How to: Bay to Breakers for first-timers

by mo on 06/8/2012

What is Bay to Breakers?

The slowest race you’ll ever run and the fastest party you’ll ever go to.
Tens of thousands of people partying their way across the entire city, in the morning, in ridiculous outfits. Would you expect anything less from San Francisco?

Above average number of giraffes in Hayes Valley.

Assembling the Crew

Having a good crew is essential. 5-15 people seem manageable. Make sure they’re swaggin’. Organize them somehow — I recommend the internet. And if they’ve never done Bay 2 Breakers before, you are gonna have to give them the rundown, which is partially the reason I’m writing this guide… I wish I’d had one! (Seriously, people in this city will NOT believe you when you say they need to wake up before noon for something).


People overthink this part. Yes, people wear crazy costumes (or nothing at all) on Bay2Breakers, but you don’t HAVE to dress up as a tetris piece or a mob of gay dinosaurs, as long as you look a little bit strange. Most of my crew polished off their outfits with random items from my closet — a pirate hat here, a pink apron there, a skirt used to affix a broccoli to a head, and a gay @ facebook shirt. Just everyday items that can be found in any wardrobe, really!

Anyway, Bay 2 Breakers is a good opportunity to get some use out that item of clothing you can ONLY wear at Halloween…or Pride… or Coachella… or Dolores Park… OKAY, there’s a lot of opportunity in San Francisco to wear ridiculous clothing ALWAYS, but whatever. Go wild.

Do: Wear comfy socks and shoes. Remember, you’re not only walking 7 miles, you’re DANCING 7 miles.
Don’t: Wear anything warm. Seriously, you will be burnin’ up in that crowd of 70k party-people.

Booze Purchase & Transportation

– Stick mostly to wine and mixed drinks. A little beer is okay, but it’s sort of heavier than it’s worth.
– Use Nalgene bottles, flasks, etc. because you can potentially get glass bottles confiscated and that’s just tragic. Personal recommendation: use Voss water bottles, mostly so you can run around the city saying “LIKE A VOSS” all day.
– Bring your own bag. It’s way easier if every person just carries all their stuff and is self-sufficient. A Camelback or one of those drawstring bags should do the trick.
– Make any dairy-based drinks because it’s going to be hot, and ew.

Other things to pack:
– phone, keys, wallet
– camera
– SUNBLOCK (please please please. Oh, and use it.)
– sunglasses

The Night Before

Do: Assemble everyone at a single apartment, or a couple of close-by apartments. This is to make sure you avoid:
– people oversleeping
– attempting to meet up with people at the event itself, which is way too chaotic, crowded, hard to coordinate, and your phone will stop working due to the crowds. It’s just really best if everyone starts out together.
Mix your drinks and refrigerate as necessary, put everything else in your bag
Don’t: Party too hard or too late. Pre-festing is encouraged, but seriously, go to bed people.

How early do I have to wake up?

If your friends are at all sane, they will be initially appalled at the idea of waking up before noon on a SUNDAY. However, it needs to be done. Or, as @iamnirav so eloquently put it:

As far as I can tell, there are several reasonable options of when/where to start, depending on how hard you want to go and how early your’e willing to wake up:

7 AM @ Embarcadero (Howard & Beale)
This is when the actual race starts, so the runners will go at the front and the partiers will start to trail along behind. Some people even pre-party this, but like, WHY.

9 AM @ Civic Center
This is what we ended up doing — after initially going to an abandoned Embarcadero, we backtracked and found ourselves towards the middle of the party @ Civic Center at 9. Totes reasonable! And unless my crew wants to go harder in the paint next year, I’d be willing to do this again.

11 AM @ Alamo Square or Noon @ NoPa
For the peeps who aren’t going to alter their schedule drastically for this holiday, meet up halfway. Warning: halfway here means everyone will be thoroughly trashed, NoPa is pretty much a shitshow. But if you’re down, join right in.

