Richard Riehl 2 a.m., March 4
- Community Blog
- Bizzare Tales of the Deep East in Omnivision
The Hare Krishna Late Nite Critical Reality Krush
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!
More like this:
- Sweat equity! Pedal off the pounds on your progressive dinner — July 24, 2013
- Start at the Oceanside Pier. Stop in 3000 Miles. — Dec. 28, 2011
- Tijuana Bike Ride — June 3, 2011
- Pedaling Diego: San Diego's Growing Bicycle Mania — Dec. 29, 2010
- Ollie's Big Bike Ride — Feb. 6, 2008