On the way home from Italy, I stopped for two days in San Francisco.
SF has a diverse, vibrant bike culture that makes it a great town for bikeshop crawling.
My flight got in at midday, allowing time for raid via Bay Area Rapid Transit on Jitensha Studio in Berkeley, where I bought a couple of tee shirts to avert a laundry crisis, and a handful of Honjo mudguard fittings for a carbon-fibre fender project.
The Berkeley BART station has a Bike Station providing secure bike parking and bike repairs for commuters.
Last Friday of the month is Critical Mass night, which I remembered too late to join in, but the Mass went past my hotel, noisy, good natured, and taking several minutes to go by.
Saturday morning saw me back on BART, heading for Walnut Creek and the World Headquarters of Rivendell Bicycle Works. I took the Breakaway, planning to go for a ride up Mount Diablo or perhaps head for Sausalito in the PM, but ended up taking one of Rivendell's Rambouillet demo bikes a short way up Diablo instead.
Its a dangerous place to take your credit card, and so I departed with a couple of wool jerseys, a a pair of Nitto Noodle Bars for the Ritchey, and a few other essential widgets.
Sunday morning I caught the MUNI bus up Haight St, which was still in Kris Kristofferson mode, headed for the bike shops on Stanyan St.
There seem to be few less shops there than when I first visited in 1990. It was always a cheap thrill to venture into Velo-City to get your fair share of abuse from owner Holland Jones, who once lambasted me for my 'colonial' accent.
Fortunately, American Cyclery is still there, with its mix of old, and new-but-interesting.
Once I had exhausted the delights of Stanyan St, I hopped back on the MUNI bus for a few blocks, then embarked on a death march along Steiner St in search of City Cycle, who cater to the Very Big Wanker demographic. Despite being in loose control of two still-functional credit cards I managed to walk away without a new Serotta or seven.