Something’s happening at the fountain - cyclists, hundreds, riding in circles, whooping out nonsense, cracking cold Rock Stars, wailing on kazoos. Tall bikes, long bikes, loud bikes, bright bikes, all zipping around in an absurd whirlwind, blasting Michael Jackson, howling at the moon.

“Let’s go,” someone cries. “Let’s hit it! We’re gone!” And just like that the mass splits west, pours through Balboa, roars its way out. A galaxy of red LED supernovae weaves through the warm San Diego night. The cops are waiting as we amoeba onto sixth. “Stay to the right!” Sirens moaning like cat sex.

Stoplights cringe at the sight of us.

Someone cuts left on University. Five others go right and the blob abides - kinetic democracy without a word. At the west end of Hillcrest a transvestite does the splits on the street corner and waves. Cars honk their horns. Pedestrians cheer.

Through North Park, then, hooking south on 30th, drinkers at Bluefoot yipping like coyotes. South Park arrives in no time. Bells, horns, and boom boxes announce our arrival. Families gather on their lawns. “What’s going on?” some ask. “Jesus is back! 2012!”

At Grape and Fern an old man glowers from his truck. “You should be walking!” he suggests, portentously. We slide through a residential block and a fat man bellows from his porch, “Why are you breaking the law? Everybody HAS to obey the law!” We shatter his reality with an easy evening ride.

Down Broadway, don’t stop! Keep pedaling! No brakes! Fixie kids skidding fiercely left and right. We violate one way streets and the cops intercept us, radio chatter saying, “We’ve got ‘em at 7th and G.” The Hare Krishnas welcome us at 5th and Market, chanting wildly, bald craniums glistening in the night.

“Why are you doing this?” an amused tourist asks. No time for small talk, but why indeed? Are we Communists? Satanists? Anarchists? A$$holes? Some of us, maybe, but that’s hardly the point. Like any true congregation, we have as many ideologies as individuals - the environment, awareness, power to the people, renegade mirth, art, community, controversy, rebellion. To blow your effing mind! We are ‘cuz we can, and so can you!

Get a bike, love, and we’ll see you soon.

We hit Harbor and the group circles up, hundreds of cyclists spinning pedals in the crossroads. Drivers lean on their horns, but nothing happens. We have obtained critical mass. “Let’s go,” someone yells finally. “Out!” We soar up Harbor Drive, brute whoops rolling across the water, downtown shimmering like a Fritz Lang daydream.

The airport! A sonic bicycle bumps James Brown through the terminal. A BMX kid wipes out on a curb cut, bleeding profusely from his skull. “Welcome to San Diego!” someone shouts to the bemused, irate new arrivals.

Over the bridge, up Nimitz, across Rosecrans, down to Voltaire, into Ocean Beach. A few cyclists file into a liquor store for tall cans. Half-eaten burritos get salsaed in the street. Up Sunset Cliffs, west on Mission Bay, north on Mission Boulevard, into Pacific Beach. Some riders break off for bite at the tavern. Others disappear, carrying bikes to the sand.

Lovers embrace on Crystal Pier, smiling. No one asks why, but their eyes shine the answer.

We are ‘cuz we can, and so can you!

Comments

SDaniels Feb. 28, 2010 @ 4:26 a.m.

"...cracking cold beer cans, puffing on doobs.

[...]

A hundreds cyclists file into a liquor store for tall cans. Half-smoked spliffs reignite in the street."

Ok, Origami, you are probably about to experience a s***storm.

Let me be the first to plead, as someone who has ridden with CM, and would like to see some good come of this practice:

Let the hyperbole rest elsewhere. On this site, CM riders have an extremely bad rap, as just what you describe. Angry reactionaries already really do think that 100 cyclists are filing into the liquor stores to refill on malt liquor to go with their spliffs, so as to emerge ready to hit cars with their bikes and one-finger salute tired, held-up drivers.

For the record: A FEW riders end up drunk and belligerent. Most are polite, concerned with safety, and with spreading the message that we need more dedicated lanes for bikes. I rode for a reduction in auto traffic, too.

Otherwise, in this piece I had a sweet, carefree romp, summoning up some of the feelings I had whooshing down a Washington Street, empty but for the sound of wind against narrow metal and voices raised in extreme pleasure at that fact. ;)

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Origami_Astronaught Feb. 28, 2010 @ 1:53 p.m.

Good thought, SD. SO much contention surrounds CM. Emotions run high on both sides. Mass is not about getting totally crunk and being a jerk - it is (to me) a statement about bicycle awareness, reducing auto traffic (as ya say), and the power of a community with a cause. The contraband amplifies the playful, outlaw aspect of mass, in my eyes. But right you are. I'm gunna go head and edit down the hyperbole.

Angry motorists, commence with the hate speech. :-)

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PistolPete Feb. 28, 2010 @ 1:58 p.m.

