Road Blog - Day Zero, San Francisco

by Michael Morris

Road Blog – Day Zero, San Francisco

Checking in at the California AIDSRide orientation with over 1100 (press guide estimates) extremely excited AIDSRiders, I am awestruck, and somewhat afraid. What am I doing here? What made me think I could ride 575 miles on a hybrid road/mountain bike, an interesting gift for wage-slaving away 10 years at Sola Optical? I lose focus. I begin to sweat.

I lose my wallet.

Yes, just when I had it all together, I lose everything on paper that identifies/connects me with everything important in my life. The AIDSRide planners are sympathetic to my human ways, and are very kind (the BIG theme of AIDSRide is: "Humankind. Be both") but only allow me to register when my tent mate, fearless San Francisco Firefighter George Bruce, vouches for me. Now I am embarrassed. How could I be so stupid as to lose my wallet? Panic, dread, and self-deprecation set in (wanted to input immolation there, but what hope do I have of that with Geogre hanging around?). I am lost. George, taking my pulse and flashing a pen light in my face, cautiously reminds me that, regardless of this sudden tragedy, we have to view the safety video. He thoughtfully assists me to an asile seat in the modern Fort Mason theatre.

Just when I am on a role beating myself up, just when I am about to start whining real loud, considering calling Claire to come get me because I am an idiot and just don’t belong here, they begin the AIDSRide the safety video.

The video is simple. Ceneterd white words scroll slowly upward on a dark red background, accompanied by a lovely, but haunting, music score. The words devistate. Within 30 seconds, I feel fortunate to be sitting in the quite charming, quite protected Fort Mason Theatre in San Francisco’s Marina, and not living out a horrifying alternative in a place with no hope. I’ll not share the details; you know most of them anyway. If you’re interested, check out; there you’ll find all the news that fits, and they’re likely to follow us down with, as my beautiful wife Claire might say, "news and a bit".

Speaking of news, I got a press pass. I didn’t even have to show them this lonely weblog as journalistic proof (as if!). So now I have access to the press tent (and connectivity, huh?) and the juicy news, which, as your faithful correspondent, I will report post haste. That is assuming I can find a way to blog, especially (shameless promotion warning) and even better if I find an open source technology angle. After all, I am the marketing manager for the Open Source Convention. Fortunately I’ve done a bit of homework and have located what appear to be several free access sites as well as a range of boingo hot spots. We’ll see once I get to camp on day one.

The route is:

Day 1, Sunday June 2 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz

Day 2 – King City (read: hot)

Day 3 – Paso Robles

Day 4 - Oceano (sounds intriguing; a trip to the visitors center in mandatory)

Day 5 – Lompoc (near Vandenberg AFB)

Day 6 – Ventura

Day 7, Saturday June 8 - Santa Monica

According to there are wireless access points all the way down, but I don’t want to buy the boingo wervice; I want community wireless.

So, I’m off tomorrow at 6:30AM. Right now I am a bit bushed from today's emotional ride and am looking forward to letting my body take over tomorrow, putting all this heavy thinking aside for a sweet while. I want to thank everyone who contributed money to the ride; I’ll list them all here once I get the final talley. Special thanks to Peter Wiggin for his friendship and coaching during my training.