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.

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.

 

 

 

This needs to be our new jam

This police scanner recording from a couple months ago in response to a reported hookup in Delirium’s bathroom would make a great auto-tuned song.

Dispatch: “Okay, it’s a 311 at 16th and Albion … at The Delirium? And there are people having sex in the bathroom, no description.”
Officer: ” … No sex seems to be happening.”
Dispatch: ” … 311, 16th and Albion, no sex happening.”

Let’s make that happen, someone with musical skillz.

Another abandoned plan for the Mission

Looks like last night someone set about giving this neighborhood what it really needs, a ball pit.

But then things got a little too messy and they had to take care of it.

Why are people so weird about paying a $5 cover to see a band or DJ?

Here’s a status update from our pal Matt who sometimes works the door at a local nightlife venue:

I’ve worked a few doors in recent years, and it always baffles me when people are baffled by a $5 cover. Bands and DJs and door people and bar backs and bartenders work hard. Don’t freak out, just pay the little $5, right?

P.S. Remember Jane Parton?

Station Identification

(null)

S.S. Lucia Shipwrecks into Ritual Coffee

This afternoon Ritual Coffee hosted a grand opening party to debut their new parklet, the S.S. Lucia, run aground by Captain Concordia pictured below.

The parklet includes a custom bike rack designed by Boor Bridges (same guys that designed the Four Barrel bike rack) with collaborative input from Ted Gon at Muddy Orange Fabrication.

The rack comfortably accommodates 6 bikes in a space only 4 feet wide.

 

Non-profit Círculo de Vida loses lease

In case you missed it, Capp Street Crap did a great writeup today on Mission-based non-profit Círculo de Vida losing their lease as tech company Double Dutch expands into their space in the Bay View/US Bank building.

Círculo, which serves primarily low-income immigrants who lack health insurance, provides a wide range of services – from support groups for people with cancer and their children to wigs and prostheses, case management, and in-home support for the terminally ill. Founded in 1992, it has spent the last 11 years at 2601 Mission. Now, it must leave by March 31.

Carmen Ortiz, Círculo’s founder and executive director, said that another non-profit on her floor had to leave after its lease wasn’t renewed last year and that DoubleDutch is now in that space. Even so, Ortiz said she was still surprised to receive a notice from her landlord, knowing the kind of work Círculo does.

Double Dutch claims that they didn’t know their growth was at the expense of Círculo de Vida’s displacement. Nevertheless, it’s a bad sign for our future when we lose a resource for low income Latino families dealing with cancer, so that a tech tool that helps with marketing and events can grow larger. There’s nothing wrong with Double Dutch, or the service it provides, as far as I know (and I didn’t know about them before today), but this city is becoming increasingly unable to take care of the citizens that need its help the most. I have worked for a San Francisco non-profit for almost eleven years and we have had to do a lot of restructuring over and over to be able to stay alive and effective. Even with our efforts, we would not be where we are without the grace of a landlord that truly understands what it means to invest in this city. Unfortunately, Círculo de Vida does not have such a landlord. SF real estate tycoons Vera and Robert Cort have long been targets of community & housing activists, for destroying historic murals, threatening and harassing tenants into leaving, and, in DotCom1, kicking out non-profits to bring in tech companies (number 14, under “Small-Time Scum”). Read on for the larger story on Capp Street Crap.

[pic from Círculo de Vida's Facebook page, via Capp Street Capp]

UPDATE: CSC has a response from Vera Cort.

TGIF vs. SNICK, this weekend at the Roxie!

As part of SF IndieFest, a very special presentation at our little neighborhood movie house:

Channeling the inner recesses of our TV-addled brains, SF IndieFest seeks to settle the age-old question: What was REALLY better, the 1990 line-up of ABC’s TGIF Friday night pre-teen programming block (Full House, Family Matters, etc.) or the absurdist oasis that was Nickelodeon’s 1993 iteration of SNICK (we’re talking Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Peter & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Are You Afraid of the Dark?)

(SNICK rules, no contest, right?)

RSVP and invite your friends!

Gigantic bag of whippits discarded on San Carlos Street

[via CORNTARD]