Wednesday, November 6, 2013

leaving town

This is the biggest day of our lives. We are Masters of Capoeira, Mestre Acordeon's discipulos and followers, nomads and vagabonds. We are about to begin a journey of a life time. Riding our bicycles from San Francisco to Brazil. Our eyes are bright and our purpose is clear. We may be a little bushytailed, too.

More importantly, most of us are Brazilian, born or by choice, so we start the day late. And since this is a huge occasion we had to have a party. And kiss our 300 best friends byebye. Bebum and I don't have this problem/luxury. We don't know a soul here. A few Seattle and Salt Lake City Capoeiristas are there for the event. It sure is nice to see familiar faces in a crowd that usually has a polite WTF expression on their face once they realize I mean to ride to Brazil. Friendly, helpful, understanding, Gallant even. And WTF?!

I get it, most of them have never heard of me before. What, you also think its strange to go on a year long bicycle journey with a bunch of people that have never heard of you before? I told you this is the craziest thing I eeever done! And I ate live, shivering, gooey, slippery shrimp once.

At 4pm Mestre had enough and put his foot to the pedal. Every body fell in line as fast as they could. Raced down the street! It was beautiful to behold. A whole bunch of riders taking over the streets of Berkeley, bikes loaded down like ancient war horses, muscles pumping, sweating profusely with the unaccustomed weight. People hollering and kids screaming at the top of their lungs. Dudes high-fiving each other. Mestres shaking their heads at the apparent insanity of a 70 year old trying to undertake this journey. Girls waving and blowing kisses to the brave riders. It was one of those occasions you want to burn into your memory forever. It was an amazing feeling to be a part of it.

I fell over. Twice (SOME people claim it was four to six times). Yes, while everyone took off, I fell off. Once this side, and once, for good measure, the other. Laurel and Hardy style, you ken? I believe it is pretty much burned into everyone's mind. If not, you can be sure that the documentary film crew has my introduction to the UCA universe pretty well... documented. What can I say? Riding a recumbent bike is a bitch. But there was still Bebum to hold up the honor of the none-UCA B2B crew. Bebum, master of the road more and less traveled, equipped with magical procurement skills and knowledge of life like a tree.

Yeah, that guy. Ran into a pole. With his already torn up knee. You could hear the DING all up and down the street. You try riding while making eyes at pretty girls with cameras.

But at least he made it with the group to the train station. Though that's as far as he got, missing the train because his trailer and bike were too long and unwieldy. A kingdom for a picture of his face taken from the inside of the train as it pulls away. And me? Continuing my wayward ways I went to the wrong train station.

So the B2B Riders are off without Pirata and Bebum. We decide to meet them in Daly City. The train station closest to Highway 1, famous road of fables and fantastic views. The station our apparently outdated excel sheet of a route plan tells us to go to. Nobody else is there. What? This is not how we imagined this amazing journey to start.

We decide to ride to the beach and camp out and end up carrying our bikes and gear down a sand path.

Daly beach from above
There is an amazing hiding spot that we throw most of our stuff into. And hike a mile down to the beach proper, carrying only our tents and sleeping bags.

This is where we hide our bikes.

We get down to the beach and make camp. Wondering at our amazing luck on the first day of our new lives. We can't cook because the wood is too wet. We are alone because we have no idea where everyone else went. We eat crickets. We are happy. If we had hairy feet and were half as tall you'd think us on a quest.

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