CM reminds me of a nerdy version of Hell's Angels.

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SDaniels Feb. 28, 2010 @ 2:23 p.m.

Origami, you're a gentleman and a scholar! I am honored that you would take my plea into consideration.

As for angry motorists, gee, I know you ride the bus, Pete, but that's all you got today? Couple of months ago, you were ready to join a group of Keystone wannabes to throw rocks and tacks!

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SDaniels Feb. 28, 2010 @ 2:25 p.m.

Yeah! Nothing like a cold Rock Star and kazoo wit my CM ride, yo!

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PistolPete Feb. 28, 2010 @ 2:57 p.m.

I still despise CMers. They act like they're so oppressed. I've been a bicyclist, a driver and a user of public transportation. Each one has it's drawbacks. Bicyclists get killed because they're morons. Now they want to throw temper tantrums and act like douchebags in the guise of education. I hoipe some motorist gets fed up with the a**holes and becomes a martyr by killing a couple of them. Violence doesn't solve anything but it does lend a voice...

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PistolPete Feb. 28, 2010 @ 3:40 p.m.

I refuse to ride a bike on land that wasn't meant for human inhabitation.

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SDaniels Feb. 28, 2010 @ 4:14 p.m.

"Violence doesn't solve anything but it does lend a voice..."

Whew! There's our Pete, now, back with the quoteable goods.

I'm going to stitch this one onto a decorative pillow. ;)

"Bicyclists get killed because they're morons."

That's one reason cyclists get killed or injured. There are morons out there, no doubt about it. There are also plenty of moronic drivers--you know, the ones other moronic drivers are shouting at when not road raging against cyclists?

But there are also these things called blind spots, and cars and bikes tend to get into each others' blind spots, and it isn't always someone's fault.

That's the whole point. We need more dedicated bike lanes, and areas where cars are no longer allowed. Pave a big portion of downtown off for walking and cycling only. No one likes driving the alphabet and numbered streets anyway. Then gradually build in some lanes along scenic drives that are more protected from traffic. One thing that CM demonstrates each month is that cars and bikes just don't mix--and don't care to have to look out for one another. So separate them out and give cyclists a protective divider.

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Adam92102 Feb. 28, 2010 @ 4:44 p.m.

Re: #8- But Pete, you'll walk on it or, possibly more environment killing, drive on it (and yes, riding a bus counts in that arena)? Should we all invest in hovercrafts? And if your answer is it wasn't meant for humans inhabiting it, how did we ever get here? To further that question some, if we evolved from monkeys, that makes us animals and, well, what does it matter how we transport ourselves around town? Besides, haven't you seen a monkey riding a bike before? Kinda cute, I say.

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MsGrant Feb. 28, 2010 @ 4:48 p.m.

I went back and read oragimi's link that I commented on back in 2008. Since then, I have been intentionally side-swiped by an a**hole in an SUV going down Torrey Pines on my road bike. This guy looked me right in the eye. Back then my point was that the SDPD would use any excuse to take down a group that goes against everything that they stand for, which is blind obedience to their uneducated stance on all things progressive, because they do not support it, or even understand it. I came across as sounding like a supporter of the vehicle drivers, but what I really meant was that the car drivers did not come out with the intent to create havoc, whereas the CM riders did. The drivers of the cars just happened to be at the wrong intersection at the wrong time. My concern at the time was also that CM riders would incite the ire of the SDPD and they in turn would use the lack of organization as an excuse to open fire. I also did not do my homework. I support CM's intent. Public awareness is a huge concern for all of us, because so many remain ignorant of the actual cause, and react accordingly. I have been a driver during a CM run, and I opened my windows and cheered them on. I just wish they would be a little more careful. Having encountered a person who wanted to run me off the road changed my mind about a lot of things. People in cars are dangerous and it's very easy to say "I just did not see her".

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PistolPete Feb. 28, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

First off, I'm a flatlander. The hills out here are a reminder from Mother Nature. This part of the country was meant for God's animals-not us humans. Mountains, earthquakes, no rain, wildfires...need I go on? Didn't think so.

Second, the CMers are going about educating the public VERY wrong. Like I said, someday someone is going to pull a "falling Down", pull out his 30 ought 6 and blow about 20 of these stupid f*s away. You want to educate the public about something important to you? Do what I do-talk to them. Education doesn't involve being an ahole but CMers think it does. I touched on this subject when Rev. Fred came to town not too long ago.

You're also very correct, SD. Alot of bicyclists are killed by drivers too stupid to get off their phones. It's too bad the bicyclists can't get over their Earth-friendly way of life and learn how to drive like most normal humans. Either way, s*** happens, life's a bitch and then you die. Anyone other than myself a fan of the Spike show, "1000 Ways To Die"?

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