Finally today is the day the bicycle community feels some legitimacy! I feel so proud that a bicycle is incorporated into the public transit system.
The Bay Area Bike-Share ceremony started at 10:30 am today at 4th and King St. Caltrain station. Here are some photos from today’s ceremony. It wasn’t until noon that the bike shares could be used by the public.
She was the celebrity of the day. Our celeste green Bay Area Bike Share. She got so much attention, deservingly.
Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco was there to speak at the ceremony with Jane Kim, Scott Wiener and John Avalos (3 of our Supervisors) in attendance.
Jared Blumenfeld, a bike commuter and an EPA official (appointed by President Obama) spoke convincingly of why bicycle is good for transportation, good for business, good for livability, etc.
Mayor Ed Lee leading the bike share caravan back to City Hall.
Our police chief, Greg Suhr on a bike? Maybe now he can understand how it feels to be a bicyclist. I would love to see more cops on bikes.
Right at noon time is this first happy customer at the Townsend and 4th St. station.
By riding around town today, I can already tell bike shares are going to be very popular.
With climate change knocking at our doors, enjoying a human-pedal-powered concert this past Saturday was the least of our worries for all the things that humans could do to contribute to the warming of the planet. The concert was powered entirely by the sweat and calories of human power instead of fossil fuels or electricity generated by fossil fuels. People took turns pedaling on bicycle power generators which created the juice to power all the amps and speakers.
It was their 7th annual event and it was held at Pioneer East Meadow in Golden Gate Park from 12-5 pm and then 6-9 pm in the Mission District. It was the biggest event of its kind in the world and it was free and open to all ages.
A full 5 hours music set, all powered 100% by humans pedaling on 20 bicycles! It was fun and engaging because anyone can be part of the stage production by volunteering to pedal. Keep pedaling…if you stop, no more music…
And this little kid, below, was doing his part.
Here was the line-up of musicians written on the board (see photo below).
We were sitting almost 300 ft (91 m) away and the music was still loud and clear. No problem powering the speakers with bicycles.
Her bike, below, was just too cool. She’s playing a rainbow xylophone on her Centurion Mixte.
It was announced that there were over 600 bikes locked to the bike racks and in addition, I saw many had their bikes by their side. So I estimated a total of about 700-800 attendees at the festival. All of these people on bicycles (see photo below) waited till the end at around 5pm for the amazing “Live On Bike” ride from Golden Gate Park to the Mission District. The entire festival got packed up and transported on bicycles to another location in the Mission District with the talented Jason Brock (a finalist from X-factor) accompanying us. It was about an hour long at a slow speed for a distance of 4.5 miles (7.2 km). Because there were so many bicyclists, there were 3 loud speakers placed in the front, middle, and at the end of the ride so anywhere you went you could still hear Jason Brock singing. However, I think they needed more speakers.
Jason Brock was singing during the entire Live on Bike ride. He sang a couple of tunes from the 80s and improvised some songs which made people laugh. I don’t watch TV shows like X Factor but he was quite talented and hilarious in person, and the fact that he continued singing on the bicycle stage even on rocky streets is pretty good.
The ride went through Haight Ashbury, onto the Wiggle, then Market St, and through the Castro neighborhood. It was interesting because I felt like we were in a parade within a parade. We were enjoying Jason Brock’s show as his audience but then the people on buses, cars, and sidewalks were enjoying us parading through.
The tail end of the parade near Mission Dolores Park in the Mission.
The pedal-powered bicycles were lifted to their next destination using guess what?… bicycle. The green bicycle on the right is a blending machine for making smoothies. I tried their smoothies and they were delicious.
My buddies and I left for home when we arrived in the Mission. We missed the 3 hour concert, but I hope someone reports on it because I am interested in how it went during the night. We enjoyed the event very much and I am surprised as to why there aren’t more festivals/events using bicycles to generate energy to power their shows.
Hope you come out next time!
My first Midnight Mystery Ride (MMR) was about two years ago and it was probably the most amazing group ride I have ever done. It was SF-esque- mysterious, intimate, and awe-inspiring. I was very lucky to experience it on the night that it was hosted by Mission Bicycle Company (they organize the best ones). MMR is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month at midnight with very little information. The only information you will get are the organizer’s name (that could be anyone) and the location of the meetup on that day. I think this concept is what keeps MMR special and underground. The three times that I have been to MMR, I was taken to places that were off the beaten path and even those that a native would never experience.
