All you have to do is ask for a free code.
Even though it doesn’t serve the Mission yet, I LOOOOOVE Bay Area Bike Share (and bike share programs in general), and I can’t wait for it to go citywide. Give it a try!
There was a long-running gag on this blog for a long time where we’d show a picture of some wild bicycle-related thing and title it “The purest form of cycling.” Internet legend Sexpigeon started it.
We haven’t done it in a while. This is a good one I think.
[via Mission to Market]
Here are a bunch more…..
Our pal Zach, who you may remember as the infamous seeker of holiday romance, recently had a run-in with some local bike thieves that ended in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE:
HOW I LOST MY BIKE (THEN GOT IT BACK 15 HOURS LATER)
This whole situation was (most likely) avoidable and entirely my fault. But, y’all wanted a story, so here it is.
HOW I LOST MY BRAND-NEW TRACK BIKE
Do you know those once-every-three-years drunks where you do something incredibly stupid and out of character?
No? Just me? OK, well, this was one of those.
After a long day of riding and racing at Quake City Rumble, I figured I’d get my party on. Been working and training hard, plus organizing the finale race, so I felt I’d earned a good tear.
Long story short, after hopping around to a few spots I left my coworker’s birthday party sometime between 2 and 3am. (I sort-of-not-really remember leaving but apparently had promised to walk my bike home)
Now, even when I’m on autopilot, I’m pretty OCD. Phone, keys, wallet – I never lose my necessities. But when I woke up at home around 8 or 9am, and looked at the spot where I keep my bike, it was empty.
Not only did I just get this thing, I’m supposed to race it at the Wolfpack Hustle Finale Crit in Austin next weekend.
Commence freaking out.
But I can’t freak out, because today is the Mountain Lion, the biggest and baddest alleycat in San Francisco. And I won it last year, which means I’m organizing it this year. This keeps me mentally occupied from dwelling on my missing bike and hating myself too much. I post a picture of the bike describing my situation, and since bike people know all too well the pain of a missing machine, it becomes shared quickly across social media.
HOW I GOT MY BIKE BACK
The Mountain Lion ends and we’re hanging out at Potrero Del Sol Park. It’s about 5pm and I’m ready to tuck into a burrito when I get a call from my buddy Demi. He says his friend Eli is pretty sure he spotted my bike downtown; I get his number and give him a call.
“Yeah, your bike’s on Market near New Montgomery.”
“Are you sure it’s mine?”
I don’t believe this is happening but Eli rattles off a part list and now I’m 100% sure; plus it’s one of only 3 Heavy Pedal Axiom frames in the Bay Area.
“There’s eyes on my bike near Market and New Montgomery!” I yell.
Sardine, who is in charge of organizing this weekend’s events and is also great at shouting, hears me. “Oh shit, for real?” He turns to the crowd of racers and chillers, “ANYBODY WANT TO HELP THIS MAN GET HIS STOLEN BIKE BACK, HE’S GOING DOWNTOWN NOW!”
I start pedaling. Adam Shapiro, Brian Dooley, Carlos Balam, Matt Vanaman and possibly some others (sorry if I forget) are in hot pursuit; especially impressive because I just threw a hard-as-fuck race that these guys all finished (to the tune of almost 50 miles and 5500 feet of climbing).
I have my phone on loud for updates, and sure enough, Eli rings me every couple of minutes. I don’t like dipping through traffic while yakking on the phone but it’s sort of a necessity in this situation. The target is riding my bike around Civic Center. OK, no, now he’s at 5th and Market. So at this point it’s Dooley and I tearing down Market street.
I’m scanning the crowds and I spot my bike being walked on the sidewalk. I see Eli getting off his phone (he’s been following the thief this whole time) and pointing to the guy with my bike. He’s a big, gnarly looking white dude covered in tattoos and I get the feeling he’s been to prison at least once.
Well, Mr. Thief hops off the sidewalk and is about to mount up. I immediately flip a u-turn and box him in to the curb from the front and side, with Dooley pulling up right alongside and behind him.
I don’t remember exactly what I yelled in the heat of the moment, but it was just something gruff and direct like “Off the bike, man. That’s my ride.”
The dude very quickly dismounts and hands the bike over to me, spinning some bullshit about buying it off Craigslist this morning. I tell him I don’t want to hear it and just like that we’re off with the bike in hand, just as Matt and Carlos show up. The whole thing is over in 15 seconds.
I ghost ride my recovered whip back to my house, and invite my posse in for some shots of good bourbon and some beers. I put the bike back in its spot, and we roll back to the park for the weekend’s award ceremony.
I’ve never been so depressed and mad at myself, then so elated in less than 24 hours. Bike people are the best people when it comes to looking out for each other. I got incredibly lucky here, but I am eternally thankful to everyone who was keeping an eye out, and who came to help, and especially Demi for the tip off from Eli, who followed the thief like a total crime dog.
Btw, winter is coming. Do you have a holiday girlfriend/boyfriend yet???
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]
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.
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.
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 suggest.bayareabikeshare.com 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.)
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 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.)
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 (fogknits.com) 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.”