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Friday, January 21, 2011

Wigg Party Celebrates One Year Rallying Around the Wiggle Bike Route

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 2:44 PM

click to enlarge Kids: Now's your chance to meet some truly dreamy cyclists! - MATT SMITH ILLUSTRATION
  • Matt Smith illustration
  • Kids: Now's your chance to meet some truly dreamy cyclists!
Matt Smith illustration
Kids: Now's your chance to meet some truly dreamy cyclists!
In the 1830s, Abraham Lincoln's Whig Party advocated domestic production, protectionism, and improvement of roads and railroads. For the past 12 months, Morgan Fitzgibbons' Wigg Party has rallied one score and seven (or so) young people around hyperlocal production of clothing and food, and improvement of neighborhood roads and light-rail lines.

It's all centered around The Wiggle, a zig-zag bike route connecting Market Street to westside bedroom neighborhoods. On Feb. 11, the Wiggs will hold their first anniversary bash, celebrating a year of political and lifestyle advocacy rallying around the route as a symbol for earth-friendly ideals.

"It's about making the

community that lives around The Wiggle the leader in the movement toward

sustainability," says Fitzgibbons, 27, an Ohio transplant and Internet entrepreneur. "We can't change the world from where we're sitting. But we can

change our neighborhood."

click to enlarge Self reliance, better roads? That's my kind of party!
  • Self reliance, better roads? That's my kind of party!
Self reliance, better roads? That's my kind of party!
So far, change has meant positing The Wiggle -- a series of turns connecting downtown and the neighborhoods by following an ancient,

relatively flat riverbed -- as a sort of independent hippie nation. The

group has organized produce giveaways, pickle-making, sewing, and other off-the-grid crafts. It soon plans to

create a Wiggle-neighborhoods-only scrip. On Feb. 11, the group invites San

Franciscans to celebrate all this with an electronic music bash

featuring MC Zulu and Future Simple Project,

at Sunshine Castle, the name Fitzgibbons uses to describe the communal

Victorian he inhabits with his friends at 1571 Fulton St.

It might seem ironic to wrap a bundle of arduous political objectives around a bike route chosen specifically to avoid the physical effort of climbing hills. But Fitzgibbons says making seemingly impossible objectives fun and easy is part of the point.

"We've produced a series of progressive dinners, where we essentially have an excuse for all our friends to get together, have dinner together, eat local food, and have skits, and a talent show, and have fun with each other around local food," he says.

The group joined bike activists who've attempted to convince transit planners to make dangerous portions of The Wiggle, including a four-way bike/train/car intersection at Duboce and Church Streets, safer.

They've gleaned unsold farmers' market produce and given it away "to make human calories rather than pig calories." They've put together "carrotmob" shopping sprees, designed to reward businesses that agree to make changes to improve the world. Sometimes, the group meets to "chalk the Wiggle" with "messages, art, things that inspire people when they ride the Wiggle every day," Fitzgibbons says.

The Feb. 11 event will begin at 8 p.m., when Wigg partisans will meet for an hour to plan a strategy. The electronic music begins at 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome, Fitzgibbons says. For those not sure if they're ready to dive into full-on Wiggism right away, he invites attendees to test the waters by just coming out to dance.

"If you just want to party, meet cool people, and

contribute to a great cause, come to the music after the meeting," he said. "Typically at a Wigg Party party, the meeting section is 25 to 30 people, and when it's just social it balloons to 50 or 60 people."

Or as the famous Whig Lincoln might say, three-score people.

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