The CrackBerry Chronicles: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Winterfest

Written by Elaine Santore. Posted in Arts/Entertainment, Culture, Events, Opinion, Politics

Published on December 09, 2008 with 9 Comments

Elaine Santore
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Elaine Santore

December 9, 2008

Fog City Journal attended the 10,000-members strong San Francisco Bicycle Coalition‘s 2008 Winterfest Sunday night at SOMArts and walked right into Rob Anderson’s ninth circle of hell. Even though Anderson’s been invited by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to Winterfest three years in a row, Anderson refuses to show up.

A fedora-wearing Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi disappears into the night,
disappointed after being stood up by Rob Anderson. Again.

Of course, yours truly felt like a bit of an impostor in a sea of over 1,000 bicyclists because I haven’t ridden a bike since I was twelve. (I’m pretty sure that bike is still in my parents’ garage in Daly City.)

The SF Bicycle Coalition is the largest bicycle advocacy organization in the US.

The packed crowd at SOMArts.

I made the mistake of admitting this recently in front of a group of SFBC members, including Executive Director Leah Shahum, while they were giving Walk & Bike for Life Executive Director Gil Peñalosa a bike tour of San Francisco in November. FCJ ran into their crew while filming Supervisor Chris Daly’s video about that old dude nobody’s heard of.

Here’s how it went down:

Luke: “Elaine, get in the picture!”

Happy Bike People: “Yeah, get in the picture, Elaine!”

Elaine: “Um, I don’t ride a bike.”

Luke: “You went to Winterfest last year . . .”

Elaine: “But I haven’t ridden a bike since the nineties.”

Walk & Bike for Life Executive Director Gil Peñalosa, Supervisor Chris Daly,
SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum, SFBC Program Director Andy Thornley
and Livable City Board President Cheryl Brinkman.

So I guess Mr. Anderson and I have something in common because neither one of us owns a bicycle. Maybe if he stopped hating and started emulating, he wouldn’t be so angry. This is the second Winterfest I’ve attended and everybody there looks so happy that I’m skeptical that these folks actually live in San Francisco.

Bicycles up for auction.

These boots were made for biking . . . and handing out raffle tickets.

The Bicycle Coalition auctioned off art, crafts, bicycles and prizes donated by sponsors such as Rickshaw Bagworks, Valencia Cyclery, New Belgium and Schwinn.

SFBC Program Director Andy Thornley and Gary Fisher open the live auction.

Gary Fisher and the Simple City-8 speed.

Xtracycle Radish by Rickshaw Bagworks.

One of the auction items was a sailboat ride
with SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum and Ted Strawser.

Aside from Mirkarimi, Supervisor-elect Eric Mar, Board of Education member Jane Kim, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, BART Director Tom Radulovich and newly-elected City College Board member Chris Jackson also attended.

Among the artwork up for auction was a painting of Frank Chu by Hugo Kobayashi. Every time I run into Frank, he’s always asking me if there are any events going on in town and I always tell him where FCJ’s going because a party without Frank Chu is like The West Wing without Aaron Sorkin, aka just wrong.

Artist Hugo Kobayashi next to his portrait of Frank Chu.

Frank Chu stands next to his portrait.

Elaine Santore and Frank Chu. Elaine tries to sport at least two things
white people like at all times. This time, it was a scarf and bangs.
The close proximity to bicycles bumps Elaine up to three.

Of course, I was immediately drawn to the crafts table, marveling at all the shiny things for sale. I even contemplated buying one of the cute homemade aprons, but nixed the idea after realizing that wearing an apron might give my plus-one the false impression that I would actually bake something. It’s a slippery slope.

The crafts table.

The SF Bike Quilt

Congratulations to Leah Shahum and the SFBC for another successful event. Maybe by next year I’ll actually be riding a bike. Anything can happen in 2009!

Arlene Graves and volunteer-ista Sue Vaughan.

The Brass Mafia

Elaine Santore

Elaine Santore was born in San Francisco during the awesome '80s. She spent a considerable amount of her childhood around City employees, all of whom taught her the value of pretending to be productive. After graduating from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, she transferred schools three times but eventually received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in Psychology, with a double minor in Political Science and Textiles, Clothing and Design. This unique area of expertise makes her qualified to critique the sartorial missteps and psychological problems of local politicians. Elaine's work has also appeared in 7x7, California Home + Design, Filipinas, the Daily Nebraskan, SF Bay Guardian, and

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Comments for The CrackBerry Chronicles: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Winterfest are now closed.

  1. “But I suspect you would agree with me that given the current economy, Ross has more important tasks that writing anti bike hate crime ordinances.”

    But Cynthia, what can possibly be more important than bikes in SF?

  2. Elaine!

    I had no idea when I met you at Winterfest you hadn’t been on a bike in forever!

    I’ll take you out on my tandem bike whenever you like (two seater)!


  3. The only reason why Anderson has met with the success he has in stopping bike projects is that there exists an anti-synergy amongst bike advocates and city staff, both at the MTA, Planning MEA and City Attorney, where the sum of the parts adds up to a fraction of the whole.

    They continue to fuck up and get paid, we continue to bike through known dangerous conditions.


  4. Dear Mr. Anderson,

    I’m going to take you on your word that you are not angry and
    full of hate.

    And I truly delight in your ability to keep the Murk’s feet
    to the fire. Grazie Mille.

    But I suspect you would agree with me that given the current
    economy, Ross has more important tasks that writing anti bike
    hate crime ordiances.

    Like Elaine, I don’t own a bike because I’ve been too lazy
    to research the right kind. It was so much easier when
    I was a kid and Santa just put one under the tree for me.



  5. Brian, thank you for your kind comments and note of appreciation for FCJ’s coverage of Winterfest ’08. We do our best with what little resources we have available and it’s always encouraging to know that what we do is appreciated.

  6. I think Elaine doesn’t bicycle because she does not have a proper bike, a Mixte like mine or Sacha’s.

  7. I’ve never received an invitation to this event from Ross or anyone else, not that I would want to anyhow. I can’t imagine anything of less interest. Watching progressives at play is not a pretty sight.

    Why do the bike people and their enablers insist that I’m angry and full of hate? They seem to think that criticism of the SFBC and the bicycle fantasy in SF is a hate crime per se. Maybe the Murk can introduce an ordinance to make it one.

    Maybe Elaine can explain why she—and most other sensible city residents—doesn’t ride a bike in SF.

  8. Thanks for the event coverage, FCJ. Reading this was the next best thing to being there.

    Gary Fisher wins my vote for best ensemble.

  9. As always, great photos by Luke Thomas, especially under iffy, night-time, low-light, stark-shadows and deep-contrast conditions. Luke, you really should teach a class in digital photography. At least publish a Top Ten list of tips for amateur photographers.

    As always, great reporting by Elaine Santore. To most folks reading
    articles like this, it looks like mindless, care-free fun, but to cover an event like this and come up with vibrant, readable copy is extremely hard. It’s real easy to come across as an in-crowd-only, put-down-outsiders gatekeeper. You really bring the reader into the story.

    Finally, one need not be a bicyclist to support the San Francisco Bike Coalition. It is the spirit that counts.