I have a friend, Dante, who just got bitten by the bicycle bug and I wanted to show him what the cycling community is like at midnight. Also, I haven’t been to one for quite awhile, so it was a good time for both of us to check it out. We met at Truck and Bar Kitchen on 1900 Folsom St. in the Mission minutes before the clock struck midnight. Complete strangers were introducing themselves to us when we arrived. It was welcoming since I haven’t been to one for almost a year.
In the photo below is the leader, Gary (left) for that night. He planned for a leisurely ride, and that was pretty much a chill ride for conversational cycling.
We headed NW on Folsom St. and stopped at the corner of Folsom and 2nd St. for our first social gathering.
After 20-30 minutes at our first stop, we started heading toward the Embarcadero on Folsom St.
When we arrived at the Embarcadero, it was barricaded off for the 36th SF Marathon taking place the next morning, but the security patrol was nice enough to open it up to let us through. The cool thing was that there was not a single car on that street!
The second stop was a beautiful view of the Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. We met a couple from Sacramento who visit SF on a monthly basis but haven’t seen the Bay Lights. That was pretty special to them.
The final stop was on the Ferry Building pier behind a night club I think. It was pitch black so I couldn’t get any good photos. We did get free music coming out of the night club, but it was pretty bad. =)
There were about 24 people on bikes, all very nice and friendly. It was easy to strike up a conversation with complete strangers and because we all have this underlining understanding and interest in this Midnight Mystery journey, it makes it a whole lot more intimate.
This intimate night was how I remember San Francisco three years ago when Nellie and I first moved here. A peaceful and beautiful night wherever you ride. Personally, I think it’s almost sad in order to feel that again, I have to ride in the middle of the night to get this wonderful experience.
Watch our video of that night:
This weekend was filled with many fun bicycling events such as the SF Bike Party on Friday night, the World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday, and Sunday Streets on Sunday.
Being that it was the 10th Anniversary of the World Naked Bike Ride (they had a smaller ride earlier this year) and the weather was pretty nice, I went out to report on the event hoping for a full blown turnout. I was a little disappointed in the turnout but the participants still appeared to have a great time.
As usual, it was held at Justin Herman Plaza in front of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Their message was to get off oil dependence and their choice of location on a sunny Saturday was a great place to get any message across. After meeting up and embarking on their ride as a group of nude cyclists, they rolled through Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina, Lombard Street, North Beach, back along the Embarcadero, over to the Civic Center, the Haight, and past Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. These are all touristy hotspots for them to be seen by the gaping public, some surprised at the mobile mass exhibitionism.
The second Sunday Streets of the year was held recently on April 14th in the Mission District. Compared to the first Sunday Streets held on the Embarcadero, the event space was more compact- only about 2 miles (3.2 km) of car-free open streets but the event was crowded with people and various activities. Although it can be a little harder to ride your bike the whole way through due to the crowds, the Sunday Streets that are held in the Mission District are arguably the most popular and culturally interesting ones. Indeed, there were plenty of interesting things to see and it was an amazing day full of energy and fun!
If you missed the event, don’t worry we have lots of photos for you!
One of the great things that Sunday Streets provides is the opportunity for ordinary people to promote their small business, get publicity for their rock band or just sell their crafts. In this case, this gal Beck is having a yard sale.
And I can’t end without showing any coverage on all things biking.
If you want to experience Sunday Streets in the Mission District, the next one held there will be on July 28. Mark your calendar!
As many of you already know, Sunday Streets started in 2008 and was inspired by Ciclovia (‘Ciclovia’ means bike path in Spanish) in Bogota, Colombia. It’s an event that closes off streets to car traffic in different neighborhoods, opening them up to walkers, joggers, skaters, bicyclists, etc. Sunday Streets has grown from a couple of events a year to ten events held last year. The first Sunday Streets of this year, which was on March 10th, attracted 20,000 participants to the Embarcadero.
I owe much of my enthusiasm for biking in San Francisco to Sunday Streets. The first time I ever biked in SF was at the Sunday Streets held on the Embarcadero in 2010. Before that, I didn’t take biking so seriously. I never imagined I could use my bike for everyday living and that riding in the city could be so much fun.
