Sunday, Glorious Sunday

February 8, 2016

Cycling, San Francisco

Botanical Gardens


Sunday, glorious Sunday. SmartWool layers, beanie, gloves, audible playing, legs pumping, wind in face, ocean ahead. Slow down for swing with Lindy in the Park. Past the Botanical Gardens (Kew for me), turn around, downhill from here. Long-legged rollerbladers strutting their stuff, grown men playing with toy boats, tatanka roaming unfree. Beach Chalet and the smart casual set. Surfer lost…again.

Java Beach Cafe, my funky caffeine temple, bike bolted, in line to choose, flashes of flesh spooning hot, steamy milk. I like this place. Oatmeal, extra raisins, medium cappuccino, non-fat. Middle-aged man, PricewaterhouseCoopers sweatshirt, The Complete Works of Plato. “Heavy reading for Sunday morning” I said. “Never read any Plato before, I found it outside on the street. It’s amazing what people throw away.”  Young Turk reading The Odyssey. Must be literary Sunday. “Coincidence”, I said. “I’m listening to Ulysses by James Joyce. It has the same structure as The Odyssey.” “Is it good”, he asks. “Yes”, I reply. “It’s good.”

My favorite stretch, riding the raised path along The Great Highway, looking down on wild expanse of Ocean Beach, white caps breaking over human seals waiting for the big one. Pelican formations sail overhead like silent Blue Angels, while sculptured cheeks rush backwards towards me…me. Turn by zoo, animals pouring in two by two. Around Lake Merced, crews rowing, coxswain calling, I know what it’s about, I’ve read The Boys in the Boat. Honking geese as phantom shots bark from dead gun club. Dreams of scarcely clad Ohlones collecting tules. Up the hill, homeward.


“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”  James Joyce


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About Malcolm Greenhill

Malcolm Greenhill is President of Sterling Futures, a fee-based financial advisory firm, based in San Francisco. I write about wealth related issues in the broadest sense of the word. When I am not writing, reading, working and spending time with family, I try to spend as much time as possible backpacking in the wilderness.

View all posts by Malcolm Greenhill


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14 Comments on “Sunday, Glorious Sunday”

  1. Bonnie Marshall Says:

    Perfect catch, Malcolm!


  2. lisa Says:

    Ahhhhh, I do still sorely miss my SF cycling days. You captured what that magic is – perfectly. Thanks Malcolm!


  3. The Coastal Crone Says:

    Lucky you! i love San Francisco and have visited the Botanical Gardens and the Beach Chalet. We hope to get back out there to visit this year. Nothing better when the sun is shining there. You captured it quickly with your words as if you were cycling by.


  4. Cindy Bruchman Says:

    Thanks for the bike ride!


  5. Dalo 2013 Says:

    Sounds like the perfect day ~ and that much more special on a Sunday. You’ve inspired me for tomorrow. Cheers to your weekend.


  6. Tony Says:

    Lovely bike ride, Malcolm. But, did I understand correctly, you ride with and Audible? As a fellow cyclist, I have to note that is very dangerous. I used to ride here in Chicago listening to music and was almost in an accident because I failed to hear the other cyclist. It is against the law here. Otherwise, riding a bike is one of life’s fine pleasures.


    • Malcolm Greenhill Says:

      Thanks Tony. No doubt San Francisco will follow suite in good time as our wonderful city Supervisors are never shy of adding regulations to keep us all safe and well. While I agree that riding a bike while listening to Audible could be dangerous in certain circumstances I don’t think that everything that is risky should be regulated. Regulate everything that is risky and people will assume that all unregulated activities are safe, a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.


  7. Hanne T. Fisker Says:

    A beautiful James Joyce quote!!


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