Bicyclists Against Oil Wars

Brannan St bike rack In New York City, where dooring is a bloodsport, Transportation Alternatives hands out medals for bravery just for riding to work. Though I miss the Brooklyn Bridge views, bike commuting in San Francisco is a joy.

I bought a map that color codes the hills in pink and red, and marks bike paths of every flavor. I live on a red hill, the kind where you stop for a rest halfway up and see a roadsign that notes that, whatever about that last one, this next block is a HILL. Trucks are not advised on my HILL, and I dismount before I am dismounted.

But once I get to basecamp, on Precita Street, it’s a straight, flat shot to work, and the weather is always mild. It could be Amsterdam, riding on generous bike lanes past crumpled junkies. San Francisco bikers are a relaxed and friendly tribe, swapping notes at the traffic lights and warning out-of-towners away from the hilliest routes. Here, I feel like a full road-user, not SUV prey, at least until the Oakland cars roar off the freeway onto Brannan Street. I wear my dork gear proudly: reflective jacket, reflective velcro clips for my jeans, reflective stickers on my helmet. (At night I arrive in bars with squashed hair and smudged hands, carrying a bike seat, saddle bags, and a helmet. Hel-lo, San Francisco. Come to mama.)

There’s a bike cage in the parking garage at my office building, and we have full showers and lockers upstairs. On a good day, there might be eight bikes, though the hundreds of car spaces are full.

6 thoughts on “Bicyclists Against Oil Wars”

  1. Do they still do Critical Mass once a month? Where all the bicycle commuters take over the roads (with police support) and ride from downtown over the Golden Gate Bridge?

    Oh, I miss San Francisco.


  2. I believe so, and they do it in New York, too.

    In NY it’s organized by Critical Mass, not Transportation Alternatives, and they haven’t been savvy about building support from the police and the politicians. I’m fond of bike hippies, but I think TA’s approach is much more effective, so I didn’t take part in Critical Mass NY.


  3. I had forgotten how many California companies got tax breaks for providing showers in work premises. I have a water bucket just behind the power substation that I can use in Clonmel.


  4. Hi Dervala, its great to see you writing so regularly again. If you might consider a slightly off-beat bicycle protest against oils wars, try – it’s great fun and and happening soon at a city near you! Ranger Tim could bring down his friends from Los Gatos.


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