Business suits, speed suits and birthday suits
Built on both counterculture and entrepreneurship, San Francisco is one of the unique cities of the world. The diversity in lifestyle is matched by the complexity of its terrain and surrounding geography, fostering a dynamic, one-of-a-kind bicycling culture. The mild Bay Area climate, coupled with the compact 7-mile-by-7-mile footprint makes all the city’s wonderful assets easily accessible by bike, year-round.
While some routes are challenging due to the steep inclines of San Francisco’s hilly terrain, that doesn’t discourage many riders from riding single-speeds or even fixed-gear bikes. Most destinations can be accessed by leveraging The Wiggle. This bike route is an SF landmark that snakes through multiple districts and Golden Gate Park on the way to Ocean Beach, all while avoiding the steepest hills of the city.
Activism for bike rights, and the birth of the Critical Mass monthly cyclist advocacy ride, has ensured an ever-expanding bike infrastructure. The city supports riders wearing business suits, speed suits and birthday suits. Bike commuters cruise between work and the office in the network of downtown bike lanes, dodging the occasional city (or Google) bus. Many rig their bikes for trips to neighborhood farmers’ markets or a lazy afternoon at Dolores Park. Bicycle-based startups have benefitted from the San Francisco early-adopter attitude, speedily delivering supplies of banh mi, coffee and other vices across the city.
The city’s cyclists don’t stop where the pavement ends. A short trek across the Golden Gate Bridge transports riders to the Marin Headlands, the birthplace of mountain biking. Hardcore riders can even be found within city limits, pounding the single-track trails under the shadow of Sutro Tower, one of several mountain biking networks located within the city limits.
Cycling in San Francisco isn’t just a way to get to and from work – it’s equal parts utility, recreation and political voice.