Some of the Sunday Streets events are not as good for biking because they can get too crowded to maneuver with a bike, but the one held recently on the Embarcadero – a 3.3 miles (5.3 km) stretch along the waterfront without any cars was and has always been a heavenly experience for biking.
This year was extra special because the Exploratorium (SF’s much loved science museum and new tenant on the Embarcadero) held a lively pre-opening festival in conjunction with Sunday Streets and it appeared to be a big hit with the kids. Our city is known to have more dogs than children, but on this sunny Sunday you wouldn’t be able to tell. There were lots of kids with their parents out enjoying the open car-free space along the waterfront. Maybe with more of these types of events, more families will decide to stay living in the city.
There were many bands performing along the Embarcadero (I counted 8), but I think the Rock the Bike mobile stage performance was the best. How cool is that for them to bring their performance to the people, to engage them in a physical activity, and to send their music across the streets of the city to concert-goers and bystanders alike?
Watch a video of Rock the Bike at Sunday Streets:
There are always lots of interesting things and people to see at these events.
Now here is an idea we are proposing: How about having a night time version of Sunday Streets? Maybe we can have it on Friday or Saturday evenings and call it Friday/Saturday Streets? We could have all the neon glowing bikes come out and have neon glowing vendor stations. We could team up with Off the Grid and have them park their food trucks there and it would be like an Asian night market! Rock the Bike could have their concert in the dark with lighting effects. It would be like Bike Party but with a dedicated space for the event. How cool would that be? Please Sunday Streets organizers, think about it!
The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) was held in San Francisco this past Saturday. In case you aren’t familiar with WNBR, the annual event is a group bicycle ride taken in the nude, that occurs in 74 cities across 17 different countries. It started in Canada in 2004 as a way of protesting against “indecent exposure to vehicle emissions”. Every year, during the 2nd weekend of March, the San Francisco chapter meets at Justin Herman Plaza. There were about 30-40 naked cyclists and a handful in partial clothing. This is the first year that they held this event after the city’s recent enactment of the public nudity ban (nudity is still allowed at special events and SF’s very own nude beach, Baker Beach), but the ride was still held in full swing (no pun intended).
Happy naked cycling!
- More brain research needs to be done about cycling (the Atlantic Cities)
- Hotels offer bikes to business travelers (NY Times)
- Taxing cyclists is a stupid idea (SF Weekly)
- Update on the new Bay Bridge bike path (CBS 5)
- PSU study shows bicycle commuters are happiest (OregonLive)
- Bicycles wanted in this new Portland apartments (BikePortland)
- Market St. could be Mission St. instead for cycle tracks (SFGate)
- Butter Lap every Wednesday at Ferry Bldg by 7pm
- Santa Cruz Bike Party this Friday
- East Bay Bike Party this Friday
- E-Bike ride and Glide this Saturday
- Love Your Lanes ride in Sunset this Saturday
- 4000 Miles play with free bike valet this Sunday
Another year has gone by since the SF Bike Party first launched and their monthly ride was themed “Terrible Twos” to celebrate their 2 years of partying by bicycle on the streets of San Francisco. They met last Friday at the usual spot at Civic Center at 7:30pm and rolled out a little after 8. The route included stops at the ride’s “greatest hits” spots such as the Palace of Fine Arts and the Children’s Playground inside Golden Gate Park. For those of you who rode with the SFBP back in their exciting first year, the stops at those places were the best and most magical.
But as with many things, a special moment can be hard to recreate and those special nights we remember so well when the stars aligned so perfectly remain a special memory in our hearts. The ride has certainly changed somewhat from before, but nevertheless, they now seem to always maintain a steady couple of hundred people who are down to ride, even in the brutal middle of winter just after the craziness of the holidays.
To all the newcomers (we met a few that night), we hope you will inherit all the magic of riding in unity with the SFBP on the quiet night streets of SF that were shared during the first years of its existence. We hope you will find yourself, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, in a place and time that will transcend all description and will define your experience of SF and what it means to be a part of the bike community here. We wish you happy riding anywhere you might end up, whether on a historic street lined with Victorians or on a hill looking down at the sparkling city lights.
Check out our photos from the ride, below. Too bad we had to leave early (both brakes malfunctioned, can you believe that?) or else we would have taken more. Please let us know if there was anything notable that we missed during the last half of the ride by commenting or sending us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.