Category: Oakland

Brompton Urban Challenge coming to Oakland!

New York

Hello Brompton fans,

Bay Area Bikes will be hosting North America’s first Brompton Urban Challenge right here in Oakland, CA. What a delightful treat!

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.54.34 PM


Here’s an email I received from Bay Area Bikes and want to pass it along.

Dear Christopher,

Pedalfest, our annual tsunami of bike fun is right around the corner. New to this year’s event offerings is Brompton’s first-ever North American Urban Challenge. For the uninitiated, Bromptons are simply the most fabulous compact folding bikes around and as the Bay Area’s most renowned Brompton dealer, we’re honored to be the first to host this event. The Challenge will take the form of a scavenger hunt with all types of bikes tooling around downtown Oakland in hot pursuit of famous landmarks, hidden gems, and highlighted bicycle-friendly businesses. 

I’m inviting you, as a fellow business owner or community leader, to create a team of your cohorts to participate in the Challenge! Make it a team-building event; challenge a neighboring business; have fun with it! 

Rules are simple: follow a series of clues across the city, snap photo evidence of the answers and post to social media. Interpretation of the clues earns extra favor in the eyes of the judges (oh yes, there will be prizes)!  The route will include classic Oakland landmarks and a mix of special locations only revealed on Brompton Urban Challenge Day. 

No Brompton? No problem! Register for the Challenge and we’ll hook you up with one of the limited Bromptons available on a first asked basis. Or you can bring your own bicycle, provided that your team has at least one participating Brompton rider. 

The Challenge starts and finishes at Jack London Square and runs from about 10-4. Family and friends can partake in Pedalfest activities while you’re on your challenge, and can track your adventure by following the hashtag #BUCOAK.  And since your registration includes a free Pedalfest beer token, you’ll be sure to want to stick around after and take in all the Pedalfest activities. 
Take the Challenge and show your Oakland knowledge and pride on July 25th!
Register here!

Car Parking or Street Safety

Do you ever wonder why all of a sudden a bike lane ends for any practical purpose? It’s most likely because space for cars is more important than your safety on the road. As long as there are enough space for both cars and bikes, then you will have a bike lane. Where that’s not possible, bike lane will most likely convert into a bike sharrow or disappear altogether. And street parking is usually the culprit.

The watered-down Polk Street plan in San Francisco is a prime example between car parking vs bike safety. On Polk St., merchants or shop owners believe that their customers need street parking to frequent their shops. Surveys have shown that 85% of the people patronize their business come either by foot, bikes or buses. It is more than likely they are fighting the spaces for their own cars.

In any case, what about when shops are not present, is parking spaces still required? Nonetheless, I have found a few examples showing car parking is still given priority over bike safety when riding around the beautiful Lake Merritt in Oakland.

On that section of Lakeside Dr., not one shop is present. You can hardly see the "bike lane end" sign to the right behind the parked car. This is a long stretch that doesn't have either a bike sharrow or bike lane. What's the deal when most of the Lake has it?

On that section of Lakeside Dr., not one shop is present. You can hardly see the “bike lane end” sign to the right behind the parked car. This is a long stretch that doesn’t have either a bike sharrow or bike lane.

The photo above shows a typical dysfunctional bike lane. Bike lane ends because car parking takes precedence over bike safety. Obviously, there is not one shop there. So, why is car parking necessary? Don’t people come to the park to stroll, jog or picnic? Any urban park like this should be promoting active transportation but not at this park. Not to mention, car parking ruins the curb appeal of this beautiful lake and endangers pedestrians when they cross the streets.

And why is the “Bike Lane Ends” sign posted right where the bike lane ends. What do you want bicyclists to do when they see a sign like that? Go ride on the sidewalk? Pull over and walk our bikes? Also, the sign is not visible when it’s posted far away and behind a parked car? At the very least, urban planners should be placing those stupid bike sharrows beyond this point.

Next, I want to show you (traffic planners) why a bike lane should be continuous. Below is a series of photos showing a cyclist is being endangered where a bike lane ends at Lakeshore Ave. and MacArthur Blvd. You could see that the cyclist was swerving away and resume it’s position afterward. This is a problem every rider faces when a bike lane ends. This sure as hell is going to scare everybody who is on the fence of riding with the current bike infrastructure or there lack of. The reason for this is because up ahead there’s space allocated to a handful of parking spaces (photo 5 of the series). This section is adjacent to the 580 MacArthur freeway and bike lanes should be continuous to provide that safety to cyclists.

