The evening started simply enough. I got to the Mountain View Train Station, bought my ticket, and parked next to where the bike car was going to stop. Of all the people who passed me on the way down the platform, this witch was the only one whose look said "Halloween" to me. In fact, she was only the second person I'd seen dressed up at all that day. The other person was the guy behind the counter at the Red Rock coffee house, who had an arrow through his head but was otherwise dressed normally.
Getting ready to disembark in San Francisco, this bee had his bike parked near mine. There were others in wild garb, but I didn't have space or time to get them in pixels.
When I got to Justin Herman Plaza, just a hair before 6 PM, the crowd was huge. Everybody was hanging out with their friends, seeing and being seen. I saw many more pictures worth taking than I was able to get. Every picture needed flash, and it didn't help if they were too close or too far away.
The text you can't read on the picture with a lot of foot rests reads "OTTOMAN EMPIRE". The mother earth flag above it reminds one that the Hapsburgs may be gone as a political force, but their empire has residuals in living rooms all over. The guy riding that bike told me "a straight ahead revolution won't work, but maybe if we are very clever, something might happen." He also gave me a blue hit of enlightenment on my right index finger, and a red hit on the pinkie.
The double decker bus with Matt Gonzalez stuff all over it was just parked on the road by the starting line. There were people wandering through the crowd handing out Matt Gonzalez posters, yes on K fliers, and Yes on H postcards. I took one of the Matt Posters. By the time he got to me the distributor had run out of tape, so I had to hold it for the whole ride. This made taking pictures more of a challenge.
Once we got moving, it was a few blocks before we were spread out enough I was sure I could ride and take pictures without falling. A couple of times it started raining lightly, but not enough to do any more than make the streets damp and shiny.
The soldier's back reads "DYING A QUIET STATEMENT AGAINST OIL WARS". There were many bicycles with those yellow "BICYCLING AGAINST OIL WARS" plates, including mine.
There weren't many carrying signs. This guy might have been the only one.
I had to ask this guy what he was dressed as. He explained "The joker from a bicycle deck."
There were lots of Matt Gonzalez supporters in the crowd. I even saw a couple I know from the Green Party, June and Woody.
The words on Uncle Sams back read "Help, I'm Broke! Can you spare $87 Million?" "I'm hopelessly addicted to Imperialist Wars & Tax Cuts for the Rich".
These guys are putting their bodies on the line to keep the cars behind the line. Sometimes a driver gets frustrated waiting for a thousand bicycles to go by, and starts inching forward. When that happens A LOT of cyclists surround that machine, and usually the guy (most often its a guy) realizes quickly that he is only prolonging the agony and generally causing a disturbance. I didn't take their pictures but at least half a dozen motorcycle cops rode the whole trip with us. They didn't try to run the show, and they didn't interfere in the normal battles with the cars, but they were always around. I don't remember them being part of the event a year ago.
About the time I took this picture of a hitch-hiker cleverly disguised as a small dog, my battery gave out. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture images of the burning bush, the sexy mummies, the fat tiki go-go squad, or many other eye catching sights I saw during the latter three hours of the ride. Suffice to say, a good time was had by all.