Bicycle As Social Tool
Rode slowly to the city last Friday, stopping at Craig & Michelle’s Sausalito apartment. Thirty years in the county, and I ‘ve only had two families to visit in Sausalito; Phil Frank’s and now Craig’s.
Perched overlooking a sharp downhill turn on the bike path, they don’t need a television. Drama unfolds (or explodes) daily.
Craig’s artistic gift (see left) will fuel a flurry of teaching gigs this summer, assuming all the windshields, bike baskets and back pockets I tuck this fine card into yield a one percent return.
The rain never arrived as I crossed a windy Golden Gate bridge. People huddled together, underdressed for the most part…mid-June in San Francisco!
But one couple literally glowed from within…the man was wearing a red leather motorcycle racing jacket with the words “Movie Star” in giant white letters, a proud prince with a black haired princess on his arm.
After thinking about it a minute, I turned back to ask permission to take their picture, and they said of course. His name is Brando (“Like Marlon”) and her name…is (ulp) Siriana or Cymara or… oh hell. It’s a pretty, but it didn’t adhere to my teflonhead.
Then as I skirted the South Tower, a racer-esque pair scooted past, and one called my name.
At the parking lot I caught them, asked how they knew me. Jeff Thrasher (his real name!) and his sidekick, Ilya Kuriakin (not his real name) had driven a bunch of riders for they AIDS ride, and were just finishing a little jaunt before they tried the coffee at the new Rapha cafe in Cow Hollow.
I showed them to Filbert street, and befriended yet another person at the cafe whose name I totally obliterated–she has our pictures on her phone.
Another friendly response to the “Hi, I’m Jacquie, the world-famous washed-up bike racer”.
Picked up the 2,00o boastcards from Rocket Postcard and decided to take the bus. I waited 45 minutes for that baby, thinking, shoot, I’d be pedaling through Larkspur by now….except I had 12 pounds of paper lashed to the Breezer, and 25 miles logged already.
On the bus, two men, a boy of 20 or so sitting in front of me and a toothless skinny guy struck up an across-the-aisle conversation. Within minutes, it was clear the kid was going to some drug abuse program, and the other guy kept making encouraging noises, counseling him not to fuck up like he did. Already incarcerated twice, in prison half his life, picked up AIDS from a methamphetamine needle, and now has to somehow dodge the Man so he can get through parole. He kept describing increasingly desperate scenarios–riding his bike home in the dark, hitting a skunk, and then ruining his wife’s couch with the fumes…then reminding the kid he needed to stick to the Bible, and “find a good woman”.
As the older one disembarked, he gave the kid his phone number, and the boy reciprocated. “See you bro, God loves ya, bro. Call me anytime!”
I feel sorry for people who’ve deprived themselves of the opportunity to have Life being written right in front of them (as the bus bounces along).
For five bucks and a nickel, I’d been duly instructed.