at the same time it bathed the whole road around me in a brilliant yellow glow. I rode on in silence, enjoying this ethereal lighting, and then somewhere way down the hillside in the darkened valley, a cow began mooing very aggressively. I yelled, “QUIET, COW! I’M HAVING A MOMENT HERE!” The cow went quiet.
  2. On the way back down the steepest hillside, I was leaning on my brakes and moving slowly. I passed around a bend and saw a collection of very large birds arranged on the fenceposts at the roadside. Another bird was down in the road, and as I drew near it took startled flight and dropped what appeared to be a ground squirrel out of its claws and into the ditch. I slid slowly up to the birds and halted, and finally got a good look at their heads – withered-looking and bright red with beady eyes. I can’t remember the last time I’d been closer than six feet to a colony of vultures. Before I could sneak the camera out of my bag, a car came roaring up the road and they all took flight.

Actually, there were two additional moments, but I don’t think they can technically count because they happened after the ride:

  1. Getting a nice big hug from Pit Crew La!
  2. Getting a nice big hug from my new friend Erica!
Damn, and now it’s Monday, which means it’s back into the work-zone.