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San Francisco Celebrates a Very Political Bike to Work Day 2018

Advocates, politicians, agency heads, assembled on the steps of City Hall this morning on Bike to Work Day. All pics Streetsblog/Rudick unless indicated

San Francisco's 24th Bike to Work day did not start out well for District Six Supervisor and Mayoral Candidate Jane Kim. She woke up this morning and discovered her faithful steed had a flat tire. But she got it fixed in time to join a Bike to Work Day Commuter Convoy for a ride on some of the city's newest protected bike infrastructure. "I got to ride on protected bike lanes on Folsom, 7th and Turk," she said after the ride, at a rally on the steps of City Hall. "It's an incredible way to get to work."

Many of the riders in her convoy had "Jane Kim for Mayor" signs on their bikes.

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Jane Kim adjusting her helmet strap during this morning's commuter convoy through SoMa and the Tenderloin, District 6 Supervisor Candidate Christine Johnson is behind her on the left (literally, not politically...or maybe both?)
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In fact, it was hard to avoid signs of the political contests set for June 5. Participants in the bike rally had London Breed, Jane Kim, and Mark Leno-for-mayor t-shirts and placards. There were also lots of candidates out for other races, as seen in the photos above and below.

"I remember 20 years ago when they put in that first bike lane on Polk," said Leno, during his speech in front of City Hall. He talked about how the Bicycle Coalition has realized an incredible vision, with bike lanes now on so many streets, including the newest one, on Turk. "Thank you SFBC for making that vision come true." Both Jane Kim and Mark Leno received endorsements from the SFBC.

London Breed spoke about how two of the city's first protected bike lanes were installed in her district, on Oak and Fell. "We need protected bike lanes everywhere in the City and County of San Francisco," she said.

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Mayoral candidate Mark Leno and Supervisorial candidate Rafael Mandelman pedaling to the rally at City Hall. Photo: SFBC
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Near the back of the pack of politicians, civic leaders, and officials on the steps of City Hall stood firefighter Michael Crehan (instead of running for office, he runs into burning buildings). Crehan was the firefighter who openly contradicted the claims of others in his department that bike lanes and pedestrian safety features slow down emergency response times. "Thanks for being a role model for all of us," said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, during her speech on bike safety. Many advocates said they were happy to see Crehan getting kudos for standing up for bicycle safety.

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Firefighter Michael Crehan with SFFD Captain Chad Law
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"I am thrilled to take part once again in Bike to Work Day," said Mayor Mark Farrell. "This event is a great moment to showcase a healthy and sustainable way to travel to work while highlighting some of the important projects we have implemented to make our shared city streets safe for everyone."

Meanwhile, volunteers at the SFBC's busiest "Energizer Station," on Market and 12th, (see photo below) reported signing up 117 people to join or renew their memberships in the organization--all by about 10 a.m. "People felt really jubilant and had great stories," said Paul Valdez, a volunteer at the station, about cyclists who stopped by on their way to work. He also said he saw many middle-aged cyclists riding for the first time. "I met people in their 50s who were a bit timid, but came out to ride." There were 25 stations scattered around the city.

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SFBC's Mid-Market Energizer Station
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Across the water, Streetsblog also stopped by Bike East Bay's tent at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. Bike East Bay volunteers reported signing up some 100 new members as this one tent alone. Bike East Bay had about 150 energy stations throughout the East Bay (for more coverage of the East Bay and the rest of the Bay Area, check out Streetsblog California).

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Bike East Bay's station at Frank Ogawa Plaza
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All in all, it was a huge day for getting more members and pushing bike advocacy forward throughout the Bay Area.

Tell us about your experiences on Bike to Work Day. Were you impressed with the number of riders? Did you meet any new riders along the way? Share your thoughts and pics below.

A few more pics of the morning bike palooza.

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Maggie Chestney, SFBC's 'Bike Commuter of the Year'
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The SoMa Commuter Convoy, which also rode Turk's mostly protected bike lane in the Tenderloin
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SFBC's Mary Kay Chin and 'Rumi' the dog
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SFBC's Charles Deffarges at the start of the SoMa commuter convoy ride
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