Posted by: carfreerich | June 3, 2009

Car Free Gold Country

There is no better feeling than getting away for a long weekend by train……..with bikes.

Capital Corridor - Oakland to Auburn

Capital Corridor - Oakland to Auburn

Looking for yet another unique car free getaway and hot off the high of our week long “spring ride”, I noticed that the Capital Corridor seemed to have one train a day that actually went all the way to Auburn, which is an hour further east than Sacramento and firmly up into the foothills of the Sierras.   Hmmm…?  How can we turn this into a weekend bike getaway?    Catching the 3:30 train from Jack London Square was easy, even on Friday afternoon as you beat the BART bike ban hours from the city which start after 4.  We opted for Oakland versus Richmond so we’d be starting at the beginning of the line, but you can do an easy transfer at Richmond between BART and Amtrak.  If you opt for Lake Merritt BART, it’s just a 5-minute bike ride to Jack London Square.   We knew that there are about 4 train cars with 3 bike hooks each; however, even sweeter is the bonus 4-bike floor rack in the first car which made our loading and unloading stress free and easy. 

Read More…

Posted by: cbink | May 31, 2009

South by bike with no car.

I’ve written before how great it is to get a boost on your way out of the City with your bike.  Last month we went on a great trip south with a group of friends.  They all started out right from the City on Friday and Saturday, but I had Sunday Streets to attend and attend to so we caught up with everyone in Capitola via Cal Train and the VTA # 17 bus.  Cal Train is super easy; ride to the station, lift your bike up 3 steps into the train and go.   No bumping problems on this weekend afternoon.

The connection to the VTA #17 (equipped with a front rack which holds 3 bikes) is right at the San Jose station and the ride over 17 is fast – just don’t watch your bikes bouncing along on the front rack.  Get comfortable with using the front of bus bike racks – they really extend your range for car lite vacations and getaways.  We’ve never had a problem with a bike coming loose or being stolen – although I hear that can happen in SF – and if it rains your bike gets a power wash.  Just remember to take off anything you don’t want wet or possibly lost over a bump.  I cover my saddle with a plastic bag, remove the water bottles and seat pack and, of course,  remove my panniers.

Read More…

Posted by: cbink | March 18, 2009

Sunday Streets 2009

Sunday Streets is coming back.

More neighborhoods, more Sundays.  We need your help to make it a sucess.  This is a tough year to raise money, but it’s a good year to provide free fun events for people to enjoy.  Bike, walk, dance, yoga and hula hoops – it’s all coming back.

1) Sunday, April 26:   Waterfront Route running along the Embarcadero–from AT&T Park to Aquatic Park.

2) Sunday, May 10:   Waterfront Route in the Southeast Sector, highlighting the San Francisco Bay Trail, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in May. From AT&T Park to the Bayview Opera House, along the Bay.

3) Sunday, June 7:   New route for 2009 through the Mission, engaging new neighborhoods in the Sunday Streets movement.

4) Sunday, July 19:   Same route through Mission.

5) Sunday, August 9:   Great Highway Route. Connecting Golden Gate Park to the San Francisco Zoo, along Ocean Beach.

6) Sunday, Sept 6:   Same route along the Great Highway.

Go to the website, volunteer, donate, join Livable City and help support more fun car free events. Let your City Supervisor know you support Sunday Streets.  Come out and Play.

Photo from SFBike

Photo from SFBike

Posted by: cbink | March 18, 2009

Riding with kids

Hats off to all you SF bikey parents.  We salute you.

The tag-along

The tag-along

When the borrowed child is attached to your bike via a borrowed tag-along, you know where they are.  I assume that kids who’ve grown up in the City, have been a passenger on your bike, have been a tag-along kid, and then get their own bike have a sense of the streets and you feel more comfortable.  Riding behind Rich and Jenny on Fell Street on the way to the park I admit I was a bit worried.  All was fine, but I do wish our streets were more friendly to all cyclists.

Read More…

Posted by: cbink | February 3, 2009

North Coast Weekend

Want to get out of town for the weekend?  Somewhere you can park the rental car and not have to drive again until you leave several days later?  Sleep in a tent while listening to the crashing waves?  Bike into town for dinner without worrying about traffic on the road? We gottcha covered.

