Last chance to score one of Helen Tseng’s wolfy feminist bike posters!

Helen designed these for ARTCRANK last year, and it’s about to go out of print (probably in advance of Helen’s new design for this year’s ARTCRANK), so get it while you still can.

[via Helen on Tumblr]

Google buses are out of control

Our pal Inna saw her life flash before her eyes this morning:

Ok not even funny anymore – I just had a terrifying moment with a Google bus turning from 24th onto valencia that nearly killed me and one other person. We had the green light still – it was very clearly green, and he just plowed into the intersection. Cars stopped and honked, people screamed, and even google’s minions waiting in line to board the thing looked up from their phones.

I don’t even know what to do – who do I complain to? Who will listen or care? It’s simply not safe for these gigantic buses to have complete reign of the streets. It’s a terrible feeling to not feel welcome in your own city- this is the icing on the cake.

I also experienced a harrowing moment last week while biking north on Valencia approaching 25th Street.  One of the behemoth buses pulled up alongside me and then tried to beat me to the stop on the NE corner, almost pinning me to the sidewalk.  Luckily I was able to maintain control of my bike and sprint past it, but damn!

I don’t drive, but if I did I would be livid with these buses.  I routinely see a tech bus chilling at a green light waiting for another tech bus in front of it to finish its business at the stop located across the intersection.  So imagine you’re stopped behind a bus at a green light and it just sits there for a couple minutes while the lights cycle through, and finally when the first bus is finsished unloading or dropping off or whatever does that green-light-chilling bus cross the intersection and awkwardly pull over in just enough of a diagonal to continue blocking the street.

Did we really kill the 26 Valencia Muni just so these giant out of-control buses could run wild?  I know it’s a broken record at this point, but just remember that these buses are another example of something that incoveniences (and sometimes endangers) the public and whose only benefit is increasing profit for private companies (by enhancing their recruiting efforts and employee productivity).

Essentially, all the buses really do is transfer the extra minutes that their employees would have to wait if they took regular public transportation along to everybody else.


When a stolen bicycle shows up again

Our pal Alicia takes us through it:

A year ago my bike was stolen. It was not the end of the word. Someone wonderful lent me an interim bike, eventually I bought a new bike at a very reasonable price and it had gears – and I had long needed gears. At other times on my life I would have felt that harder, I was greatful for that. Today I was walking across the street from the place where it was stolen from and there was my old bike frame- worse for the weather – and with new handlebars ex cetra but it was it. I went home, gathered the old paperwork- sure enough the numbers matched.

I did not want the old bike back. My apartment is small, the resale value would be low. It had been gifted to me in the first place and served me for 5 years. But bike theft is a big problem. Eventually-Reluctantly I called the police. …

Then it rider came down the stairs. Sweet Latino guy about my size. Construction worker with his fellow workers. Said he bought it at the flee market. They assured me he was an honest guy, I believe them. He offered it back. I told him to keep it.

Around the time that bike was stolen, I had a big flower pot of succulents stolen off the stoop. I’ve often thought how much I would like to see them again- not to have them back-but just to see if the poppies ever came up, and how they all grew and changed.

I was glad to see my bike again, glad to meet the guy who was riding it around, glad he wasn’t an asshole. Glad it was something that helped his life. This is all to say, don’t steal. Which means many things. Peace be with you dude. Peace be with you little bike. More peace guys. Spread the resources more evenly.

As Vic always likes to say, bicycles are a temporary loan from the universe, and as Alicia’s poignant artwork shows us, there’s a lot more important things out there for us to worry about.

Bay Area Bike Share (aka BABS) is expanding like crazy and wants your input

Woohoo! Bay Area Bike Share is finally going to become the totally awesome, totally useful public good we always dreamed it would be! And they need some help deciding where to put all the new bike stations! Visit to input your input!

