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Old 10-19-2011, 01:00 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,071 posts, read 1,622,655 times
Reputation: 744
Default Bicycle culture growing in the SF Bay Area

If you haven't heard, biking is becoming the new and better way to get around. With rising fuel costs, global warming, and the need to watch our pockets during this rough economy- more people than ever are turning to the bicycle as a means of transportation and are finding out how much they love doing so.

Who's already doing it:

The Danish, notably Copenhagen:




The Dutch, notably Amsterdam:




and Utrecht:





San Francisco is getting better at doing it- In SF, there was a 53% increase in trips taken by bicycle from 2006.

Where bicycle commuting is catching on in the United States

It is a global movement...

- Copenhagenize
- Amsterdamize
- Fixed Gear Girl Taiwan
- Tokyo Bike Culture
- World's Top Biking Cities from Travel & Leisure magazine

Here's why:

1. Can efficiently transport a large number of people. Imagine the space 10 bicycles takes up versus 10 cars.

2. Reduced dependence on fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions and therefore minimizes negative impact on global warming.

3. Saves you money since you don't have to pay for gas, there are no fees for registering or owning a bike, and maintenance is minimal and many times cheaper than for a car.

4. Can in some cases beat out cars and public transport in travel times to places.

5. Can avoid the frustrations of finding parking in San Francisco.

6. Get regular exercise and look and feel better and healthier.

7. Feel connected to your surroundings and fellow humans.

8. Have opportunities to socialize with others in a supportive, friendly, and positive bike community.

9. Discover things in your surroundings you would not notice otherwise.

10. Bicycling while vacationing in a locale is a great way to see the sights and get a feel for the essence of a place.

Sartorially, biking doesn't have to be just about spandex. You can look stylish too!

Cycle Chic
Velo Vogue
Bike Fashion goes mainstream
Fashion designers put their marques on bicycles

Bicycle culture will continue to grow as a means of transportation in SF and the Bay Area and the enthusiasm is contagious:

SF Bike Party (not Critical Mass)
East Bay Bike Party
San Jose Bike Party (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5607500874 - broken link)
Santa Cruz Bike Party
Bike Soiree

Bike Share Program coming soon to SF

SF Bike Coalition


Connecting the City: Crosstown Bikeways for Everyone - YouTube

So get out there on your 1's and 2's and happy riding!
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:58 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,559,322 times
Reputation: 2829
I've always wondered where all those people in Amsterdam park their bikes when they get to work. The problem with biking in SF is that parking on the street puts your bike at risk, and it's up to your employer to provide some kind of space for bike parking.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
17,064 posts, read 11,248,641 times
Reputation: 12445
I am not anti-bike by any means, but I worry we might be trading one problem (too many cars) with another form of private transportation (bikes). Bikes also need parking infrastructure too, albeit smaller.

I think we need to focus our attentions on 4 things:
1. Decreasing car use
2. Increasing transit use
3. Encouraging trips by foot
4. Increasing density around key corridors or residential and commercial uses

Bikes are helpful, but that doesn't eliminate our responsibility for creating complete streets for pedestrians, bikers and people who are disabled or have limited mobility. Biking isn't a panacea.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
17,064 posts, read 11,248,641 times
Reputation: 12445
Here is the stereotypical Amsterdam bike parking image:


Definitely not pretty.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:51 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
331 posts, read 358,482 times
Reputation: 306
I started riding my bike regularly 6 months ago and love it. I am a big advocate for biking now that I've experienced the benefits. I've lost weight and I don't spend money anymore on gas, oil changes, parking, car payments, vehicle registration, or insurance. If you are leasing or making payments on a car those costs can easily exceed $600/month. That's $7200 year I'm saving! Plus, like you mentioned biking is often faster than driving. The other day I made it from North Beach to AT&T park by taking the Embarcadero bike lane; my trip was about 10-15 minutes long. The car lanes, on the other hand, were basically a parking lot. It would have taken at least 30 minutes to drive the same route.

I will say, however, that biking in the city takes some time to get used to. You have to ease into it as honestly it can be a little scary at first. Some drivers can be a bit aggressive - even on the roads that are city designated bike routes, you get honked at occasionally or passed far too closely by drivers that feel entitled to the whole lane. But attitudes are slowly changing and I think the environment will only get better for bikers as more and more people bike, drivers start adjusting, and the city adds more bike lanes. And I should note that the vast majority of drivers are very courteous to bikers and drive safely.

You just have to be safe and ride defensive - always, always wear a helmet. Stop at every light and every stop sign, always. I waited about a month before I felt comfortable riding at night, and when I did I made sure I got proper lights for my bike. Now that I've gotten used to riding around, I'm enjoying it more every day.

