My usual cycling route out of the city takes me to the Panhandle, the first part of Golden Gate Park, and then Arguello north to the Presidio, and on to the bridge. A couple of years ago, I noticed that most early mornings there were two lines of people at different parts of Arguello. The first was outside a relatively non-descript bakery that won an award for having the best croissants, though whether that was in the Bay Area, or all of California, I don’t really know. The people waiting were young, on the whole, and looking at their phones as they waited their turn in line (very similar to lines at well-reviewed places elsewhere in the city).
Just a few blocks further north, the line of people skewed much older, mostly Asian-American women leaning on their wheeled shopping carts, outside St John’s church, where boxes of food were being brought in and then distributed.
I have often thought about the nearness of these two very disparate waitings and what it says about the current state of the city; more recently I have observed that the line for croissants is generally shorter now, while the line for donated food is just as long as ever.
After a dry December, we have had a decent amount of rain in January, and in between the showers, the skies have been blue and the air clear. The wind has come down from the north, which makes riding out over the bridge more of a struggle; one morning it felt as if I had not drunk my pre-ride coffee – of course the payback on the way home is quite a sweet relief. I have been climbing a lot of hills this month; after making use of my friend’s car to revisit a favourite ride on the Peninsula, up King’s Mountain, down Skyline, out to San Gregorio and back up Tunitas Creek, I wanted to follow up with the two great climbs up the back of Tam, from the Bolinas side, and the Fairfax side via Alpine Dam. Both rides felt hard, and I had less energy than I wanted, but it was still great to try them. I also enjoyed the pockets of warm and cool air: at Richardson Bay, not flooded this time, it was cold enough for frost on the bridge planking; a few miles further north in Ross, a large magnolia was already blossoming in vivid purple; through the shaded tree-covered slopes, a sense of dampness; on the south side of the mountain, almost balmy warmth – all so close together, and yet so different, all making part of the interdependent whole.