(I had previously stated that I’d be happy as long as there were stations at St. Francis Fountain, Dolores Park and the Secret Alley — but I’m also cool with millions of stations everywhere you look throughout every nook and cranny of the Bay Area.)

Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day, don’t forget!

It’s fun — lots more bikes on the road, “energizer stations” all over town giving you bananas and tote bags — and it’s important politically. Get your tires pumped up, dust off your helmet and hit the road!

Here’s a partial map of where to find the bananas:

The SF Bike Coalition‘s special Bike to Work Day page has the full map and lots more info and stuff.

(The photo above is of local artist Jono Brandel explaining to a bunch of commuters on the Oakland-Alameda Ferry last week why riding a fixed-gear bicycle is much harder than riding a regular bicycle.)

200th Bike Rack, Bombed

You know that moment when Valencia is quiet? Early before all the shops open? I show up to work and there’s a woman out front knitting quietly on a little folding stool. A real live yarn bomber.

I wasn’t expecting her to be so open or charming. I thought yarn bombing was done anonymously in the shadows. I started asking questions and here’s what I learned.

Emily Stauffer ( has been doing this since 2010. As sweet as she is, she started out of snark. “All my friends kept sending me this yarn bombing story that had gone viral. It got kind of old saying ‘Yeah, I saw it. Thanks.’ So I decided to yarn bomb something so that I could say yeah, ‘I’ve done it. Thanks.’”

“5 years later, this is probably my 200th bike rack.”

Emily has bombed pansies in a garden, statues, fences, mail boxes and pink flamingos in a neighbors yard (the only time she’s yarn bombed on private property). But her favorite thing to bomb is bike racks.

“I’m so opposed to yarn bombing trees. Trees are beautiful. They don’t need improving. Let’s add some color to something that needs some help. An ugly fence. A steel bike rack.”

“It took me by surprise that the bike community appreciated it,” Emily said. “I used to just cover the very top of bike racks – the most visible part. But I kept noticing that people would slide the yarn down to one side. Eventually I figured out that bikers were doing that to protect their paint from getting scratched by the rack. Since realizing that knitting racks was actually functional, about 95% of my yarn bombing has been on racks.

Emily’s work tends to stay up anywhere from 24 hours (in the Castro) to a year.

When strips get boring, Emily throws in an Easter egg like this Charlie Brown stripe.

Do you recognize this pattern? Take your best guess in the comments below.

So how long does it take to yarn bomb 5 circular bike racks? Emily does most of the work in what she calls “found time.”

“10 minutes while waiting for the bus. Another 10 minutes because the bus was full and it just passed me by. 20 minutes on the bus. I don’t really sit at home and work on a project like this.” When pressed, Emily confesses, “I probably spent 60-70 hours on this one.”

I thanked her for her contribution and with a smile she corrected me, “my egregious act of vandalism.”


121 Year Old Route Resurrected

In 1894 the Pullman Strike cut San Francisco off from all physical communication.

From the San Francisco Examiner on July 7, 1894:

“An enterprising citizen of Fresno has organized a bicycle mail relay from that city to San Francisco to carry letters only. The route taken is west to Gilroy, then north through San Jose to this city.”

For $0.25 you could have a letter carried relay style from a bike shop in San Francisco all the way to a bike shop in Fresno. From there, or 16 other cities along the route, the local post office could deliver your letter right to the recipient’s door.

This weekend the route will be recreated. All that’s left is to get some mail.

In 1894 each letter was carried on the backs of 8 different bike messengers over 210 miles. The journey took about 18 hours, riding single speed bikes on mostly unpaved roads.

800 stamps were produced so quickly that an glaring mistake was overlooked. San Francisco was misspelled San “Fransisco.”

Full story here: Ingenuity, Murder, Fraud and Fixies (San Francisco in 1894)

On Friday a small group of friends will commemorate this ride by departing from a bike shop in San Francisco and tracing the same route to Fresno. None of them are bike messengers, and in fact, this will be the longest ride of their lives.