I have no idea after that, but why would you want to join like, midway through the park? Street partying is the best part — you can party in a park in the afternoon EVERY WEEKEND if you want.

The Morning of:

– Wake up the crew and finish up any last-minute drink/costume setup
– Figure out what to do about breakfast. Eat at home, bring food with, or stop somewhere along the way are all fine options, but all the Starbucks’ etc. in the financial district probably will be closed.
– Shower, if you can avoid it. Cuz you’re sure as hell gonna need a shower afterwards
– Hold up the crew by being slow. Get your shit together, kid!
– Stress! Enough logistics, it’s time to start having fun!!!

BREAKING THE BAY, a story in pictures and times (and some more do’s and don’ts):

We finally found the 50k other peeps.
9:30 AM
Do: Find yourself amongst these haps, on Hayes, after your trek from Civic Center

10 AM
Do: Take a breakfast stop @ Cafe International for some fancy schmancy bagels and cream cheese. The back patio can be yours!

Apparently this was another Twitter person's party... it was also the best party all day, until it got broken up.
11 AM
Do: Stop and dance in the street at the parties along the way.  This one was defs the raddest!

Coworker sighting #1, @chanian
Do: Say hi to your coworkers when you run into them!  Its only polite!

PASS THE BROCCOLI, our fan says.
Do: Toss your coworkers a broccoli, when appropriate.

Bodski communicating some very important information.  #srsbusiness
Don’t: Lose members of your group at this point, since your phones will be the most useless they have ever been. Note Bodski doing some serious logistics with Polly here as we pass by Alamo Square.

If your group is anything like ours, it’s time to take a break and chill out for a while. Also, a good point to have the noon-risers to meet up. We obvs stopped at the incredibly conveniently located BharKrall Motel.

Ford is unimpressed.
Do: Hang out on the roof.  Wave to Sutro tower.

Broccoli takes a nap.
Don’t: Fall off the roof. #awk

1 PM
Do: Have a daytime dance party in the living room. Recommended playlist.

Ford getting beamed up.
Don’t: you stop the music.

Aaron uses jedi mind tricks on Ben.
Do: Discover hidden acrobatic and Jedi talents of your friends.

2 PM
Do: Embark on the second half of the journey and make your way into Golden Gate Park. Now is the time to throw on that long-sleeved shirt you picked up at your pit stop.
Don’t: Force it. If it’s time to stop, you’d best be stopping. Also, don’t get separated from the group.

So we left my place and then...we're AT THE BEACH!!! #Breaking #PoandMollyWin!!!
4 PM
Do: A victory dance in the ocean

Do: Hug yo friends
Don’t: Worry about where Nathan went (you’ll find him on your doorstep when you make it home), or worry about all the freezing water and sand up in your clothes. WORTH IT.

When you’re ready, peel yourselves off the beach and hop on a bus (the 5 worked out well for us) and go take a nap and make some tacos. <3


Spinning = Gay Clubbing in Bike Form

by mo on 05/23/2012

If you have a soul, you need to try spinning.

What is spinning? Some people describe it (incorrectly) as a fitness activity that involves biking in a gym. However, in actuality, it’s clubbing, in bike form:
– You’re in a dark room.
– House music is blasting, turned up to 11.
– Your super-fab instructor is bopping up and down in front of you and occasionally yelling things at you. His shoulders are enorm.
– There’s a disco ball.

So far so clubbing.

Yes, okay, technically you are on top of a stationery bike. However, you are rarely — you’re standing, moving your arms, and always bouncing your pedals to the beat, making it feel like you’re actually floating, since you’re dancing in midair.

This is the closest YouTube representation I could find — my gym is like this except more of the instructor yelling “OHYEAHHH” in the best way possible every 27 seconds.

