Bike The Strike!

May 1st - General Strike!
Find an action near you, and stop working, stop studying, stop doing what you normally do and be part of the movement. Connect with your community.

If you're in SF and plan to be on your bike like me, then you should join the SF Bike Cavalry, who will be riding from action to action throughout the day starting at 7 am at 16th and Mission.


Music for our future... powered by YOU!

PRI's The World
followed Rupa & the April Fishes during a leg of Bay Rising - their bicycle powered music tour of the Bay Area with Shake Your Peace! and Fossil Fool. Catch the story on The World today on KQED from 2-3pm PST, and the music story is usually in the last 10 minutes. You can also listen and see the video on the web at http://www.theworld.org.
Your last two chances to participate and help power the concerts are tonight 4/27 at the Sausalito Seahorse and tomorrow 4/28 at The Independent in SF.


Photo du Jour: DIY Back Pocket

This cyclist sewed her own back pocket using a scrap of typical Provence fabric. Captured as she rode away on her Peugeot. Très chic!



This Is San Francisco: The Outside Lands

Known in the 19th century as The Outside Lands - a name that in most hipsters' collective knowledge means a pretty rad summer music festival (it's that too) - the westernmost part of San Francisco reminds us that we city dwellers are still living on Planet Earth, a living breathing organism that supports life.


The Outside Lands is a place between City and Sea.


It is a place where the wild things are.


And it is a place where humans go to find inspiration...





kindred spirits...


or you can go there with your best friend (he'll love it).


But when you go, do yourself a favor:


and smell the flowers.


These photos were all captured during Sunday Streets on April 15th.

Check out Change Your Life, Ride A Bike for another take and Wheelright for yet another.

This has been San Francisco.


Local Bike Business Spotlight: Bread Srsly

Meet Sadie Scheffer and Vanessa Christie of Bread Srsly!

When, why and how did you start your company?

Sadie began playing with gluten-free bread trying to woo a gluten-intolerant boy. It worked! And the bread worked too, and out came Bread Srsly, a gluten-free bread service for sensitive foodies. Started in August 2011, Bread Srsly quickly outgrew one set of panniers. Now we have two beastly cargo bikes, with a third on the way! 

Bike philosophy?

It's a great feeling to share the road, riding happily and responsibly and being respected by drivers and cyclists alike. The world is a happier place on 2 wheels. And we love the self-sufficiency that comes with riding a cargo bike!

Our bikes:

Vanessa: 1982 Schwinn "Traveller" built up this year with a SOMA porteur front rack for deliveries
2003 Specilaized allez for zipping around the city
2010 Fuji CX bike w compact crank
Pedal Revolution lent us a SOMA cargo bike for big delivery and market days

Sadie: Surly Pacer, rear loaded 
Bridgestone X-05, portuer setup, front loaded

Where to find us:

At the moment our breads and muffins are available by pre-order only. We rotate the menu every week (2 loaves and 1 muffin) using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Tuesdays we bake and deliver for San Francisco, and Wednesdays for the East Bay. Bike delivery is free within these 3 zones http://g.co/maps/6q5fu. If outside these zones, there are 3 SF pick-up spots. 

Every 3rd Wednesday, we'll be slinging gluten-free, hand-made sandwiches at the Williams-Sonoma Farmers Market (151 Union St.) and more farmers markets over the summer too.
For the current menu and more info, we're @ www.breadsrsly.com or drop us a line at hello@breadsrsly.com to join our weekly menu mailing list.


the best people live in SF

I ran into Karla Mi Lugo again, riding the same bike but with a different accordion slung on her back. And she was accompanied by a jovial shirtless man in a golden boot.

Karla with shirtless man in golden boot

He reminds me of Diego Forlan (kinda).

The everyday occurrence of happy folks like these two on our streets simply makes me happy to be here. What's great about SF is that happy people flock to the streets all the time, reclaiming the streets for the community. Want more evidence? Check out this awesome slideshow from Grist of what happens here, and why you should come visit.

Give it up for San Francisco.

I love my people.


VV Profile: Liz Cabrera

Name: Liz Cabrera  

Occupation: Producer at Link TV, Documentary Filmmaker  

Raison d'être: I'm really good at giving people a hard time.  

Hometown: Woodland, CA  

Current city/Neighborhood: Mission District, SF!  

Favorite city to ride a bike in in the world: HMM....Portl--I mean SF?  

Helmet or no helmet: Helmet for sure. I feel naked without it.  

Type of bike: Surly Cross-Check

Describe what you like best about your bike: It's sturdy frame can take a beating on these rough San Francisco streets, and can take on some mean dirt trails too.  

Describe your urban cycling experience: I commute daily from my home in the Mission to my office near Telegraph Hill/Embarcadero. I'm on my bike so much that one day my friends were shocked to learn that I have a car.  

