Celebrating San Francisco With a Sunday Streets Bicycle Ride

biker_baby.jpgBiker baby looking cool. Photo: Matthew Roth
The second of six Sunday Streets was a great success as thousands of people got out on a glorious sunny day to pedal, blade, run, skate, and stroll along the waterfront from AT&T park down to India Basin and the Bayview Opera House.  By coincidence, my father was in town and I got to take him on his first bicycle ride in a city.  Not a bad way to show him the type of streets we might hope to enjoy every Sunday all year long.

We started the morning by riding down from Bernal Heights along 26th Street and Cesar Chavez, the latter of which compelled us to jostle with speeding traffic east of the 101.  No bike lanes there until the last two blocks between 280 and 3rd Street, so we did our best to make ourselves visible by taking a lane.  Once we arrived at 3rd Street, we rode south in the traffic lanes, which were open to cars.  It was a minute or two past 10 am, so I assumed the SFPD just hadn't closed the road, though I would soon find out only the east side of 3rd Street was closed. 

3rd_street_closed.jpgThe view north on 3rd Street from the Bayview Opera House

When we arrived at the Bayview Opera House, several people were tabling and explaining to surprised passersby that the street was closed all the way up to AT&T Park, that they could rent bikes or skates and partake in the fun themselves. 

dick_and_sarah.jpgMy father on his first city bicycle ride and my girlfriend

After the good folks at Mike's Bikes did some minor tune-ups on our bikes, we got on and rode up our car-free side of the street, still a little leery of how traffic was supposed to function.  At some of the intersections, the police were waiving us through red lights, at others they were directing traffic both ways.  At one intersection, a truck tried to make the green light while cyclists were crossing the red, apparently with the officer's consent.  When the truck came through the intersection, the officer screamed at the driver to stop and several cyclists darted around. 

One of those cyclists, a very familiar silver fox of a man with a beard and a huge smile, said in a booming baritone laugh, "Look at me, I was almost an accident."  I did one of those double takes one does when vaguely recognizing an old friend or family member, though I couldn't place him.  When the same man passed us as we were leaving Heron's Head Park, my father rode up to me and said, "Did you see James Coburn just ride by?"  Unfortunately I couldn't find him in the crowd, or I would've posted his picture right here.

Instead, I offer you this photo of SF's finest, getting down. If only I were shooting video, I could have shown you the action as the guy in the middle with the smile proceeded to funk another officer in a very PG-13 way to the hip hop beats blasting from just off screen.

cop_dance.jpgTime and a half never looked so good.

Further up the road we found the SFBC tent bustling with happy staff signing up new members.  By now the crowd was beginning to thicken, with a number people riding rental bicycles and those ungainly-looking three-wheeled swaying scooters, which I assume were also being rented somewhere along the route.  The best three-wheeled conveyance, however, had to go to this guy, who played saloon standards right out of a Western.  You know, those Westerns with three-wheeled piano bikes:

piano_man_small.jpgPhoto: Bryan Goebel

One of the cooler parts of the day for me was the opportunity to run the bases at AT&T Park.  Clearly I wasn't the only kid enjoying it:

father_son_bases.jpgFather and son rounding the bases at AT&T Park

Be sure to come out to the first of two Mission Sunday Streets on June 7th. Route to be announced, though we think you'll be impressed.

Some more fun pictures below, including Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and Assessor Phil Ting in their bike gear:

sophie_small.jpgSupervisor Sophie Maxwell and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting. Photo: Bryan Goebel

Picnic_table.jpgPhoto: Bryan Goebel

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