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I held on to the bicycle brakes for a while in stylish San Francisco. The red bridge ran as a belt from the hills while the sea waved as a blue skirt underneath. The houses where slim with mural artworks and carved out patterns on the facades  that dressed the Californian city in a stunning outfit. Its inhabitants were also quite fancy, but during the days of Halloween they all turned freaky and fun. Evil-faced-pumpkins were placed outside of the front doors, scary kids were knocking on them for treats and on the other side of one of them a friend was sowing her own Scooby-doo-dog-outfit. I was standing in a cue on the sidewalk to buy myself a two-dollar moustache.

During one of these masquerade days I was one of the thousands of cyclists who gathered in a pedalling phenomenon called Critical Mass. This movement, which challenges the motored traffic once a month, started in San Francisco several years ago and have spread to big city streets around the world. At its birthplace we were joyful cycling clusters who roamed the streets. At one central crossing a pimped-up-bike with a beating stereo came to a stop, three men in furry banana-suits cruised past the red lights with a gang in plasticbags behind them while two vikings on a tandem bike was blocking the cars.

I get to borrow a viking helmet for myself the following day. Together with my old clothes, new moustache and a used clothing line around my waist I had a complete costume. In the evening I ended up in a parade with fortunetellers, went to a party with devils and met up with the Scooby-doo-crew at a pub. Another night a friend lent me a fake fur and golden scarf for an upscale party in one of the city houses. Inside it was the 1920s with men dressed in tuxedos and women in ballgowns, chit-chatting while the jazz band played. My San Francisco days ended in a Mexican way during the celebration of Dia de los muertos. One of the suburbs were filled with people dressed in feathers or painted as skeletons, in a charming blend of altars, carousels, performances and burritos.

I left the chameleon of San Francisco dressed in my bicycle outfit. And even if I wear silly spandex, yellow glasses and a big helmet it does not feel as if I am wearing a costume. I have started to identify myself as a cyclist and along the road other cyclists that I meet give me a nod of acknowledgment, ride with me for a while or become my camping friends. It is all wonderful, bicycling to the vineyards of Sonoma, to the student dorms of Stanford, to the google headquarter in Silicon Valley, to a home-made big foot museum in the woods and to the aquarium in Monterey.




  1. DreandKnone Sunday, November 15, 2009, at 2:40 AM

    Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im a first time visitor who hopes to become a daily reader!

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