Friday, May 28, 2010

Lower Divisadero/NOPA Next Up for City's New Bicycle and Shop Incentives

I Bike SF logo

After a successful first month in Hayes Valley, I Bike SF is coming to the Lower Divisadero and NOPA neighborhood. During the month of June, several local businesses and bicyclists from all over the city will participate in a win/win promotion. Patrons who bike will find a range of discounts at restaurants, cafes, bars, and all kinds of shops that post the I Bike SF sign at the entry or in windows. By showing their bike helmet or bike lock (update: make that "bike lock key"), cyclists might get 10% off purchases, a buy-one-get-one-free offer, free dessert with purchase of an entree, happy hour discounts, or something even more creative. Local merchants who participate in I Bike SF get lots of free promotion of their business by the city and local organizations during the month-long run.

BIKE NOPA recently spoke with Mari Hunter, the intern who developed the program for the Mayor's Climate Protection Initiative, at the Matching Half Cafe, one of the NOPA businesses set to participate in the program. "There's lots of carrot and no stick involved," Hunter said about I Bike SF. "We simply encourage bicycling and promote local businesses at the same time."

Mari Hunter promoting I Bike SF in Lower Divisadero/NOPA

Five merchants in Hayes Valley found the program so beneficial that they want to be year-round participants, according to Hunter. One Hayes Valley business -- the popular restaurant Supenkuche -- embraced the program so much that it placed the I Bike SF discount on its menu. Hunter thinks local businesses find I Bike SF really easy to join. "They can say yes right away without having to go to corporate headquarters for approval."

Eleven businesses along lower Divisadero -- from Haight to Turk -- and on Baker Street have joined the program and will be ready for anyone stopping by with a helmet or bike lock. Hunter expects more to participate early in the month as word spreads along the corridor, and she thinks Divisadero businesses might be even more successful with the program given the area's high bike traffic and several bike lanes.

Hunter helped develop I Bike SF with lots of dedication but no budget. "I'm effectively a volunteer," she said, "but we've received some money from different city departments." The list of collaborators for the program is daunting: the Mayor's Office, SF Environment, the Municipal Transportation Agency, the Office of Small Business, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Hunter reported that all the organizational reps had been "really excellent" to work with. "They pipe in where they have the most experience."

For a full listing of all the participating businesses, check the I Bike SF website June 1st. Merchants can contact Mari Hunter at 415-554-6556 and at .


  1. So you only get a discount if you bring in a helmet or bike lock? If one rides without a helmet, then they have to leave their bike unlocked outside in order to show proof of arriving by bike?

    I'd like to see more window signs or even those plastic folding sidewalk signs with a sharrow on it. Their advertising seemed to get lost in the myriad of stimuli in Hayes Valley.

  2. to Anthony: That doesn't really work for some people riding bikes, does it. I'll check with the organizer for an option other than helmet or lock, and post info here. And your point about prominent signage for the program is important. Will pass that along as well. thanks for both.

  3. Hey Anthony: There was a miss communication-you show your helmet or bike lock key. Sorry about that and we are working on generating a greater presence. I like the sidewalk signs idea; we've also had people inquire about I Bike SF stickers...we're working on it. The stores are provided I Bike SF signs for their windows athough sometimes there isn't room so it's best to find which shops are participating online at Hope you can take advantage of some great deals this summer!