I'd love to see more people biking around San Francisco!
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:54 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,559,322 times
Reputation: 2829
Transit in SF is broken and I don't think it's ever going to get fixed. I think a lot of people are turning to bikes in SF because they're tired of having to deal with packed trains and buses they can't even board half the time and the Metro system having meltdowns every other week. At least when you're biking you can leave whenever you want and not have to wait on anyone else, and you don't have to worry about being really late to work due to Muni or BART meltdowns. SF and Muni have shown that they are completely incapable and uninterested in reforming public transit, so IMO they should instead provide lots and lots of very cheap bike parking downtown to atone for their sins. But they'd **** that up too.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,071 posts, read 1,622,655 times
Reputation: 744
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
I've always wondered where all those people in Amsterdam park their bikes when they get to work. The problem with biking in SF is that parking on the street puts your bike at risk, and it's up to your employer to provide some kind of space for bike parking.
Yeah, it is scary leaving my bike for more than 30 minutes no matter how well I lock it up. I do think there needs to be more ubiquitous secure bike parking. I'd be willing to shell out a dollar or two for that peace of mind when I know I will be away from my bike for more than half an hour.

Last edited by mini_cute; 10-19-2011 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,071 posts, read 1,622,655 times
Reputation: 744
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I am not anti-bike by any means, but I worry we might be trading one problem (too many cars) with another form of private transportation (bikes). Bikes also need parking infrastructure too, albeit smaller.

I think we need to focus our attentions on 4 things:
1. Decreasing car use
2. Increasing transit use
3. Encouraging trips by foot
4. Increasing density around key corridors or residential and commercial uses

Bikes are helpful, but that doesn't eliminate our responsibility for creating complete streets for pedestrians, bikers and people who are disabled or have limited mobility. Biking isn't a panacea.
I agree we should continue working on walkability and access for the disabled. Vote Yes on Prop B on the SF ballot- that is a bond measure that will provide funds to "construct or renovate curb ramps and sidewalks to increase accessibility and safety for everyone, including persons with disabilities." "It will fund 2800 new curb ramps. San Francisco has 5,000 corners with no curb ramp at all and another 5,000 curb ramps that are so old and broken down they are a barrier, rather than an aid to wheelchair users." Vote Yes on Prop B. Prop B is also good for roads in general as there would be funds to swiftly fix all those nasty potholes, as well as increasing pedestrian safety.

Last edited by mini_cute; 10-19-2011 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,071 posts, read 1,622,655 times
Reputation: 744
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Here is the stereotypical Amsterdam bike parking image:


Definitely not pretty.
'

That is the worse I have seen of Amsterdam parking. I agree we need to put in more places to lock bikes as ridership increases. I biked around Copenhagen and bike parking in that place wasn't as bad as that photo.

Last edited by mini_cute; 10-19-2011 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
1,071 posts, read 1,622,655 times
Reputation: 744
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil1212 View Post
I started riding my bike regularly 6 months ago and love it. I am a big advocate for biking now that I've experienced the benefits. I've lost weight and I don't spend money anymore on gas, oil changes, parking, car payments, vehicle registration, or insurance. If you are leasing or making payments on a car those costs can easily exceed $600/month. That's $7200 year I'm saving! Plus, like you mentioned biking is often faster than driving. The other day I made it from North Beach to AT&T park by taking the Embarcadero bike lane; my trip was about 10-15 minutes long. The car lanes, on the other hand, were basically a parking lot. It would have taken at least 30 minutes to drive the same route.

I will say, however, that biking in the city takes some time to get used to. You have to ease into it as honestly it can be a little scary at first. Some drivers can be a bit aggressive - even on the roads that are city designated bike routes, you get honked at occasionally or passed far too closely by drivers that feel entitled to the whole lane. But attitudes are slowly changing and I think the environment will only get better for bikers as more and more people bike, drivers start adjusting, and the city adds more bike lanes. And I should note that the vast majority of drivers are very courteous to bikers and drive safely.

You just have to be safe and ride defensive - always, always wear a helmet. Stop at every light and every stop sign, always. I waited about a month before I felt comfortable riding at night, and when I did I made sure I got proper lights for my bike. Now that I've gotten used to riding around, I'm enjoying it more every day.

I'd love to see more people biking around San Francisco!
Great to hear about your experience getting into regular biking in SF.

Yes, it is true that riding on the streets can be intimidating at first. I hope the increase in ridership and addition of better infrastructure can help people get over their nerves about it quicker. But after the fear wears off, it is so much fun riding around. There is a definitely a sense of freedom you cannot get from riding in a car.
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