This year is the 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area, so we thought we’d ask some of our long-time members to share their memories of biking in San Francisco 20 years ago. Thanks to these dedicated members, our city streets have come a long way in the last two decades. Peter Meitzler was the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Member #1. He now lives in New York City but continues to be a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member.
What do you remember about biking in SF in the 90s?
Making the first San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member database in 1991 on Informix, feeling that rush riding downtown from the Panhandle at night while sensing the temperature changes, and being able to ride the network in the Marin Headlands with my SF Bicycle Coalition friends. I also remember riding through the Presidio, getting tickets on Crissy Field, and trying to fight the Presidio government, which — now in the new era — is bike friendly. It is sort of a ‘we lost the battle; won the war’ kind of thing.
What is the greatest change you’ve seen on our streets in the last 20 years?
There are many more people cycling for non-recreational reasons along key thoroughfares, like Market Street and Valencia. There are definite infrastructure improvements, and the intricately painted Wiggle is like a dream. I also noticed an absolute flowering of bike shops, almost niche-like. In New York City, we have bodegas on nearly every corner; and in a few places of San Francisco, I see bike shops literally within blocks of each other, all unique and with their own clientele. The feeling on the street is profound.
What campaigns over the years have made the biggest impact on your ride?
Campaigns to improve Market Street and the Embarcadero and Polk Street.
Why do you continue to be a long-time San Francisco Bicycle Coalition supporter?
We built this city. We’re not going to give it up now.