There Will Be Blood, and Cold Beersodas

I recently joined the ranks of 95% of the Mission dwelling hipsters, and got myself a fixed gear bike. I said I’d never do it, but the amount of time I spend city riding these days, plus the fact that Swobo, a bike clothing company that I’ve much loved during both their 1st and 2nd incarnations, introduced an insane line of city bikes were major factors in leading me down the path to stripped down no brake bliss.

I’ve been intrigued by track bikes since me and a bunch of my BMX buddies went and saw the bike messenger film, Quicksilver, for my 14th birthday. But, because I’ve always treated my bikes as take me on-road, off-road, down stairs, off drops, over jumps and pretty much anywhere else vehicles, I never really thought much about getting one lest I beat it unusable (which I quickly did with my one road bike when I tried to bunny hop it over an 8″ curb at speed).

Anyways, one of the bikes that Swobo released was their fixed gear Sanchez model. It’s got a really cool lookin’ Galvanized frame with white rims, chain & handlebars and a seat that’s outfitted with a bottle opener. A friggin’ bottle opener. Tizight.

The more I thought about getting it, the more I was like, “well, a fixie should be a custom thing and if I do it right it will really mean buying everything separate and putting it all together”… and then So! brought me to my senses. She said, “yo!, your time is very limited these days, so if you want it, then just get it and be done with it.” I’m so glad I listened to her. I finally picked my Sanchez up a few weeks ago, and the thing is a blast!! A few sketchy moments on the first couple of rides, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. It’s seriously been a long time since I’ve been really challenged by my bike, and I am stizoked to be this excited about riding again. Let’s just hope I can figure out how to stop the thing…

Sanchez, not dirty

Honky chain

Finally, a friggin soda

3 Flavs, 2 Rides

When Matt & Sarah were out in SF for X-Mas with the rest of the fam, we took some time to go on a couple of EPIC Bay Area rides.

The first one, down somewhere near UC Santa Cruz, was shown to us by Bob and Friends. Probably one of the most fun rides I’ve ever been on in my life. It was 18 miles of climbing fireroads and bombing completely insane Redwood-tinged single track. I have no idea where we were, and would never be able to find my way around in that network of trails if I were to go back by myself. Bob & Co. were a killer bunch of peeps to ride with, though, so I’ll just have to have them show me around again some time.

The second ride, the 30 mile Home -> GG Park -> Presidio -> GG Bridge -> Marin Headlands (Bobcat & Miwok) loop, was one that I know all too well. It’s a blast of a ride as well, but given that it’s a City to fireroad grinder and back, it’s completely different than riding in Santa Cruz.

We had a killer time on both rides, and I was stoked to finally be able to show M&S what mountain biking in the Bay Area’s all about. Too bad we just scraped the surface… good thing they’ll be back one day for some more!!

3 Flavs, Super Secret SC Ride

Matt & Sarah, Golden Gate Bridge

Big Flav & Lil’ Flav, Marin Headlands

Flav & Big Flav, Marin Headlands

Matt, Bomb into Tennesse Valley

Sarah & Matt, Tennessee Valley Stables

Yo T-Third, Where’s My B-Bike Lane?

I remember first hearing about the new Muni Light Rail line that was to connect downtown SF with Hunter’s Point via the Third Street Corridor back in early 2000. It was just a few weeks after we had started up (RIP) over in Potrero Hill, and we were all super stoked that we’d soon have a decent public transit option for quickly getting to and from work. Well two years came and went, 911 took place, the bubble burst, and macroplay went down with the ship. Sadly, it all happened before the new Light Rail was ready… sadlier, it was about 5 whole years before it was ready, in fact.

So here we are in April, 2007, and the new Muni T-Third rail line is finally open!! Yay? Um, not really… not only was this project over budget and behind schedule but the first few weeks of service have been a nightmare of a debut, frought with bottlenecks, delays, confusion and some extremely frustrated passengers.

But I’m not here to talk about all that. Why I’m writing this is because through all of the conversations and news coverage and fanfare and other blah blah blah about the T-Third rail and the new Mission Bay and connecting downtown SF to Hunter’s Point via the redone Third Street, there’s one thing that I’ve yet to hear mentioned by anyone: WHO FORGOT TO PUT IN THE BIKE LANE?

Wow, for a city that has led the way in the introduction of bike lanes over the past 15 – 20 years, this is a huge oversight. Or maybe it was intentional? The Third Street corridor hasn’t historically been the most highly travelled or densly populated part of the City, so I can see how it would have been off of the radar of the SF Bike Coalition and other groups that have done an amazing job of fighting for safe biking in SF. I can see Willie Brown and his cronies back in ’99 or so thinking, “You know, adding support for a bike lane on either side of Thrid Street is gonna cost a lot of money as well as take up precious space. Sure we’re essentially ripping up the whole thing, putting in new sewage and other infrastructure and re-laying Third Street, but the SF Bike Coalition is looking the other way right now, so…”.

So now we’re left with a newly paved two way street, that’s wide enough to fit two lanes of traffic, and some curbside sewage/water drains. Yup, the sewage drains won out over the bikes. Sure, the water needs to go somewhere, but does it really need to be collected a foot and a half out into the street? There’s no doubt that bikes are going to come down this road… hell, I ride down it at least once a week. And when Mission Bay fills out and traffic really starts flowing, and people are strolling down the sidewalks and bikes have nowhere to go, there are going to be accidents. And they ain’t gonna be pretty. Gavin Newsom’s possee needs to wake up and do something about this while they still can.

Let me take you on a little photo journey starting at 16th & Third, heading north to the ballpark…

There’s a flat sewage grate up there, but looks pretty wide other than that.

Drivers are leaning left in the lanes, which makes it wide enough for all of us.

Uh, oh. Pitched sewage grate with thin grate meshing. Nice for water flow, bad for bike tires.

Good thing I’m riding my mountain bike.

Ok, guess I’ll just get used to rolling over these grates. At least there’s plenty of space that way.