Thank You Ride #13: Different Bodies of Water

Several recent rides I wrote about to thank my AIDS Life Cycle sponsors had a lot of San Francisco Bay in them. For instance, #11 and #10. My ride last Sunday took me to different bodies of water. The ride was dedicated to another anonymous sponsor with whom we at some point shared a view of San Diego Bay. We also shared many delightful conversations, some of them of mystical nature.

You can find more about these thank you rides here, and if you feel moved to sponsor my participation in AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile ride from SF to LA in June, you can do that by donating to AIDS LifeCycle here.

The water was falling from the sky again most of past weekend. The official AIDS LifeCycle training ride I could make to got cancelled due to rain yet again on Saturday morning. While I was glad to have a chance to catch up, the miles need to be ridden. Sunday, after teaching yoga and lunch, when the sky looked clear for a second, I got on the heavier bicycle, to be on the safe side, and went out there.

Never mind about the clear sky, it was drizzly again when I got out, but I felt reasonably comfortable for the time being, so I figured I’d ride as long as it’s fun. I started by successfully finding a link from San Jose to Alemany Blvd, which looks easy on the map, but for some reason I got lost looking for it the previous few times. Despite the rain, riding was very pleasant. Perhaps, thanks to the rain. By early afternoon Sunday everybody pretty much gave up on the outside, and it was just fresh and green and quiet.

I turned sharp West short of Daly City into an entirely unfamiliar territory for me, not that I recall, and definitely not by bike, which was exciting: this is why I am doing this! I rode through more quiet neighborhoods, then 19th avenue to SF State University Campus, and around it to Lake Merced. I’ve ridden around Lake Merced once a long time ago; now I connected to it from a different direction.

I stopped to take a look at the lake and then rode a little bit on the bicycle and pedestrian trail around the lake. Another perk of a rainy day: having bicycle and pedestrian trails all to myself – for the most part. I could look around and think.

I thought, how far I got from the lakes and the hills and the bodies of water I grew up next to. I smelled eucalyptus, clean and bright after the rain. I stopped to take a picture of calla lilies next to the eucalypti (which I didn’t actually take, maybe because my phone was wet). That was such an ordinary sight for San Francisco, and yet it tickles me slightly surreal.

I remember my mom making these eucalyptus steam bath for our winter colds, when I was little. That was so exotic. The eucalyptus didn’t grow anywhere near. We probably had to buy the leaves at a pharmacy. Calla lilies were also so beautiful, strange, exotic. And yet here they are both growing like weeds by the roadside. And here I am. It’s a little funny that the calla lily is a pest in Australia, and the eucalyptus, Australian native, arguably, in California. Nonetheless, here we are.

On my way around the lake, I stopped to check out a statue of a Spanish looking dude on a horse, adorned with a bird. Turns out, one Juan Bautista de Anza. Has a bunch of places named after him around here, now I know who that is.

From the lake, it’s a short ride to the ocean. Here is the first glimpse of her. The first glimpse, as my breath merges into hers and we know who is in charge here. Pacific Ocean. Look how far we got, both me and my friend whose thank you ride this is.

Pacific Ocean

I rode back North along the Ocean beach, then the familiar route back through the Golden Gate Park, via the Wiggle, home.

This one last body of water is a small temporary one, a puddle of water with a beautiful snow egret next to it, in the Golden Gate Park.

This ride was about 16 miles total, maybe close to 20 total for the day with morning errands. Thanks again to all my friends who support me on this journey by reading and by sponsoring my participation in the ride. Special thanks to this anonymous sponsor.


I’ve gone a long way with both my training and fundraising, and I could use more help to ensure I can participate. If any of my readers are willing to support me, please donate to AIDS LifeCycle here and I might dedicate a ride to you 🙂

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