Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Ride, Seven Presidents: NOPA VELO's Park and Bridge Tour This Sunday

Image: Rick Helf ,

The President William McKinley Monument in Panhandle Park

Another Slain Ohio President, James A. Garfield, in Golden Gate Park

President Theodore Roosevelt might never have visited NOPA if the original plan to place a monument to his predecessor, William McKinley, at the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street had held. Instead, Teddy R stopped by the site of the future monument at the eastern end of the Panhandle in May of 1903, ceremoniously shoveled sod, and eulogized McKinley.

San Franciscans kicked in $30,000 for the memorial of their beloved President, and local sculptor Robert Aitken won the commission for the statue. As authors Chris Pollock and Erica Katz note in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park: A Thousand and Seventeen Acres of Stories notes, "The McKinley Monument features an inset marble bas-relief plaque of McKinley set into a 15- foot-high pedestal on a stepped granite podium 45 feet in diameter."

This upcoming Sunday NOPA VELO riders will stop by the McKinley Monument, the site of the only visit to the neighborhood by a sitting U.S. President. Then it's on through the Panhandle and into Golden Gate Park with a second stop at the President James A. Garfield Memorial along John F. Kennedy Drive. (That's four past presidents, if you're not counting). Of the three monuments erected to U.S. Presidents in Golden Gate Park, all three hailed from Ohio. As former NOPNA President Tys Sniffen, also an Ohioan, once asked, "What's up with that?"

In short order, NOPA VELO spinners will leave the park and head for the Presidio where they will encounter remembrances to Presidents Washington, Harrison, and Lincoln before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in groups. After taking in the view from Marin, riders will retrace their tracks to return to the neighborhood with enough Presidential Lore to last a good long time.

NOPA VELO Dead Presidents' Park & Bridge Ride
Sunday, April 25
Meet: 9 am for breakfast/drinks at Mojo Bicycle Cafe, 639 Divisadero
Start: 10 am sharp
(If you're running late, join the group at McKinley's Monument; even later, catch them at Garfield's)
End: about 12:30 pm, lunch at Herbivore Restaurant, 531 Divisadero

Mild to moderate climbs in the Presidio
All level riders welcome; kids on own bike OK if with guardian
Heavy rain cancels (but sun predicted!)
More info: Lenore @415-300-6744,

Join the NOPA VELO Google Group here

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