Normally, I go clubbing in the Castro every couple of weeks, as I have a fairly strict queer dancing quota (this *is* San Francisco, guys). However, the other week, after a Saturday night party at which it was tragically difficult to convince anyone to go Castro out with me, I was bummed and feeling antsy.

How would I tide myself over for a whole WEEK, Castro-free??!?

But I tried spinning that Tuesday for the first time (as per @lewisisgood‘s recommendation), and let’s just say, QUOTA FULFILLED.

But you don’t have to take MY word for it:

“Carl’s spinning classes are better than a Barcelona discoteca while on stimulants.”

TL;DR: come spinning with me.

P.S. Of COURSE Carl/Karl is both the name of a spinning instructor in San Francisco AND the entirety of San Francisco’s fog. #duh


My move to San Francisco aka the Internet

by mo on 03/13/2012

I moved to San Francisco last last Thursday. So, thoughts.

Thought #1: The gargoyles here are all hipsters.

I feel like I’m inside one of those dreams featuring you and all your friends in some magical definitely-not-real-yet-oddly-familiar location (partially constructed from somewhere you once lived, and partially constructed from Monterey Pop videos and partially from watching the Shit Silicon Valley Says videos 9 times before bed. One of those dreams where you keep running around doing things and seeing these people over and over, but if you were to wake up, you’d realize that it really doesn’t make sense for all of those people to be in the same place at the same time because they are from totally disjoint parts of your life and oh my god why is any of this happening.

But mostly I don’t live in the real world anymore because I actually live in the Internet.

Here’s how to move to San Francisco, Mo-style:

1 week before pre-move – start to think about facebook messaging your friends asking them if you can sleep on their couch while you look for an apartment. Instead, your friend Bhargav (who just moved out there and is in the couch-sleeping phase as well) asks you to move in with a third guy you’ve never met but is allegedly cool and Good Roommate Material. At this point it’s only been roughly five days since you were hanging out with Bhargav in Hong Kong and Singapore together, duh.

Crawl Padmapper for about 3 hours together, and have your on-location roomies check out the place, make you a FB album and take video. Beat out the other potential tenants and just fucking sign already, because you snagged an enormous sweet-ass place a couple doors down from Janis Joplin.

Pack your bags, er, boxes, and take them to the post office. Feel really good about this distributed-computing approach to moving across the country, fire up a fb event and throw yourself a going away barcrawl and party with everyone, except for the 50% of everyone from UIUC Computer Science who has already moved to San Francisco in the past year.

Farewell of #Champs

Day of move – Hop in a plane, feel weird that this is the first time you’re doing a permanent move in the 23 years of your life, despite having lived in every continental time zone in the US and a country each in Europe and Asia. While drinking tea in O’Hare, receive the first of many future texts that go like:

“Hey Mo, I’m flying in to SF from Philly with a couple friends this weekend. Wanna hang/show us around?”

Consider the ridiculousness of “showing someone around” a city you’ve been a resident of for under 24 hours, but of course accept enthusiastically and hop on your next flight.

Arrive at the airport and meet your new roommate for the first time IRL. Go home and dump your suitcase in a completely empty room and roll out the sleeping bag for later. See the 4 friends you have who are living within a 15-minute walk of you and give them the grand tour of your apartment, once you practice and work out which way is the kitchen and which way is the living room.

Barhop to half the places within a 5-minute walk of your place and witness more and more people show up throughout the evening. Meet some more internet friends IRL for the first time and talk to your friends about the web-tech companies they work at and the crazy and/or gorgeous people they have recently been talking to on OKCupid.

Coin the term #IPOIPA, and tweet it.


Wake up to find your roomies have already gone to work. Wander around the various empty large rooms of the apartment, playing music and wondering what to do with yourself. Tweet something about the Haight and make brunch plans with an internet friend who apparently lives in the neighborhood. Again, brunch spot is a 5 minute walk away. Wonder why all the other people at brunch don’t have jobs.


