The wacky misadventures of the SF->Google/south-bay bike commuter gang
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
5D5W: 9/14 Joe Gross 6:30 RRR
Editor's note: Yours truly was remiss in not posting Faye's hilarious & compelling account of Day 1, which is herein presented.
Bueno Serra. Not sure about anyone else, but I didn't sleep a wink due to excessive consumption of chocolate cake while watching Breaking Away and, of course, anticipation of the first day of 5 days 5 ways. I made it to ritual in good time to caffeinate before rolling, and acted on some strange impulse to get a tea instead of a proper machiato- inausipicious decision that no doubt contributed to my flats later on. Trinh was already present and Brian Kemler and Brett Lider showed up shortly followed by Ted and maybe Eric. Everyone else straggled in later... even later than usual. Our fearless leader looked particularly dead with his eyes rolling back in his head as he consumer his small coffee. A complicated flat repair was taking place outside... Mike G. was riding his Felt and went through a good 3 inner tubes outside of ritual. I went out to ask if he wanted a coffee, and encountered Shoumen on his folding bike in sneakers and running shorts! This did not stop him from motoring up the grades on Mission at break neck speed, however. Space arrived with amazing blondies and beautifully and individually wrapped protein bars (that I did not sample due to their healthy sound). Who would have thought he could top that salted chocolate layer cake, but the blondies were just amazing. Anyway, we started off with 15 riders, I think, including Scott, Brian, Trinh, Theo, Space, Jim (on fixie), Xton (on fixie), Eric (on fixie), Brett, Yoyo, Shoumen (on folding bike), Ted, Mike, Mark, and me (on Creamy, my beautiful creamsicle bike). I think we hit about every possible light as we slowly made out way up Mission and somehow to El Camino. On the stretch of road before Colma, land of the dead, Scott authorized me to "attack" or as I prefer to think of it, try to take the pace up a notch. Just as I thought we were rolling at a decent clip, I had my first flat. For anyone who was not there, on Friday, I got a flat just before the steepest part of tunitas, so I thought I did my time! Grr. Anyway, the flat was annoying, BUT the scene around it was definitely the highlight of the ride for me, and I sure wish someone got some photos... as I yelled out that I had a flat, there was this mass frenzy as no less than Mark, Ted, Xton, Theo, and Space with encouragement from a few others rushed to fix it. It was an impressive scenewith tire levers, pumps and tubes flying everywhere and I felt like a Very Important Person with a harem of flat fixers. I was informed that my tires are crap and told to get new ones pronto.
Anyway, we continued down El Camino stopping and starting about every 75 meters and with a few stares of wonder and comments of encouragement or alternatively explicatives from drivers on their way to work. Soon after we hit the side streets that Parallel El Camino, my tire went flat again. Everyone very dutifully and politefully waited and I was very grateful. Xton and Space again fixed the flat, with Xton transferring a metal splinter from the tire to his finger. After that I was really paranoid that my tire was flat and kept touching it to check at every stop sign. I thought for sure I would be relegated to the caltrain and 5 days 5 ways would be over before it began.
The ride continued in the same vein... stopping and starting and stopping and starting with us hitting about every possible red light. We rode through the old race track- a wider space with no cars where the fixies decided to race each other. Not surprisngly, Xton won that little sprint. When the construction noise did not drown it out, I noticed the impressive noises Mike's bike was making. The sun was shining and it was pretty warm, and despite our very late rollout and my 2 flats, breakfast at No Name remained within reach.
After turning off of Middlefield in PA, we re-grouped to wait for the folding bike and Yoyo, and debated invoking the 4-k rule on Bayway. The invocation was overruled and we continued on at a civil pace. Brett Lider was particularly dilligent in calling out all of the turns and the moment at which we needed to down shift to make it up the pedestrian bridge on 101. The bridge was slippery as hell and I almost bit it, but I made sure to be behind everyone so that I could hide any evidence. With breakfast in sight and miracle of miracles, no lights, we cruised at 23ish mph down bayshore, with Shoumen spinning so fast on the folding bike that he looked like a wind-up toy, but managing to mostly hang on to Scott/Mike's wheels, and were rewarded with victuals and sun at Google.
Having been told repeatedly what crap my tires were, I plotted my immanent trip to SB to get new ones (done!). Aside from a couple of tubes, no casualties that I know of on this ride, and an entertaining and light hearted start to 5 days 5 ways.