Favorite time and/or place to ride: I love riding downhill at dusk. The first time I ever did this in SF was down Post Street headed towards the Kabuki Theatre about 4 years ago... In general, I love the satisfaction that comes with cranking up a really big hill, and then rolling over the crest and letting gravity (and hopefully my brakes) do the rest of the work...  

Tell us a funny story that happened to you on your bike: When I was a student at UC Santa Cruz, I used to ride back to my apartment late at night. It was a beautiful ride! But at night, with no street lights it was pretty dark, and so to avoid being flung over my handlebars by a pothole or ditch I used to wear a headlamp over my helmet. One night, while riding home, enjoying the full moon and the view of the city and ocean below, my headlamp slid off of my helmet and smacked me right between the eyes. Good feeling gone. The headlamp had turned against me.


Not funny enough? One time I was riding home from Bi Rite down Guerrero street and this car almost doored me. I stopped and was about to cuss out the driver when I realized it was my friend. We went and grabbed a drink at 500 Club where I lectured her on the importance of looking both ways before opening the driver's side door.  

Describe your personal style: tomboy-chic?...i don't know kristin, i'm short and curvy. i'm finally learning to wear clothes that flatter me as opposed to only wearing clothes that i'm comfortable in...i'm getting better at figuring out what kinds of dresses i can still bike in without having to hold them down in the wind, or worry about them being so tight that i can't move my legs. before, i usually wore jeans and a t-shirt. i guess you could say i'm finally becoming a lady.


Tell me more about your film and The Great Grandfather Project: My film, Reunion, documents my search for my great-grandfather, Shigeo Naito. He was a Japanese immigrant to the United States who also spent time farming chili peppers in Ensenada, Mexico. He met my great-grandmother there and they had three kids. He disappeared one day in 1941 and the family never saw him again. So, in 2008 I set out to find out what happened to him, and over the course of 4 years not only do I discover my Japanese heritage, but I develop a deeper sense of my Mexican-American identity.  

The Great-Grandfather Club is a project that I developed with filmmaker Alexi Lacey, who is working on a film called Fiji Time. It's about her mother's return to the island of Fiji, where she uncovers the dark past left by her great-grandfather G.H. Lee.

Since both of us are working on stories about our ancestors, we thought it would be fun to collaborate on a fundraiser, and to help community members capture their own ancestor stories. So in addition to setting up story booths at various events like Oakland Art Murmur and the Mission Arts and Performance Project, we're also planning a huge video installation show called Story Vault. Story Vault will help us raise funds for our films, Reunion, and Fiji Time, respectively. It takes place on June 16th at Wix Lounge SF. For more information, please visit greatgrandfatherclub.com  

Vélo Vogue Tip du Jour: I found one in this month's Tube Times, and I'm passing it on because it's something that will help urban cyclists avoid getting doored! "Bike Sharrows, the white bikes with the arrows on the ground, are placed outside of the door zone. Ride right through the middle of the sharrow and you'll stay safe from any swinging doors." I'll probably still err a little on the left side of the arrow for extra clearance, but still a great tip!


I Am Spongeworthy

Some of you already have read about my chronic pain in the ass - a.k.a. coccyx pain, a.k.a. tailbone pain. So I have made a lifestyle change. Instead of a hulky saddle with a nose that makes me look like I have something slightly unfeminine under my skirt, I have made the transition to the Spongy Wonder - a noseless bike seat option, with two spongy pads that your two sit bones fit neatly onto.


 I have had my eye on this seat for a while, mostly out of curiosity, but with all the bike commuting and desk sitting that I do, I decided to take the plunge and go all the way with the sponge.


If you're a little curious about what it's like on the other side, you can check out Spongy Wonder's website. There is an instructional video that teaches you everything you wanted to know about the Spongy Wonder, but were afraid to ask.


And I will keep you posted on how this softer, gentler form of protection feels between my legs, against my privates and under ma derrière.

saddle snobbery

The B-18 Saddle 
Image credit: Shanyn's Pages, a cool web 1.0  bike site 

while KT is definitely spongeworthy, her friend ramona wheelright is a bit of a saddle snob.  The secret to a comfortable saddle in her experience is two part, suspension and materials:
I often find myself only barely joking when I explain my preference for leather bike seats by saying, 'Just as I wouldn't wear plastic shoes, I won't ride on a plastic saddle'.  It is pretty much true.   And just as a leather shoe softens to conform to the shape of your foot, so will a brooks give way to your buns.  In selecting a bicycle seat, I also have a strong preference for suspension.  I think the brooks b-18 with a vertically coiled sprung metal frame and a flower embossed leather top is pretty damn gorgeous and strikes the perfect balance between heavy duty comfort and style.   I have never felt fatigue in this saddle even after long rides, and even on rough rides such as the commute down market street with all its train tracks and potholes.
The B-18 has vertical coil springs for shock absorption. You can bounce on it!

