Do you live in San Francisco and have a certain amount of antipathy towards our bigger southern neighbor? Smog, traffic, fake boobs, bleached hair, surf culture, bling bling, road rage, endless sprawl, image, style, no substance...no, I'm not talking about San Jose; I'm talking about Los Angeles.
Well, if you have a bike and like to a. ride, b. ride fast, and c. ride fast at night, you now have a reason to visit Los Angeles (!): Wolfpack Hustle.
An amazing--a-m-a-z-i-n-g--way to experience an otherwise not-so-bike-friendly city, Wolfpack Hustle is a 25- to 50-mile ride that begins at a donut shop in Silverlake
at 10PM every Monday. People gather with their bikes--geared or fix--and await the announcement of directions to the first stop, chatting, smoking pot, whatever. A two-minute warning is given and then--bam!--you're off to the fucking races (but not really, because it's not a race.) An all-out effort is made, at speeds mostly above 20MPH: skirting cars, around pedestrians and through (some) red lights.
Like Critical Mass, the route changes every week. Unlike Critical Mass, you may feel the need to puke up that quesadilla, bag of Skittles and can of Tecate you naively consumed--thought this was gonna be like Critical Mass, huh?--immediately prior to pounding the shit out of your pedals as you whiz down Sunset into West Hollywood clubland, streaking past the dropping jaws of the drunk and drugged staring at the pack of 25 bikers hustling past.
You arrive at the first stop. You catch your breath, have some water, bullshit with the other riders. Maybe you take a piss. Then comes the next batch of directions, with corresponding stop. Two-minute warning. Bam! Go!
Along the way you take in the (nighttime!) metropolis, watch out for potholes, talk when you can, occasionally see your semi-delirious grin reflected on the face of the rider next to you, draft a lot, and--above all--keep up.
A few hours after you began, you return to the start, bullshit some, get a donut, stretch a bit, and go home. Next week the route is different; hopefully you can make it.
Wolfpack Hustle is fucking awesome. It is a ride that has been going for well over 52 weeks straight, and is faintly reminiscent--a bunch of (mostly) dudes come together in the middle of the night to work, sweat, and (occasionally) bleed, damning (in this case) automotive society, and whatever sort of on-the-job Tuesday a five-hour night of sleep will bring, to hell--of Fight Club. For another account of what it's like to ride, go here. I worship, from afar, the people who started it.