1. Bike lane ends and bike sharrow begins at Lakeshore and MacArthur Blvd.

1. Bike lane ends and bike sharrow begins at Lakeshore and MacArthur Blvd.

2.  Cyclist has to swerve to let the bus go. A dangerous moment everytime.

2. Cyclist has to swerve to let the bus go. A dangerous moment every time.

3.  Cyclist has to completely  pulled over to let the bus go.

3. Cyclist has to completely pulled over to let the bus go.

4.  Cyclist now has to resume its position on the road.

4. Cyclist now has to resume its position in the middle of the road.

5. Car parking on Lakeshore Ave. and MacArthur. There's car parking everywhere but why there?

5. Car parking on Lakeshore Ave. and MacArthur Blvd. Do we need to sacrifice street safety for 7 parking spaces?

I used to live in Grand Lake neighborhood and the scariest part of my commute is riding on this stretch. When I found out from Bike East Bay Coalition that they will installing bike lanes, I was excited to go check it out. Now they do have a bike lane but not yet painted (see dashed and light markings in photo), and new bike sharrows as seen in the photo below. So yet again, the same old theme still applies. A brand new bike lane that is half-assed because of car parking. This is especially bad, because it disappears at mid-block. A no-no protocol in any street planning manual.

This area is on Grand Ave. heading north into Grand Lake neighborhood. Notice a new bike lane will be installed soon but ends again for car parking.

This area is on Grand Ave. heading north into Grand Lake neighborhood. Notice a new bike lane will be installed soon but disappears again for car parking. This is especially bad because it ends mid-block.

Shops are nowhere in the vicinity. Just car parking for the park for 8 freaking vehicles over the safety of cyclists? Yes, there is a farmer’s market every Saturday but there’s also plenty of parking nearby, a parking lot under the freeway (not shown). Drivers can argue that a Grand Lake movie theater is nearby, however, there’s also another parking lot around there.

I don't see any shops around. The Grand Lake Theater has a parking lot nearby, so no need for these extra spaces for cars.

I don’t see any shop around. The Grand Lake Theater up ahead has a parking lot nearby, so no need for these extra spaces for 8 cars.

So, it boggles my mind to think that even when shop keepers are nowhere to be seen to fight for parking spaces for their presumed customers’ base, then why do we still having this ridiculous traffic configuration? What’s crazy is that a park is for people to enjoy tranquility and recreational amenities that a park provides, why is bike infrastructure so incomplete? Lake Merritt is a perfect place to bike. It’s only 5.5 km (3.5 miles) in circumference, perfect distance for a nice ride. Moreover, you would think that any new bike lane installments, urban planners would know how to best implement them. But, of course bike safety is never in their mind to begin with, or are they just that incompetent?

Bay Area Bikes – Burglarized

Hello all,

It’s very sad news to hear that the Bay Area Bikes shop on Broadway was burglarized this past weekend. It’s a unique bike shop that provides service and products that no other bike shop in Oakland can match. It is this bike shop that Nellie and I got our Bromptons, and got to know its friendly staff.

Our new Bromptons in Bay Area Bikes shop

I just can’t believe that all these bikes that once decorated this shop, and now all are gone.

Most of the Bromptons and Tern folding bikes were stolen, and a couple of Stromer electric-assist bikes (without battery chargers) and an Xtracycle cargo bike. Here are the lists of the stolen Tern and Brompton folding bikes.

In case you can’t identify these bikes, here are some typical examples of them.

Tern and Dahon bicycles look like this.

Tern and Dahon bicycles look like this.

This is what a Brompton looks like.

This is what a Brompton looks like.

This is a Stromer e-bike.

This is a Stromer e-bike.

A example of an Xtracycle bike.

A example of an Xtracycle bike.

See below is the police report.

