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Sara Young in San FranciscoSara Young in San Francisco, CA.
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Sign in San Francisco
By Sara Young
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Today is my last day in San Francisco. I can’t believe how quickly it has gone by. As for my observations regarding bicycle commuting and the bike culture in San Francisco, I have noticed many things:
1. There are tons of bike paths and bike lanes in San Francisco. They make commuting in this city much safer.
2. The bike route signs are incredibly helpful, though, as a tourist, knowing nothing of the numbering system, the pictures on the signs are much more helpful than the numbers.
3. There is a lot of bike theft here. I spoke with at least ten people who have had parts of bikes or entire bicycles stolen out of garages, off of racks and in one case, from under her nose.
4. San Francisco is a dense city, filled with people just trying to figure out how to squeeze in. This causes a lot of stress and brings out an aggressive tendency in the people here which also exists in cyclists.
5. The roads in San Francisco are in horrible shape, and in poorer neighborhoods, almost unusable condition along bike lanes. The city could do with some investment in street repair.
6. San Francisco is a beautiful city to see and smell from a bike. The neighborhoods change quickly and with them, their aromas. Chinatown, Little Italy, The Mission, Pac Heights, and many, many more have distinct and delicious scents hanging in the air.
7. Riding through the streets on a rental bike is incredibly safe and comfortable. When people see the little bag with the “Blazing Saddles” logo on the front, they know I am a tourist and often ask if I need help finding my way. It has led to many great conversations about the city.
San Francisco has been, for the most part, a joy to commute in. While the hills are formidable, the scenery and the people have more than made up for any unpleasantness I have experienced while riding. If you visit or live in San Francisco, I highly suggest commuting by bike.
Sara Young is a writer, artist, cyclist, amateur yogi and avid poetry appreciator. Originally from Chicago, IL, and most recently from Portland, OR, Sara is presently traveling the US, working on her project, 25 Days, in which she travels to 15 cities around the US, talking to people about their favorite places and bicycle commuting. She hopes to create a more bike-friendly society through advocacy, and a more peaceful world through listening.