Ride, Sally, Ride

Emily invited me to an Alley Cat race this weekend — a bike ride/food drive for the San Francisco food bank. When she explained it, I was psyched. Riding around the city on a Sunday afternoon, for the good of the community? What could be better?

I arrived a few minutes before noon at the large bow and arrow on the Embarcadero. I slowly got off my bike and unclipped my bike helmet. It was the ultimate hipster gathering. Girls with cut off jeans, funky striped socks, torn stockings, multiple tattoos and piercings, and attitude. Guys with tricked out bikes, gelled hair, and lean bodies that had done one too many recreational drugs. One of these things was not like the other, can you tell what does not belong??? I stood there, feeling very conspicuous. I’m not hip. I’d like to be, but I’m not. I’m very mainstream, very Southern. I was grateful I wasn’t wearing matching hairbands.

The minutes that I waited for Em felt like an eternity. What body position could I assume that would indicate I was relaxed, at ease? I simply stared.

Emily arrived; the group gathered to receive our “manifests” — the list of grocery stores we needed to visit and food items we were required to procure before racing to the final destination: Gestalt. What we lacked in speed we made up for in 1- knowing where the grocery stores were located and 2- knowing where food items are located in the grocery stores. Maturity has its advantages. We didn’t finish first, but we also didn’t come in last. Hooray for us!

At Gestalt, the uber hipster bikers were surprisingly friendly. They wanted to know how many races I had done (none) , if I enjoyed it (yes, except for those damn hills) and how I heard about it (through my best friend’s boyfriend). And they kept talking to me. Stereotypes be damned. The biker crowd was pretty damn awesome. And up close, the tattoos are even more incredible. Seriously.

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