Just about 4 miles north of Ft Bragg and linked by a wonderful family friendly multi-use path to Ft Bragg, MacKerricher State Park is a wonderful weekend destination.  We rent a car because we don’t own one, but we were not the only ones with the “get to the campground and don’t drive” mindset.  The family camped next to us was from Willits, just over the coast range, and they did the same thing.

Read More…

Posted by: cbink | December 1, 2008

Marin Day Away

Loaded up and ready to go

Loaded up and ready to go

A few weekends ago we decided that it would be nice to get out of the city on our bikes.  In order to get further then I can pedal out and back in one day, we ride our bikes to 7th and Market and hop on the Golden Gate Transit bus with our bikes and ride back to the City.  How far we go is limited by by how long we can sit on the bus, and how far I can pedal home.  On this trip we got off the 70 at Lucas Valley Road and rode through China Camp, had lunch in San Rafael, and then rode on home to SF. 

Read More…

Posted by: cbink | November 8, 2008

Breathing again.

Now that the election is over I feel like I can breathe again.  Thank you Velo Vouge  for appreciating my flag laden bike on election day.   

Happy Obama Time!

That’s my lock pocket in my basket.  Helps me know I always have my lock and cable when I head out the door.  The orange ribbon keeps the cable from bouncing out of the pocket after particularly nasty potholes, saving me from throwing myself in front of traffic to get my cable back.  On Market Street. During rush hour.

Posted by: Ciaran | November 4, 2008

Fix it yourself


The Bike Kitchen

The Bike Kitchen

The one thing about my bike that I’m permanently struggling with is keeping the brakes aligned.  They get so much use in San Francisco that the pads wear down quite quickly and they never seem to sit properly on the rims or have the right amount of travel.  They’re v-brakes, which for some reason have these strange bearings that give them about eight degrees of freedom and mean you need three hands to keep them in place and tighten the nut.  I’ve been seriously considering buying a new bike with disk brakes just so I don’t have to deal with this any more…


So I decided that instead of fighting with them by myself in the garage again I’d go down to the Bike Kitchen so I could use some proper tools and maybe get some advice on how to fix my brakes properly.  If you haven’t heard of if before, the Bike Kitchen is a do-it-yourself bike shop; they provide the space and the tools for you to work on your own repairs, with some assistance if needed from their mechanics.  For a measly $5 it’s much cheaper then taking your bike to the shop and you learn how to take care of simple maintenance tasks yourself.

It as pretty busy the evening I went down there, lots of people fixing their bikes, a few building their own bikes from old parts and even an out-of-town couple who just came to have a look.  I got my brakes sorted (really I think all I need to do this at home is a decent bike stand) and pedalled happily home.

Bike Kitchen is by no means the only operation of its kind—a friend of mine runs the Bike Station in Edinburgh and there is a (I believe) unrelated network of Bike Stations here on the West Coast.

Posted by: aptonpost | October 11, 2008

Walking the baby to sleep

In August 2008 my wife gave birth to our first kid. We named him Paulo. He’s pretty awesome.

In the 6 weeks I had off from work (just went back this Monday), I spent my time walking around downtown to get him to take his naps (he’s one of those urban babies who just wants to be a part of everything, like he doesn’t want to miss out on what people are talking about). I would throw him in a sling and cruise around Union Square, the Financial District, the Ferry Building…one time I even walked all the way up Hyde Street from Post Street to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Walking around really made me rediscover what a cool city we live in. Most of the time I’m stuck in the Tenderloin dealing with open crack sales and public defecation, but just by walking over Nob Hill, I was reminded that San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. The views are amazing, the local businesses are unique, the architecture is stunning, and when the streets are clean, without traffic, the neighborhoods feel so livable.

Seriously, you can’t really experience all S.F. has to offer unless you get out of the car and walk around. Luckily, the city is one of the most walkable places in the nation, so you really don’t have any excuses to be lazy.

Posted by: cbink | September 22, 2008

Car Lite Vacation in Tahoe

Once you live without a car, or with little car use, your tolerence for sitting in or driving an automobile goes way down.  For starters, they go so fast and feel quite dangerous.  Then, there is the feeling that you are missing so much – zipping by at 50 mph or more.  There is life going on out there, interesting things to see and all you can do is watch out the car window like a trapped hound.

But, this being the west there are wide open spaces that beckon.  State Parks to be explored, hikes to be taken, places you just can’t get to very easily without the gasoline powered four wheels.

Read More…

Older Posts »