A slowpaced solo SF ride, with pics

A slowpaced solo SF ride, with pics

My partner came down with Covid late last week, and while I never got sick and tested negative twice, we played it ultra safe and I stayed home from Riv until today (Thursday). It was a nice little break actually - I'd work from home in the mornings and ride around the city by myself in the afternoons. We were planning to go to New York at the end of May, but that fell apart so I treated this unplanned quarantine like a half-vacation instead.

On Tuesday's ride, I brought my Nikon F3 with a 40mm lens and shot a roll to share here. My friend Bram and I have talked about how, although we like ride reports from remote-to-us locations as much as the next office working bike rider, we'd like to see coverage and more glorification of the day-to-day, mundane rides - the ones fit in between other obligations. I think every ride is interesting if you're paying enough attention.

I rode my Platypus which has definitely taken the top spot as my favorite Riv - I'm convinced I get more juice out of every pedal stroke than what I deserve. It's a pleasure to ride, no matter what.

My first stop was Twin Peaks, the main SF hill, which I ride up probably once a week. When I'm with other people we generally ride up the easiest way possible, but since I was alone I took the much steeper, less trafficky neighborhood route up. The houses are cute in a little boxes kinda way.

This is the car-free section at the top. It's a beautiful spot to hang out and visit - I've spent a ton of time here since the pandemic started. On colder, sunny days it's nice to lay down on the asphalt and soak up some heat.

This is the main lookout area. Lots of selfie sticks in this zone.

I rode the Sutro trails down and had so much fun that I forgot to take a single photo - It was all dappled sunlight, green tunnels and switchbacks.

I stopped for a coffee in the Haight neighborhood and then headed to Chinatown to pick up a rapid test from one of my partner's co-workers.

I ride the alleys every time I'm in Chinatown, and as slowly as possible is best.

I stopped for a quick order of scallion pancakes at Hon's on Kearney.

The pancakes are hot, flaky and fantastic; they're $9.50 and made from scratch when you order. If you're visiting San Francisco, eat at Hon's.

Then I headed to the Dogpatch neighborhood, at the eastern edge of San Francisco. There's a couple of parks I like to visit and I always find pictures to take there.

This is the northwest view when you're standing on what I call DHL beach, which is a small piece of public shoreline behind a big DHL warehouse. This "beach", by any reasonable person's standards, is a gross place, but I like it for some reason and I make it a point to stop by whenever I'm in the neighborhood. I want to lead a ride someday with a party at the end here.

Here's a better view of that smokestack, or whatever it is, from the next park south. That's the big DHL warehouse and the beach is at the end of it.

Google calls the park where I took this picture "Warm Water Cove" but informally it's known as Toxic Beach. SF Muni is headquartered right behind it and apparently they used to toss their used up bus tires into the surf so when the tide goes out you can see tires everywhere. It's charming.

Next I headed down Amador street, a little farther south of Toxic Beach - I have no idea what goes on in this structure, but I always feel compelled to take pictures of it.

Amador leads to Pier 94 - another park that's actually nice, and a site SF Recology calls "Sustainable Crushing" with big piles of rubble and strange machines. I take a loop in there whenever I'm in the area.

If you follow this street to it's dead end you find:

Every photographer's favorite - detritus.

I'm attracted to these industrial (or maybe formerly industrial, now largely abandoned) areas for a couple of reasons, but mostly for how quiet they are. It almost feels like you have the whole place to yourself, making them a welcome occasional retreat from normal city-living. I think of these rides as my ultra-budget Tahoe ski trip.

Also, this area will absolutely be filled with expensive-but-ugly condos, salons, and beer gardens in 10 years, so I'm visiting it while it's still interesting.

At this point it started to get really windy and cold so I decided to make the trek across town back home, but first I made a quick stop at the Pier 94 wetlands just to check out the view.

This auto dismantler is another place I'm fascinated by. I need to visit them during normal biz hours and see if they have one of those car cubing machines - I've always wanted to see a car get cubed, preferably one of those giant pickups I can't stand. They stack busted cars on top of each other until they peek over the fence - I love that.

I stood in the street after I took this picture and there was almost total silence except for the wind flapping street signs. Ten minutes later, I was next to AT&T park and the streets were noisy with people and traffic.

The rest of my ride was uneventful, but golden-hour pretty. This is almost back in my neighborhood and the last shot of the roll. Frame 37!

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