Once we, finally, got to Broadway, it was every rider for themself as we (ok, I) came charging off the dock in a crazed frenzy to accumulate as much free stuff as was humanly possible before getting to work. Unfortunately, I had a hard deadline of 7 am since I had to be on time for a command run (yes, running on Bike-to-Work Day, can you believe it?). With my iPhone in hand, though, and the below map displayed on Google Maps, I had no problem making efficient use of my time.
First, I pedaled hard up Broadway to hit the pit-stop at Horton Plaza. Nice people, but the folks running this organic, etc., juice truck either hadn't gotten the memo that Bike-to-Work Day started at 6 am sharp, or were just the hippy-dippy sorts for whom being on time isn't of much (any?) importance --
Anyway, I got to overhear them talking about juice, but didn't get any myself. Wah! I did get a second t-shirt, though (for bigger little bikeist), a velcro pant-leg-cuff, and another Cliff Bar.
Next it was off to the Civic Center where my buddy Jeff (who rode the ferry over with me and does understand the importance of being on time) was manning the pit-stop where he was handing out sliced bagels and fresh coffee he had purchased himself. What a great guy! Especially enjoyable, though, was getting heckled by the sizeable group of homeless folks who had amassed near this pit-stop and who berated us for riding to our offices to go "kiss our bosses' asses." Some people just refuse to get into the true spirit of Bike-to-Work Day.
From here, it was a short hop to the next pit-stop -- right on the sidewalk on A. I quickly grabbed my final t-shirt ( for littlest little bikeist -- awesome -- 2014 back-to-school wardrobes acquired!), then headed up Fifth to seek out the new bike lane and a pit-stop which promised to have woodland creatures on display!
The bike lane did not disappoint:
Fifth Avenue looks great on its new "diet!" As discussed in my last post, the street "diet" is part of Downtown's new "Bike Loop." When you see these, on the pavement, you'll know you're traversing part of the loop:
It was an absolute pleasure to pedal up the hill in a lane all my own -- downright luxurious even! As you can see, the lane didn't exactly create an instant traffic jam in the two other lanes left for cars -- plenty of room for everyone.
Have to admit, though, that I was, somewhat, disappointed at the "woodland creatures" roaming about at the pit-stop at the Laurel and Sixth entrance to Balboa Park:
Felt a little bit like Sally Brown waiting up all night to see the Great Pumpkin and getting a melodramatic Beagle instead. I was robbed! Where's my Arroyo Toad? Anyway, the folks from the Environmental Org that sponsored this pit-stop were actually quite nice -- and probably the most enthusiastic of any I encountered. They were also knowledgable. As us riders began discussing the new bike loop, someone questioned the placement of the lanes on the lefthand side of the streets. One of the volunteers pointed out that doing so made good sense because placing them to the right of the one-way streets would result in buses constantly coming in and out of the lanes to access stops. No such problem on the left. Nice.
Now it was time for some fun, as it was all down Bankers' Hill from here to work, much of it in my very own bike lane on Fourth. The folks from Sharp actually relocated their pit-stop to Fourth to take advantage of all the bike-traffic in the new lane -- they set up conveniently on the curb on the left side of the street. I said a quick hello there, grabbing an awesome free aluminum water bottle, then flew down Fourth to Ash (which has no Ash trees, by the way, all Jacarandas) which took me to my last stop on Harbor right by the beautiful new Waterfront Park (which has, happily, been teeming with kids from the moment it opened).
I lingered a little at this last stop, chatting with some of the other bike-commuters -- clinging to my last few moments of Bike-to-Work-Day magic. Yes, for one morning every year, The Bikeist gets a rolling festival that feels as though it was created and executed just for me. Sure, Christmas is great, as is the Fourth of July and all the other holidays, but those are for anybody and everybody. Bike-to-Work-Day is much more specific and personal -- a celebration of a profound lifestyle choice I made 19 years ago and that almost anybody can make themselves with a little planning and commitment. Sure, it's not for everybody, just almost everybody. When's the last time you heard a bike-rider complaining about their lousy commute to work? How many regret the time they could be stuck on the freeway or the clogged rush-hour streets of downtown? It's great that us bike-commuters get our own special day and all, but I encourage any of you who drive to work to come on out for the other 364 days of the year to see what all the fuss is about. I guarantee you won't regret it . . .