All they need now is mail.

This is where you come in. Stop in Mission Bicycle Company any time between now and 6:00 pm on Friday night if you would like to send a commemorative postcard to anyone in Fresno.

Don’t have any friends in Fresno? The recreators will hand deliver a message to any of the following stops.

After 121 years, the price remains $0.25.

Gone in 15 seconds

Watch this bike thief defeat what looks like two separate locks in probably less than 15 seconds:

Contact info is on the YouTube page if you happen to have any helpful info for the victim.

1K Attend Mission Crit

Estimates indicate more than 1,000 lined the half mile race course earlier this evening for what was possibly the first legal bike race to take place in the Mission.

76 racers competed in two races that lasted about 40 minutes each.

“There was one crash but it was minor” said volunteer, Stephen Grady. “It seemed to be very well taken care of. The paramedics were on it but everybody walked away from it.”

Nearing the final lap, Marc Marino about to overtake his friend Chas Christiansen.

$700 in cash prizes were distributed to the podium finishers of both the women’s and men’s races.

Winners – Women’s

  • 1st Veronika Volok
  • 2nd Kora Colasuonno
  • 3rd Christina Peck

Winners – Men’s

  • 1st Manuel Barra
  • 2nd Marc Marino
  • 3rd Chas Christiansen


1st Legal Bike Race in the Mission. Ever?

This Saturday about +70 people will be racing what may be the first fully legal, closed course bike race in the Mission District. Ever.

In NIMBY, USA it’s a miracle out of scripture that Mission Crit organizer, James Grady, was permitted (literally) to carve out a triangular velodrome on a Saturday night.

The total cost to produce the race is nearing $10,000, which is coming from a handful of sponsors and a crowdfunding campaign. In an unconventional move, the SFMTA agreed to waive the $30,000 fee normally charged to reroute buses. Some members of ISCOTT, the committee that regulates street closure permits, “were dumbstruck,” Grady said. Race registration fees go towards cash prizes for the winners.

Mission Crit features two 120 degree turns. Spectating should be good and harrowing.

Spectators can buy tickets to win prizes like Kryptonite locks, Tshirts, and GoPro cameras. Proceeds go to the San Francisco Bicycle Messenger Association’s Broken Bones Fund, which helps messengers in times of need.

Last year’s Mission Crit featured 20 racers in a parking lot. This year the mens race sold out and has a waiting list of 17. Two teams are coming up from Los Angeles.

In organizing the event, what was most remarkable for Grady was, “how supportive the Bay Area bicycle community is. I’m just a guy with an idea. This could not have happened without the overwhelming support of the community.”

Sunday’s 60 Minutes piece on the other coast’s brakeless fixed crit.

Like any track race on a real velodrome, all bikes are fixed (no coasting). And while it may seem counterintuitive, riding brakeless is essential to the participants safety.

“There’s been a dramatic increase in the popularity of cycling but there are very few opportunities to see an actual bicycle race” Grady said, explaining his motive for organizing the race. “The goal of the Mission Crit is to promote cycling and community.”

Wanna race?

The men’s race is at capacity but if you’re a woman (1 in 10 registrants at press time) there is still time. Register here. Winner gets $200 in cash.

Official Rules:

  • Fixed gear only (no freewheels)

  • No brakes. Even if they’re disconnected, take ‘em off.

  • Drop bars

  • Clipless pedals strongly encouraged

  • Lights and GoPros permitted

  • Helmets required

Wanna watch?

Just show up this Saturday, 4/11. The women’s race is at 8PM, the men’s at 9PM.

The best spots for watching should be 18th and Treat, or 17th and Harrison. If you want an inside corner (to get closest to the action), stake out a spot before the race begins. Crossing the course during the race is extremely dangerous for you and the racers.

To make sure the crit is invited back next year, pack out your trash and use the provided Port-a-potties.