Chris Bolton Chris Bolton, Oakland Police Department 
In the early morning hours of October 25, Bay Area Bikes in Uptown Oakland was broken into, resulting in the near-total loss of their folding bike inventory. 46 bikes in all were taken: 15 Brompton folding bikes, 20 Tern folding bikes, 3 Dahon folding bikes, 2 electric Stromer bikes (without battery chargers) and 1 Xtracycle cargo bike. OPD was able to make arrests and recover some of the Tern folding bikes quickly due to the actions taken by observant community members; in 4 separate circumstances, citizens saw something that wasn’t right and called OPD – officers were dispatched, arrests were made and bikes recovered.In addition, the business owners were able to quickly provide Dropcam footage to OPD that aided in identification and arrests within hours of the break-in.The community’s help is still needed to help locate stolen bikes and arrest those responsible for this crime. Attached are pictures representative of the bikes taken. These bikes are rarely sold second-hand so any offer to sell a bike of these brands or matching the descriptions should be considered suspect and you should call OPD’s non-emergency line at 510-777-3333.Bike theft continues to be a big problem in the Bay Area. Protect your property by registering your bike; this will aid in reuniting you with your bike in the event it is stolen. Bike East Bay has more information and a link to a free open-source database at


Bay Area Bikes needs your help. Please report to the police if you see any suspicious activity regarding these bikes. Bromptons are rarely sold used in the market.  And you’re not going to see a lot of Stromers on the market either.

And please sign this petition to demand Craigslist and eBay to require serial numbers when bikes are sold on their sites.

Thank you for choosing to bike!

It wasn’t Thanksgiving Day yet, but we felt we wanted to do something to show our appreciation to fellow bicyclists- those who choose a bicycle over a car to get to work. Therefore, we got an idea to pass out some treats to people who were passing by with their bikes.

First, Nellie made a prototype of the kind of treat we would be giving out.


Then she made a whole bunch more.


Last Friday evening, August 22nd, we handed them out to bike commuters coming off the Jack London Square ferries. Here are some photos of some of the folks we met.






Nice Guy


Nice Gal


Curious Commuter


Another happy commuter


Thank you to all of you who choose to go from point A to point B by bicycle!

Happy pedaling!


Cycle Chic – Outfit of the Day


Who: Nellie
What: H&M stretch dress in purple, Express cargo jacket in gray, Fjallraven Kanken backpack, Brooks Addiction sneakers (recommended by my podiatrist for foot problems =p), silver hoop earrings
Where: Oakland Chinatown
When: Friday evening, August 15th
Why: Riding to meet Chris at the Jack London Square ferry station, then dinner in Chinatown at Shooting Star Cafe
Featured Bicycle: Biria mini velo

Velo Love

You all know that the French word for bike is “velo” and with those four letters word, it can spell out “love” in English.  It’s so fitting, right! Because we know how much we love our bikes and if we our significant others have bikes they would love each other as much.  =)

bikes in love3

bikes in love2

Vehicles blocking bike lanes pt. 2

This parking patrol on a Saturday morning with no cars on a two vehicle lanes directional street, and he still parks on the bike lane.

On a Saturday morning with no cars on a two vehicle lanes one directional street, this parking officer blocked the bike lane instead.  He can’t even park next to the curb to give citations.

Pathetic! Bike lane is blocked by two trash bins. That is how bicyclists are treated.

Pathetic! Bike lane is blocked by two trash bins. That is how bicyclists are treated.


UPS truck parked on the northbound side of Franklin St. in downtown Oakland – May 2014.

Hello fellow bicyclists,

Last time, I wrote a post about bike lanes being blocked by all sorts of things from delivery trucks to piles of dirt. I had never seen a vehicle parked outside a bike lane, but there was this UPS delivery truck that to my surprise did something out of the ordinary-park on the outside of the bike lane. I wanted to thank the driver but he/she wasn’t there. But this time, I saw another UPS truck parked outside the bike lane and was able to catch the driver. I asked the driver, “Is it the company’s policy to not block bike lanes? It’s the second time I’ve seen this.” She shook her head, no. Then I asked, “Did you purposely park there to leave the bike lane open?” To my surprise, she said that she just didn’t want to block any cars that wanted to park or leave. Anyhow, I still wanted to let her know that it’s a good thing she didn’t block the bike lane because it can be dangerous for cyclists to have to weave out into traffic when bike lanes are blocked. She said, “No wonder! There was this female cyclist earlier waving to me to say thank you but I didn’t understand.” I hope that the UPS driver, knowing what she knows now, will do the same thing everywhere when she’s behind the wheel.

Yep, we bicyclists still get no respect!


UPS truck parked on the southbound side of Franklin St. in downtown Oakland – June 2014.

Be safe and cycle well!

I gave the driver of this USPS van and he nodded. I think he knows why I did that. Respect!

Similar to the UPS parking spot, another delivery van parked outside of the bike lane. I gave this USPS driver a big ‘thumbs up’ and he nodded. I hope he knows not to block bike lanes.