I love biking in San Francisco. My fondest memories of the city are ones I experience on my bicycle as I shuttle through the sometimes busy, always dirty streets here.
As a cyclist, I’m in a constant battle with drivers. I dangerously skid into the car lane when careless Uber drivers pull in front of me on Valencia. I squeeze my brakes as hard as I can when cars cut me off to turn right at intersections. And when I pedal down a crowded street, I can only hope that the drivers look twice before swerving into the sad, unprotected bicycle lane.
Poorly kept streets are the worst ones to bike on. There are two types of poorly kept streets: ones perpetually under construction, and ones littered with broken glass and trash. Both are tricky, but in different ways. The former requires you to tenaciously pedal next to loud construction vehicles as they pump smoky exhaust in your face. The latter requires you to learn how to bike with one eye looking ahead and the other eye scanning the ground so you can avoid riding over shattered car windows while not getting run over.
But this post isn’t a rant against San Francisco, or biking — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. When I’m on a bicycle, I accelerate through the compact San Francisco neighborhoods as if I’m watching a lecture video on 2x speed. One second I’m huffing and puffing up the hills of Noe Valley. The next I’m surfing through the Mission with dozens of other bikers, scooters, and whatever new “last mile” mobility devices are cramming into the bike lanes.
The best part about biking in San Francisco? The Golden Gate Bridge and its beautiful unpredictability. Some days, the fog enshrouds everything as I bike across the bridge. Other days, the wind makes pedaling nearly and turning the tight corners nearly impossible. And on the sunniest days, biking across the bridge feels like flying above the most beautiful planet in the most beautiful city on Earth.