Bicycles

Critical Mass at 20

The movement changed the rules in cities all over the world — and almost, almost, took the Bay Bridge

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steve@sfbg.com

I was in Zeitgeist on a Friday summer evening, at a planning meeting for the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass, when I first heard about the idea of kicking off the celebration week with a renegade bicycle ride over the Bay Bridge.

The people who first shook up the city's commute two decades ago were going to take the idea of seizing space from cars a step further — and fulfill a longtime cyclist fantasy. They were going to take the bridge.Read more »

East Bay buzz

BEER + WINE ISSUE: A self-guided bike tour to up your brew IQ

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caitlin@sfbg.com

BEER I will not re-enter the one-sided debate of whether the East Bay is cooler than San Francisco (we covered that in our much hullabalooed April 11 cover story, helpfully titled "San Francisco's loss") But I will tell you this: one side of the Bay Bridge has less hills. Less hills being a boon for the drunk biker in us all.Read more »

See ya, SAD: Post-Car Travel Agency pops-up with mid"summer" vacay inspiration

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It wasn't until I was lying on an office park lawn just south of Jack London Square yesterday, staring back at the Transamerica Pyramid-studded fog bank that currently consitutes our city, that I could acknowledge that Seasonal Affective Disorder is effectively ruining my life and most likely, everyone else's in San Francisco these weeks.

Thankfully, that epiphany was quickly followed by a visit to the antidote, the Post-Car Travel Agency. It's easy for city-dwellers to forget, but it is possible to access sunshine, san automobile, whenever one has the saddlebags to do so. The pop-up agency has popped up on Shotwell Street at the Storefront Lab, where it will be offering bike trip planning know-how, way-flash pannier bags in Bay-inspired colorways handmade by Seattle's Swift Industries, more park guides than you can shake a stick at, and a photo show by Eric Jensen everyday through Fri/24. They also had PBR on my trip to the shop's daily happy hour from 6-9pm yesterday, because any good bike tourist knows malty beverages make the road less rough.  Read more »

Bernal Heights pumps up the volume

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Climb Bernal Hill as a sweaty pedestrian and you just might descend by flying down on a futuristic -- newly charged! -- electric bicycle. Or at least, with a fully-juiced iPhone. Starting this month through the end of the summer, a collaboration between Sol Design Lab and The New Wheel has brought the city's newest solar energy recharging station to Bernal Heights. Plug in your speedy e-bike, or hell, electric toothbrush. Read more »

The Performant: Street people

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Midnight Mystery Ride and Marshall Weber take it to the streets

It’s quarter to midnight, Saturday night in the Tenderloin, and out front a well-known, Geary Street watering hole, a cluster of cyclists is quietly gathering. It’s the May edition of the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride, and comers are mellow, enthusiastic. Lacking the Testosterone Brigade of Critical Mass, or the themed costumery of the San Francisco Bike Party, the distinguishing factor of the MMR is definitely the “mystery” aspect. The address of the meeting location is published the day of the ride only, no route maps or pre-planned itineraries are available, and the ride leaders and locations change each month, keeping everyone on their toes, or at least their pedals. Read more »

Tour de F*ck You: Sons of Science speak!

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In our recent Bike Issue, we profiled several of our favorite Bike People -- freewheelin' movers on the 2012 bike scene we particularly admired. Among them, for how could it be otherwise, were the Sons of Science, an augmented trio of musical bike-tivists whose side-splitting viral "Motherf*cking Bike" video hit lampooned and celebrated SF's precious, in-your-face bike culture. 

John Benson and Ward Evans of Sausage Films teamed up with amazing bike horn soloist Hector Pérez for the one-off (perhaps?) project -- and there are plenty of juicy local cameos in the video. Benson and Evans took some time from sippin' lattes on their fixies (kind of!) to answer some questions.

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Love on wheels

From electric hawkers to video high-flyers: this year's movers on the bike scene

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In honor of our annual bike issue, we wanted to highlight a few of the free-wheeling people that polished our spokes this year. Keep on pumpin'!

KAREN WEINER AND BRETT THURBER, NEW WHEEL

On a family-oriented strip of Cortland Avenue perched halfway up the precipitous heights of Bernal Hill, husband-wife team Karen Weiner and Brett Thurber have invested their all in an enterprise some would deem experimental: the first electric bike shop in San Francisco.Read more »

20 percent by 2020

What would it really take to meet the city's ambitious cycling goal -- and do leaders have the political will to get there?

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steve@sfbg.com

There's no doubt that San Francisco is one of the best cities in the United States for bicyclists, a place where near universal support in City Hall has translated into regular cycling infrastructure improvements and pro-cyclist legislation, as a slew of activists and politicians will attest to on May 10 after dismounting from their Bike to Work Day morning rides.Read more »

Fixie freaks, this weekend's for you

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If riding fixed gear bikes on BMX-style ramps and structures sounds like something you'd think up after a half-case of energy drink, take heart oh palpitation pal -- it was in fact dreamed up by Red Bull. Also, you'll be able to check out the absolute chaos on Thu/26 and Sat/28 sans worries of smashing your own over-caffinated brain box all over the asphalt. Read more »

Is San Francisco ready for the electric bike?

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"I'm so excited for that hill!" I shouted. And I was on a bike. 

I've never been excited for a hill on a bike before. But last week I tooled around on an electric bicycle with Karen and Brett Thurber, the husband-wife owners of Bernal Hieghts' sweet-swanky new shop New Wheel. We did about half of a 49-mile scenic drive (the one created in 1939 for the Golden Gate International Exposition that was meant to showcase the city's then-new neighborhoods), went up Twin Peaks, and I felt like a million bucks at the end of it.

I tell you this at the risk of sounding soft to pretty much every biker I know, but: "e-bikes" are fun. You can decide yourself -- New Wheel's always open for test rides, and it has a weekend of festivities planned Sat/31-Sun/1 to introduce the metal steeds to your loins. If you're open.  Read more »