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 Mari.Hunter@sfgov.org .