Noe Valley Voice May 2001

Bike to Work Day, May 17, Offers Fun Commute

By Abbie Collins

Since I recently moved from the Inner Sunset to Chattanooga Street, I have not only a wonderful new neighborhood, but also a longer commute to work. I soon realized the fastest way to get to my job at UCSF Med Center would be riding my bike. At first I was a little daunted by the hills in Noe Valley, and pored over my S.F. Bike Map and Walking Guide, which gives bicycle routes and street grades. I found a route avoiding hills, along Valencia Street, through the "Wiggle," and to the Panhandle.

But instead of going that way, on the first sunny morning that I donned my helmet and orange safety vest, I decided to give the hills a try. With Twin Peaks on the horizon, and in my lowest gear, I cycled up 24th Street to Hoffman, and worked my way to the spiral Market Street overpass at the top of Romain Street. Now I'm definitely not a superb athlete, and I probably could have walked those hills faster than I rode them, but getting to the top of a hill on (or with) a bike is rewarding. There are the incredible views of the Bay, Mt. Diablo, and the city, the sense of accomplishment, and best of all, the downhills!

Since that morning I've been hooked, and have been riding the hills to and from work almost every day. Sometimes I try new routes, including quieter residential streets. I actually look forward to my commute because of the exercise I get (can't ever seem to make it to the gym), and the quiet time I have between leaving home and starting my busy day at the hospital.

If you've ever considered oiling up that chain and giving a bike commute a try, Bike to Work Day on May 17 is the perfect opportunity. You can join hundreds of other eager cyclists and ride to work. There will be "energizer stations," replete with bagels, coffee, juice, and other free stuff, and lots of your neighbors with their trusty steeds. In fact, the entire month of May will be filled with fun bicycling events.

For more information, contact the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition at 431-BIKE, or check out (it has the online bike map). Whether it's your first time, or you've been riding to work for years, Bike to Work Day is a great chance to put on your helmet and go for a spin. See you there.