By Kat Anderson
December 5, 2011
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition celebrated its 40th birthday at its annual Winterfest fundraiser last night. It was a festive evening of bikes, art, auctions and a tented dining area and beer garden, held at the Cityview in the Metreon.
Over 1,500 guests were presented with 25 bikes up for auction, 50 contemporary art pieces, rugged and fanciful messenger bags from principal sponsor, Rickshaw Bagworks (some designed and signed by artist Rex Ray), and myriad other products and experiences including the chance to make a silent bid on a bike ride with Mayor-elect Ed Lee.
A crowd favorite was the live auction of a bike ride and lunch date with District 11 Supervisor John Avalos. Making the sound of a sheep, Supervisor Avalos announced his “BAAA” legislation: the Bike Access and Anti-theft Act, to be considered by committee in January. This Act will require commercial buildings to provide space for parking bikes or to allow tenants to provide such space. The intent is to keep the sidewalks clear of bikes, and to keep bikes secure for their owners. (And, yes, there is a bike room in City Hall.)
To spur bidding, Avalos humorously declared, “This is San Francisco, I swing all ways and I do hills!” The winning bidder was thrilled when Supervisor Avalos leapt off the stage and hugged her. Together, they will enjoy a 90-minute ride and lunch provided courtesy of Credo Restaurant.
We spoke with SFBC executive director, Leah Shahum, about the reasons for the evening’s celebration. “Not only are we celebrating 40 years of peddling strong, but it has been an incredible year for bicycle advocacy,” she said.
Shahum highlighted the “Connecting the City” campaign, the first piece of which includes a physically separated bikeway on the “Bay to Beach” route on JFK drive in Golden Gate Park (recently approved by Rec and Park and the Concourse Authority). “For the first time, this is not just paint on the street,” commented Shahum. “This is parking protected, making biking safer and more inviting for people from ages 8 to 80.”
The Connecting the City campaign goals also include 25 miles of continuous 8-to-80 bikeway by 2015 and 100 miles of bikeway and 20 percent of trips by bike by 2020. Given that the SF Bicycle Coalition is the largest local bike coalition in the entire country (with over 12,000 members), that the number of cyclists in SF has increased 58% in the last 4 years, that SFBC members vote in City elections according to the recommendations of the Board, and that the mayor and Board of Supervisors have worked to set aside space for safe cycling – it will be no surprise if the Connecting the City campaign is fully realized.
Favorite art pieces