Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NOPA VELO Spins Out with Inaugural Ride

Design by Rick Helf

NOPA VELO, the North Panhandle’s new bicycling group for neighbors and friends, will launch its inaugural monthly outing on Sunday morning, January 31. Ride organizers announced that each ride will accommodate bikers of all levels with an emphasis on exercise and fine times with neighbors and friends. In addition, the outings will begin and end at NOPA's cool cafes and restaurants, making it one of the few neighborhood-focused, regular rides.

NOPA VELO also creates its own niche among the dozens of specialty bike rides in San Francisco by including NOPA LORE with each outing. What might that mean? Consider the inaugural excursion: “NOPA VELO’S Patty Hearst Presidio Ride” that starts with a brief recounting of NOPA's most famous captive-turned-revolutionary followed by a stop at the Golden Gate Avenue building where Patty/Tania Hearst was held hostage in 1974. Later in the ride NOPA’s own Ranger Dale will give an insider’s view of habitat restoration and new developments at the Presidio. Patty/Tania or Park Ranger attire encouraged for the ride.

Ranger Dale restores Presidio habitats

Future NOPA LORE will feature the neighborhood’s three historical landmark buildings with a story of how NOPNA helped keep one of them from becoming a Burger King outlet; a bicycle re-creation of President Teddy Roosevelt’s 1903 visit to NOPA, and the residence of the woman companion of Portland’s "Queen of the Bolsheviks."

NOPA VELO organizersLenore McDonald, Rick Boardman, and Michael Helquist – were inspired by the enthusiastic turnout for the Bike, Meet, and Mingle events sponsored by NOPNA, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), and BIKE NOPA last September and December. On both occasions, bicycle networking spun off toward NOPA-focused biking.

Lenore and Rick are veteran cyclists with experience organizing rides. Before finding her current home on Golden Gate, Lenore organized century rides in Marin. BIKE NOPA profiled Lenore in this previous post. Rick is originally from the UK but has been living, cycling and working in the Bay Area for five years. In London, he led the Hammersmith and Fulham group of the London Cycling Campaign for several years. He especially enjoyed leading sometimes muddy, but always fun rides along the Thames.

For ongoing info about the rides and more, join the NOPA VELO Google group here. News and photos will also appear regularly at BIKE NOPA.

View Larger Map

The first ride announcement follows:

NOPA VELO's Patty Hearst Presidio Ride ~ Sun., Jan 31 10am - 2 pm

Meet: 9:30 @ Central Coffee, Tea & Spice @ corner, Central & Hayes for NOPA lore on the Patty Hearst kidnapping and captivity in NOPA.

Depart: 10:00 am for swing by Patty Hearst building and then into the Panhandle

  • Stops along the way: the newly repaved JFK Drive west of Transverse Drive
  • new viewpoint above Sutro Baths
  • quick break at the Warming Hut near Crissy Field and brief update on Presidio habitat restoration from Ranger Dale
  • Yoda Fountain at Lucasfilm
  • Return to NOPA via 15th Avenue
2pm: Drinks and lunch at Jannah Restaurant, across from Lucky's on Fulton Street

All level riders are welcome and no rider will be left behind. Kids who can ride this distance on their own bike are welcome, if accompanied by a guardian.

The ride is approximately 15 miles with one medium climb to Sutro baths and another medium climb heading home on 15th Avenue. Heavy rain cancels ride, otherwise we're on! Next ride: Feb. 27 or 28.

Questions? Contact Lenore at 415-300-6744, or Rick at 650 714 7425,

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