Post-brunch, wander around the neighborhood for a while and find out that yes actually EVERYTHING is a five minute walk away, and learn which street to walk on to avoid the hills. Shop your way around Haight Ashbury and see tourists taking pictures by Ben & Jerry’s and hear street performers and the Beatles kind of everywhere.

Go home and find the roof.


Receive a phone call from your new roommate at 4:26 PM. “Yelp IPO party. Get downtown now. Harlot. 2nd and Mission. I have a wristband for you. I can’t hear you, bye.”

Run for the nearest MUNI stop and get your ass to SoMa. Talk to the friendliest bouncer ever and walk in and instantly see Evan in the sea of 500 people at this bar. Talk to everyone and realize you recognize at least 10 people at this party. Congratulate them all on their IPO and confuse them by not being a Yelp employee, and then score mad points when you mention who your roommates are.


Follow a crowd of 20 people back to Yelp HQ so they can drop off / pick up their stuff. Start barcrawling your way around SoMa and wait way too long at Eat Box for 3 orders of window bar-food, that take at least 40 minutes longer to arrive than you were promised. Wonder if this could potentially result in some bad Yelp reviews (apparently, it didn’t). Hang out in Tempest for an hour and then follow some French dudes to The Mission.

Notice Yelp people peel off as you head around the Mission to random bars, meeting up with more new and old friends from school and previous internships and the internet using your roommate’s phone once yours has died.

Realize everything is working out FLAWLESSLY.
Realize via bathroom graffiti you’ve been hanging out at some classy venues this evening.
Decide IPOs are fun and clearly a normal part of life.



Walk around the Haights, smell lots of weed when you walk by Buena Vista Park.

Meet up with people in Dolores Park and watch the hipsters. Check Instagram occasionally and realize everyone else you know in the entire city is also somewhere in this hipster swarm beach. Don’t try to meet up with them though because that would be impossible.

Wait for your south bay friends to arrive on your doorstep. Spend a while naming the Facebook group for this friend group. Try to get Ramen at Izakaya Sozai but fail because people take forever to eat ramen, apparently. Go to a nearby chinese place and call it done.

Go back to your place and sit on the floor because there is no furniture yet and make drinks and call cabs.


Realize getting out of the Haight on a Saturday night is an incredible challenge (but don’t learn from this anytime soon). Finally find a couple of cabs to take you club-wards and go hang out in Butter and receive a text along the lines of “be right there I just need to take four shots.” Meet internet friends and go to Bootie across the street. Dance your ass off for many hours and tweet about it mid-dancefloor. Hope your friend does not sustain injuries from falling off one of the dancing blocks.

Wind up under the golden gate at 4:30 AM and decide it’s probably time to go home, though nothing is particularly stopping you at this point.


Wake up the forces. Go get some crepes.


Use your party people for good, not evil, and move the entire contents of Evan’s U-Haul into the apartment. Get it done in under an hour. High five and enjoy the breakfast nook.


Go to Sleep Train and buy beds and feel like the Princess and the Pea. Go to IKEA and feel like Zooey Deschanel. Pick out a rug whose color is optimal for spilling a variety of everything on it (red).


Meet up with Yelpers at night at the local brewpub and listen to their startup idea and call them out on it being Silicon Valley Bullshit.

(But still tell them to make the app because you would use it).

Discuss the Foursquare names for each of your respective apartments.

Hang out in your brand new living room and spill drinks on your new rug, just as promised. HOME.

The weekend is over, but don’t let the internetyness stop there. Get San Francisco blog recommendations from your barista on an iPad in a cafe where each and every patron is on an Apple device. Make Friday night plans on Path and in reaction to Foursquare notifications. Don’t hit up the club for your favorite swedish DJs until 11:30 PM because they tweeted they wouldn’t be going on until midnight. Sit in your friend’s living room with her cat and troll OKCupid and have the cat Skype your friend who lives a mile away. Sit in Mission bars and bitch about particularly pretentious Instagram feeds.