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Friday, August 15, 2014

The 5 Best Views of the Bay Area by Bike

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM

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Maybe it's because I'm from the flatlands of the flyover states, but I tend to gravitate toward the hills anytime I ride. So this week I decided to incorporate some breath-taking beauty into those hellish hills and pedal some of the toughest climbs in the Bay Area. 

It wasn't easy, given my time constraints (deadline) and tired legs, but it was satisfying nonetheless. 

So here it is, the five most scenic bike routes that embraces both brawn and beauty.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Transportation Ballot Measure Fails to Balance Transportation Needs

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 3:02 PM

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A bunch of people have collected 17,500 signatures to push an initiative onto the November ballot dubbed Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco. You'd assume with a name like, the measure might actually address balancing transportation needs of the city’s population.

Then again, you might also assume the Tea Party is about tea.

The major parts of the initiative are aimed at exclusively benefiting drivers. According to the initiative, "balance" can be achieved by allowing more free parking at metered spots, lowering parking fees, prioritizing cars over bikes, and the putting motorists on the SFMTA board. 

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Hipsters, Rejoice! You Can Now Charge Your Smartphone While Riding Your Fixie.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 7:55 AM

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When Aaron Latzke and David Delcourt launched the Kickstarter campaign for their "Siva Cycle Atom" on Tuesday morning, they gave themselves a month to amass $85,000. When I spoke to Latzke yesterday afternoon, some 54 hours later, they'd raised more than $58,000.

The masses (at least, those among them willing to send money to strangers on the Internet) have spoken: charging your iPhone with your bike is an idea worth throwing lots of cash at.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Street Fight Details the Fight Over Politics and Mobility in S.F.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

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I ride a bike for many reasons --and almost all of them are boring. Convenience, independence, a desire to be passably healthy and to spend as little money as possible on my own transportation -- all of these factors contribute to make cycling my preferred method of conveyance. These are, with some variation, the same reasons that most regular bicyclists choose to get around the way that they do and they are all perfectly mundane, personal, and apolitical.

So I'm always a little surprised how any discussion about cycling can easily devolve into a frothy-mouthed squabble over city planning or the California Vehicle Code. But really, I shouldn't be surprised, says Jason Henderson, an associate professor of geography at SFSU, because, as he puts it, the "allocation of street space" is always an inherently political proposition.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Local Bike Gets an Ed Lee Makeover, Mustache and All

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 2:11 PM

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  • Joe Eskenazi

At first glance, you might have thought this mustachioed bike was a new addition to the Lyft family -- a taxi transport for our two-wheeled friends. But alas, this bike parked in the Financial District yesterday afternoon is neither a member of the Lyft family, nor does it belong to Mayor Ed Lee.

In fact, as were admiring the creative cycle, its owner appeared and informed us the mustache on this bike was a product of Molletta Design, a San Francisco-based company/coffee shop that "really gives a crap about what goes on you and your bicycle."

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Is CEQA Bad For Bike Projects?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 8:29 AM

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I wade into the ongoing debate over CEQA, with much unease.

For starters, the minute that I start to explain that CEQA stands for the California Environmental Quality Act and that San Francisco City Hall's administration of that particular law is the subject of a long-running and heated political discussion, particularly over the question of which municipal body gets to adjudicate which appeal and in regard to the timing of the petition process and ... never mind, you've probably already hit the back button.

For those of you still with me, here's the other reason I worry about writing this: Those who follow this issue seem to follow it very closely and with a level of vociferous conviction that makes my equivocating self a little nervous, because as a cyclist and a citizen, I can sympathize with both sides of this argument.

To back up, CEQA is the 1970 state environmental protection law which says that any project built, funded, or approved by a government body in California needs to pass ecological muster. Whether it's major city development projects, state high-speed railway plans or that tool shed you want to build in your backyard, the relevant agency has to ask whether "there are feasible alternatives or feasible mitigation measures available which would substantially lessen the significant environmental effects" before signing off on anything.

Key to all of this is that the law also allows for us lowly plebs to engage in that review process.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Q&A: Green Lane Project Explains Why Bikes Are Actually Good for Business

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

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No matter the grade of the street, getting a separated bike lane installed anywhere in San Francisco is always an uphill battle.

On Polk, local businesses have stalled an MTA proposal that hinted at the possibility of a cycle track, decrying the plan's removal of parking as an attack on the economic vibrancy of the neighborhood. Over in the Panhandle, the vision of twin lanes on either side of the DMV building funneling cyclists safely between the Wiggle and the park remains glaringly unfulfilled as the Oak project is delayed yet again. And all along Market Street, where the Bicycle Coalition has been pushing for separated lanes from Octavia to Embarcadero for years, well, why would you want to bike much farther than 8th Street, anyway?

Fortunately for local bike lane backers, Martha Roskowski is on the case. As the director of the Green Lane Project, Roskowski is leading a two-year effort to help six cities that are "national leaders" (that includes San Francisco) to get an Amsterdam-grade system of separated bike lanes on the ground as quickly as possible.

In celebration of the project's first birthday -- and to get Roskowski's thoughts on the future of cycling in the city -- I spoke to her via phone at her Denver office this week.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Space -- The Final Frontier

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:45 AM

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Musketeers. Little Pigs. The number of polyester-era sitcom stars before you officially
have "Company." Many things seem to come in threes -- just hopefully not gubernatorial
vetoes of legislation intended to keep bicyclists safe.

Acting on the proposition that the third time really is a charm, Los Angeles County
Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) has offered the following tweak to the
California Vehicle Code:

The bill would prohibit, with specified exceptions, the driver of the motor vehicle
that is overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a
highway from passing at a distance of less than 3 feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. (emphasis added)

This is yet another iteration of the so-called "three-foot passing law." And, yes, we have
been here before.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Cars vs. Bikes: The Battle for Polk Street

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 7:45 AM

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If you have both a car and a vested interest in actually being able to park it somewhere, it's possible you're feeling a little put upon these days.

Indeed, such that San Francisco's War on Cars exists (and don't worry, it doesn't), the last week has seen major developments on three of its fronts.

The onslaught began at Market and Dolores. By approval of the Planning Commission late last week, that intersection is soon to be "bulbed-out." That means more sidewalk, more greenery, more walkable, sittable, and hang-outable plaza space where multimodal urbanites can lock up their bikes, tie up their dogs, and munch on their kale chips outside the Whole Foods which will soon occupy that corner.

That also means -- you guessed it-- one less lane to drive in on either side of the street.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Here's Why You Should Love Having Bikes on BART

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 7:40 AM

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Heads up, BART riders: the cyclists are coming.

Once again, BART has decided to temporarily drop its rush-hour bike blackouts and open its (often dysfunctional) doors to pedalers for the morning and evening crush. As seasoned BART riders already know, bikes of the ungainly, unfoldable variety are usually kept off the trains between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and again between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m, but starting Monday, it'll a multimodal free-for-all.

Perhaps you don't welcome the prospect of having to cozy up with some stranger's Cannondale during your ride to work. Perhaps you foresee scads of inconsiderate cyclists illegally descending the escalators upon the work weary commuters, helmet-butting their way onto crowded cars and knocking over priority seaters with their angular metal handlebars. Perhaps you've heard that if this pilot is deemed a success, the laissez-faire policy will probably be made permanent and that this dystopian vision of the future -- an oily chain stamping onto the side seam of your pants forever -- fills you with dread.

Stop your worrying, bike-less commuters.

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