Snoball in the shakespeare garden at night wearing the b-18


easy spirit and drillium

I met carolyn at the March sunday streets and was drawn to her cool rig.  on closer inspection i found that not only is she a true bike person, as indicated by the iconoclast of her easy spirit sneakers and her bike's chain ring drillium, but that she is also a fashionista.  She knit both her amazing and stylish sweater, and her partner Keith's vest.   I think that this couple owns SF pedicab- bike people to the core!
keith owns sf pedicab 
close up of the drillium, or holes drilled out so that weight can be shed while strength and integrity maintained. 
easy spirit and drillium 


The Flower Bandit Strikes!

When was the last time something totally unexpected happened to you and brightened your day? For me, it was yesterday. I went to my usual Monday night yoga class at the gym, and when I emerged, there was a gorgeous yellow rose attached to my handlebars. flowerbandit

It felt like I had a secret admirer! When I went to unlock from the bike rack, I noticed that my admirer had left me a sweet message, with an invitation to art and party!


I ride the Wiggle almost every day. It's an infamous strip of bike route in the Lower Haight that makes commuting home sane and reasonable. It's also a great place to run into bike friends. A group of forward-thinking residents of the Wiggle have organized a party, appropriately called the Wigg Party.

Self-described as "Urban Sustainability Guerrillas," here's a little more background: "The Wigg Party is a community organization based in the San Francisco neighborhoods surrounding the bike route known as the Wiggle. Our mission is to make the community that uses the Wiggle a leader in the transformation to sustainability and resilience." They sound like my kind of people.


This week on Thursday, April 12th, the party is going down at The Independent, also the same night as the Divisadero Art Walk. So really, how could you go wrong?


Join the Wigg Party's facebook page to stay informed. And come out to party on Thursday!

And thanks to the Wiggs for adorning my bike with a fragrant flower!


Strike A Pose

The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the De Young Museum kicked off in style. Last Friday, the museum threw a wild shindig in the foyer, with a hair salon, a runway and Gaultier-clad models strutting their stuff for the paparazzi. 


Here's a fabulous photo set on flickr of some of the models.

I got to do my little turn on the catwalk, but was having such a good time at the party, that I ran out of time to check out the exhibit. It's here until August, so I'm sure to catch it another day when I'm not too busy seeing and being seen.

Meanwhile, my Rouge et Noir et moi I had to strike a pose for one of fashion's greats...

KT Gaultierized 7

well, a pose or two...

KT Gaultierized 3

or three...

KT Gaultierized 6

OK, I struck about twenty, but I will spare you the play-by-play. One thing's for sure:

Vélo Vogue + Gaultier = a perfect match.

Moi et les Males
To top it off, some of Les Males were in Union Square last week were giving away free pedicab rides.

Hellooooo, sailor!

Vive le bad boy de la mode.


tight squeeze?

If you commute up and down busy Market Street every day like I do, you get used to scenarios such as this one:


Many cyclists eeking out their place between other cyclists, busses, streetcars, train tracks, pedestrians, autos and taxis, with a fading sharrow leading our way. Dangerous and intimidating to say the least.

But wait - has our call for help (and justice) been answered? This just in: Bikes Belong has selected San Francisco (among 6 U.S. cities) to receive a protected bike lane. Let us all rejoice (and hold our breath while biking on one of SF's worst streets for cyclists) until our prototype for future bike lanes arrives and some sense is knocked into our administrators' brains when they see how happy and harmonious all commuters are when they each have their own designated space.

And by the way, lady, cute mini!



Bay Rising Tour with Shake Your Peace and Rupa & the April Fishes

I recently ran into Gabe, the bandleader of Shake Your Peace - SF's original bicycle-powered music group - at the Ferry Building Farmers Market on his Xtra-cycle. Gabe_ShakeYourPeace

He reminded me that his band is teaming up with Rupa & the April Fishes at the end of April for a Bay Area bicycle music tour, called the Bay Rising Tour.

Here's a description from the Bay Rising Facebook page:  

In celebration of Earth Week 2012, San Francisco's global mashup band Rupa & the April Fishes and local bicycle music touring veterans SHAKE YOUR PEACE! will present the Bay Rising Tour - pedaling their bicycles 200 miles around the entire perimeter of the San Francisco Bay, presenting concerts with a bicycle-powered sound system that converts the leg-power of volunteer pedalers from the audience into electricity to run the sound system. The purpose of the tour is to give both of the bands, and those who join them on their rides between show stops, an opportunity to learn about the dynamics of the San Francisco Bay Bioregion in an adventurous, sociable, and direct way. The tour is inviting cyclists of all skill levels to join the bike rides between the tour stops; and because each of the band members will be hauling up to 100 lbs of musical equipment behind them on bike trailers, no one is likely to be left behind. The 10-stop tour will include performances in traditional music venues and guerilla art spaces.


For more info about the bands, check out their websites:

Shake Your Peace


 Rupa & the April Fishes