Monday, September 27, 2010

NOPA VELO Bikes the Park Just Like in the 1890s

Cycling in Golden Gate Park in the 1890s

NOPA VELO on the way to the park from the North Panhandle

Crossing Masonic with the right-of-way, in the crosswalk, and riding across legally

Bridge-and-tunnel stop in the Park

Dawn D'Onofrio checks Golden Gate Park history notes

In the 1890s Americans took to bicycling in a very big way -- and often on very big wheels. San Franciscans were part of the new spinning craze, and Golden Gate Park became a favorite destination.* No doubt a good many fashionable residents of the Western Addition pulled their bikes out garages and alleys along Fell and Fulton, Grove and Golden Gate and headed for the Panhandle. Just like this Sunday when the North Panhandle's only bike group for neighbors and friends, met at Matching Half Cafe, rolled down Baker street, and started the Secret Paths of Golden Gate Park ride.

Our troupe of about 20 included first-timers, young Ben and his dad Peter, a just-married-last-weekend couple, and Smoky the dog. A great day in the park with stops at Alvord Lake, one very old bridge and tunnel, the velodrome (Polo Field), Beach Chalet, and all those secret paths in between. Thanks to Dawn D'Onofrio for planning the route, Lenore McDonald for helping test-run the ride, and Rick Helf for the great ride poster.

* For more history of bicycling in the late 19th century and cycling's popularity in San Francisco, check this article by Chris Carlsson in Streetsblog.

For stories on the seven previous NOPA VELO rides, check here.

1 comment:

  1. I loved it! Rick and I proceeded to ride the rest of the afternoon, to Russian Hill on Polk Street (brief visit to the Polk Street Blues Festival) then over the GG Bridge and through Sausalito. Great to see everyone. Lucnh at El Grande was delicious and very reasonably priced! Thanks for all your work to make the ride so enjoyable, Dawn. Loved seeing my friend Susan from Millbrae ride with us, and Jeff all the way from Berkeley. Come again. See you on October 31 for our Halloween Ride!