By Greg Shaffer
This is our Bike About Town column, which appeared in The Chronicle on June 16, 2011.
Next weekend marks the start of the 41st annual San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration, an annual festival that draws people from across the country and around the world to celebrate the community and make a public stand for LGBTQ civil rights.
With tens of thousands of people expected to pour into downtown San Francisco for the Pride Parade on June 26, biking might be the most efficient mode of transportation. In addition, there are a number of fun, bike-friendly events planned throughout the city.
– The biking community starts celebrating Pride on Friday, with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s LGBTQ Meet and Mingle, a happy hour fundraiser that will offer an opportunity to meet new friends over a beverage while supporting the coalition’s Connecting the City campaign. Coalition staff will answer questions. For more information about Connecting the City, go to www.connectingthecity.org.
– The fun continues June 25, with the San Francisco Gay Pride Freedom Ride and LGBTQ History Bike Tour. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition volunteer Hank Cancel leads riders on an exploration of neighborhoods and sites of historical and cultural significance to the LGBTQ community. Meet at 1:45 p.m. at Cupid’s Arrow (Folsom Street at the Embarcadero). The three-hour tour is free for coalition members; a $5 donation from nonmembers is suggested. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
– Bicyclists can participate in the Pride Parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at Market and Beale streets and ends at Market and Eighth streets. Mikes on Bikes – a group of gay men who celebrate their sexuality and their two-wheeled, pedal-powered transportation – will mark their 15th year riding in the parade. If you want to participate, call (415) 905-8854 to preregister. The cost is $5 to $10 on a sliding scale.
– The coalition’s “byke pride” contingent will decorate their bikes (and often themselves) to champion cycling while showing support for the LGBTQ community. The contingent is open to any coalition member, but space is limited. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to reserve a spot.
– AIDS/LifeCycle celebrates its 10th anniversary at this year’s Pride celebration. In addition to its bicycling contingent in the parade, the group’s festival booth offers information on the AIDS/LifeCycle participants who ride each year from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. To join the AIDS/LifeCycle parade contingent or for information on the organization, go to www.aidslifecycle.org.
If cheering from the sidelines sounds more appealing than joining the parade, your bike is still welcome. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will provide free valet bike parking on Hastings Plaza at Hyde and McCallister streets. Look for the orange tent, and drop off your bike in a safe, secure location while easing the burden on Muni and the roadways. For more information, go to www.sfbike.org/?chain.
LGBTQ Meet and Mingle: 6-8 p.m. Fri. Lookout Bar, 3600 16th St., S.F. For information on this and other San Francisco Bicycle Coalition events, go to www.sfbike.org/?chain.
Bike About Town is presented by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a 12,000-member nonprofit dedicated to creating safer streets and more livable communities by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation. For more biking resources, go to www.sfbike.org.