Castro cyclists: A few tips and where to stop for Bike to Work Day tomorrow!

Biking to work (photo: SF Bike Coalition)
Biking to work (photo: flickr/SF Bike Coalition)

Hey Castro cyclists and cycling rookies, tomorrow marks the 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day. San Francisco has seen an increase in bicycle ridership over the past few years and tomorrow is a great opportunity to try out riding to work for the first time.

The SF Bike Coalition has set up energizer stations all over the city in celebration of this event. In the morning, cyclists riding from the Castro to downtown can find these stations at 17th and Valencia and 12th and Market.  On the evening commute, they will be located at Duboce and Market and 19th and Valencia. Along with picking up free goodies at each of these stations like lights and tote bags, bike doctors will be available to help you with simple maintenance issues such as lubing your chain, adjusting your bike seat, and fixing a flat tire. District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener will also be leading a Commuter Convoy to City Hall from 17th and Market at 7:45am.

Cycling to work can be a lot of fun, but let’s not forget that this can come with hesitation from new riders. There are some important things to keep in mind especially if you are riding to work for the first time. Here are some helpful tips that serve as a friendly reminder for both new and veteran riders:

  • Always wear your helmet, even if it’s just for a short ride. It doesn’t take much to fall and seriously injure yourself. So please, put on a helmet.
  • Watch out for those MUNI tracks! They’re dangerous. Remember to go over them at a perpendicular angle.
  • Carrying basic tools can come in handy if you happen to get a flat while on your way in. So bring a spare bike tube, tire levers, and wrenches.
  • Don’t wear headphones. Yes, listening to music is nice on the commute, but it distracts you from hearing things like sirens, cars, and other riders.
  • Hey you! I see you texting. Put your phone down and enjoy the ride.  Having both hands on your handlebars will allow you to navigate any obstacles. So put that phone away and leave phone calls and texts for later.
  • Plan ahead. Map out your route to work and consider any high traffic flow streets. Try to stay off any busy streets if you can.
  • Don’t be a ninja cyclist. Make sure your bike is equipped with both a headlight (white) and taillight (red).
  • Consistently pay attention and scan ahead.  Drivers aren’t always going to be predictable, so it’s important that you look out for yourself.
  • You might be tempted to roll that stop sign or run a red light, but if you get caught it’s going be an expensive ticket. Give yourself plenty of lead time to bike to work so you don’t have to rush.
  • While it might be warm and sunny in the morning when you leave, don’t forget that the fog may roll in and make your evening commute cold. So pack an extra layer just in case.
  • Remember, if at any time the bike lane is blocked or presents a hazard, you are allowed full use of the lane of traffic.
  • Riding your bike can sometimes be dangerous. If you ever feel unsafe or unsure of what to do, step off your bike and walk with it on the sidewalk. There is no reason to put yourself in a dangerous situation.
  • Are you over the age of 13? If the answer is yes, then stay off the sidewalk while riding your bike. It’s both dangerous for pedestrians and illegal.
  • Please be courteous to other riders. There will be a lot of new riders out there, so let’s all make them feel welcome.  Pointing out hazards like glass on the roadway can make everyone feel like a part of the community.  Remember, you once were a new rider too.
  • Lastly, HAVE FUN!!

You can find more information about Bike to Work Day at:

http://www.sfbike.org/bike-to-work-day/

Steven Bracco

Bay Area born and raised. Living in San Francisco since 2003. Avid 49ers and Giants fan. Love bicycling, running, movies and beer. Follow what Steven Bracco is up to on Twitter.

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3 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    REMEMBER, They are called SIDEWALKS/CROSSWALKS. Want to turn people against bicyclist? Ride on the sidewalks and in crosswalks. Now you don’t have to wonder why you hear “Asshole!” as you pass me.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  2. Mark Vogel says:

    Too bad the Bay Area Bike Share doesn’t extend to the Castro yet.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  1. May 8, 2014

    […] Bike to Work Day (Hoodline, MM, Castro, Biz, Giz); Press Event at City Hall, 8:30 AM […]

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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