Monday, August 3, 2009

Over 1,200 Celebrate Bicycling on July 31 Critical Mass

Over 1,200 cyclists showed up to ride in San Diego's Critical Mass on Friday July 31. As the stream of cyclists exited the westside of Balboa Park I was able to race up to the near-front and, like the sociology-nerd that I am, stood on the corner and counted 962 cyclists. Approximately 200-300 people were up ahead of me. Therefore, I am standing by my claim that, on the latest Critical Mass, (962+250=1212) over 1,200 cyclists (kids in trailers included) participated in San Diego's most popular, human-powered, sustainable, zer0-emissions, and free monthly-tradition.

And what a night it was! July 31st's CM was easily my favorite CM ride of the year. The route was reminiscent of the classic, old-school routes we used to frequent throughout 2006, when the average monthly turnout was 90 people. With 1,200 people en masse, the group started out going north on 5th Ave from Bankers Hill to Hillcrest, made a right on University, a left on Normal St. and connected with Park Blvd. to ride into University Heights.

The speed of the ride started w/ great pace; faster than the average CM speed, and managed to maintain that pace throughout the approximately 25 mile ride. In addition to the above-average speed of the ride, the group was able to maintain an excellent flow around corners and through intersections, while only making one main stop.

The ride took a right on Adams Ave. and headed east down Adams from University Heights to Normal Heights. The group then made a right on 3oth and continued riding south from North Park into South Park. As we zig-zagged through South Park we connected to Date St. which becomes Golf Course Dr.. Riding Golf Course Dr. had a funnel-effect on the ride. The density of the group increased and the speed of the ride slowed down as a result. The slow speed around Golf Course allowed other riders to catch up w/o having the entire group come to a complete spot. This was one of the reasons why the ride was able to remain tight.

Speeds naturally picked up as the group entered the downhill section of Golf Course Dr. The group made a well executed right turn onto 26th street where speeds further increased through Golden Hill's lone forest. The speed of July's CM ride, in addition, to it's excellently lead route made it 2008's most rollercoaster like ride, and as a result, my favorite.

The ride headed into Downtown along the bay near the Star of India. As we were riding down Harbor Drive I saw an old friend of mine who used to frequent rides back in 2006 and 2007. He said to me, "Dude, did you like that route or what?!" I responded "Yeah man, that was an awesome route. Reminds me of 2006." And he said, "haha, yeah, I was up at the front!" Turns out that the route, so far, had been lead by an old-schooler. That would explain the "locals-only" knowledge of the South Park urban grid. Dude's got bic control!

We continued to ride down Harbor Dr. through Point Loma, and stopped briefly at the intersection in OB nearest People's co-op market. From here, we rode the ramps into Mission Beach up Mission Blvd. into Pacific Beach, right on Garnet and then connected Mission Bay Dr.; a nice, clean, fast straight-shot back to Presidio Park.

Overall, an excellent ride, w/ faster than normal pace, positive communication, and fluent motion. Certainly, the best SDCM ride of 2009.

I departed from the main ride w/ a friend at Presidio Park where we nerded out and talked music and previous rides, then rode over to Footdown at Ruby Room for a deserved beverage of choice.

Another good night in SD.

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