Hop on a Bike in San Francisco

San Francisco’s bicycle culture is evident in the great number of cyclists on Market Street, and in specialty bike shops and other accommodations, with many concentrated in the Mission District. Here are interviews with four businesses related to San Francisco’s bike scene.

Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours

This bike tour was rated No. 1 for things to do in San Francisco by TripAdvisor.

What’s so special about it?

Tim McLaughlin and Daniel Watson-Weller spent five years working for bike tours around the world. Then four years ago, they decided to come back to San Francisco to start Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours. Now they’re helping tourists from all around the world to tour the local scenes.

“We take people into the neighborhoods of San Francisco,” McLaughlin said. “We enjoy the big highlights like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building, but we also like to show people what it’s like to live here as a local, to see the behind-the-scenes footage of San Francisco.”

They’ve designed different routes for travelers with different physical strengths.

Traveler Jorge from Mexico joined the tour with his wife.

“They are offering different difficulties of the tours,” he said, “so we took a simple one, which is about four and a half hours. So it’s going to be tough, but not that tough.”

Timbuk2

Twenty-five years of messenger bags Made in SF.

While the surge of manufacturing moves toward Asia, the world-famous messenger-bag company Timbuk2 keeps making its custom bags in the heart of San Francisco.

Customers anywhere in the world can design a bag online with their choice of colors, textures, and accessories, and their bag will be mailed out within 2–4 days.

For improving efficiency, the founder of Timbuk2 was impressed by Toyota’s Just-in-Time manufacturing concept and applied it to making bags.

“That core manufacturing style, philosophy, and structure is what we employ still today at Timbuk2, 25 years later,” said Tony Meneghetti, manufacturing manager at Timbuk2.

“We are very proud that we are right here in the heart of San Francisco making bags for over 25 years,” Meneghetti said. Many of its employees have worked there for over 10 years.

So grab your Timbuk2 bag, hop on a bike, and be a part of San Francisco!

Huckleberry Bicycles

Bicycle maintenance made easy.

You think riding a bike is old fashioned? Not in San Francisco!

There’s a cool bike shop right on Market street that has a full-service mechanic shop. It even has a video game station you can play while you’re waiting.

In hilly San Francisco, what are some tips for maintaining your bike?

Zack Stender, co-founder of Huckleberry Bicycles, gives us two simple things to do: “Just keep your chain lubed and keep your tires pumped up. Those are the two things that are very easy to manage, and will do wonders for making your bike ride well.”

And what kind of bike is good for riding in the City?

“A lighter bike is easier to push up the hills, but you also need a bike with the gearing to get up the hills. It’s a matter of how easy your lowest gears are for getting up those hills.” Good brakes, he said, are also important for avoiding accidents when riding downhill.

Stender also showed us the lightest folding bike in the world, the Brompton folding bike. Fold it up in 15 seconds, and with 6 gears, it works for hills.

And what’s the most important accessory to have in San Francisco?

“Better invest in a good bike lock!” Stender said.

Mission Bicycle Company

Bikes made just for you.

In creative San Francisco, even bicycles can be custom-made in accordance with customers’ wishes.

“We guide them through the entire process, and they actually get to pick out every single component,” said Jefferson McCarley, manager at Mission Bicycle. “So we work with them to design a bike that’s perfect for their body geometry, for their commute, for their aesthetic, and their budget.”

This cute little bike shop is set in Mission District, an area that represents well the bike culture of San Francisco—there are bike racks on the street, and seven bike shops within just five blocks.

“Personality-wise, people that like to bike gravitate towards the culture of this neighborhood,” McCarley said. “And it’s also a flat neighborhood in a hilly city.”

In this hilly city, people often need to carry their bikes—for example, in and out of the subway. Mission bikes weigh only 19 pounds and can be lifted with one finger.

If you still commute by car in San Francisco, you might be a little behind the times.

“Driving is a little bit more old-fashioned, and for us, biking is a little bit more modern,” McCarley said.

RECOMMENDED