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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Muni's So-Called Door-Jumping "Fad" Undocumented on Internet

Posted By on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge We'd have gotten away to our stop if it wasn't for you meddling kids! - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • We'd have gotten away to our stop if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

Back in the primordial days -- 1996 or so -- young, daredevil Muni riders devised a way to satiate their thrill-seeking urges, and do so on the cheap.

On the electric buses of the era, a pair of non-conducting wires descended down the back of the vehicle. They were spooled around a pair of dish-sized objects resembling the bells you'd see on a schoolhouse wall, which were mounted about a shoulder's length apart. Buses had a large rear bumper.

You can see where this is going; it'd be hard to design a more natural hand-and foothold. "We used to call it 'Coasting,'" recalls LaRon Mayfield. He and his younger brother Karim lived on Central but hung out in the Fillmore. So they'd snag a free ride on the back of the 5-Fulton.

The so-called "fad" of young people forcing open the back doors of Muni buses in motion -- "riding the surf" in the parlance of our times -- didn't resonate with Mayfield. Sure, dangling off the back of a bus is dangerous -- but it's also utilitarian. "We just wanted a free ride up that hill."

"Riding the surf" splashed across the pages of both dailies and was described as a "fad" and "trend" -- despite no one having yet located a single video of said moronic activity on YouTube.

"Riding the surf" apparently has a long way to go before it catches up with the Harlem Shake, or even pouring milk on yourself. Maybe the term "fad" or "trend" is a bit strong for something authorities claim has happened 15 times in the past 11 days on a transit agency pulling 700,000 people a day. The purported price tag of fixing doors to make them "riding the surf"-proof, perhaps $2 million, is staggering.

Notes to the SFPD and Muni querying how many electronic devices have been reported stolen on Muni this month have not yet been returned. Here are two guesses, though: A. It's more than 15, and; B. There isn't a $2 million fix in mind.

Two years after Mayfield and his mates "coasted" up San Francisco's hills, a small set of vandals figured out how to pop open Berkeley parking meters via a hammer-strike on the back of a well-positioned screwdriver. "It's so easy!" lamented a city official, who demonstrated to a TV news crew just how easy it was.

The next day no intact meters remained in the city.

Let's hope a spate of articles decrying "riding the surf" don't have a similar effect.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

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