This week marks the fourth month I've had a bicycle in San Francisco. After months of public transit, the occasional cab, and a startling realization of how little I actually move in a day, I headed to Performance Bike in June. I walked out with the second Fuji of my cycling career.
Those first few rides were especially difficult. I saved no time at all versus public transit — about 45 minutes for 3.5 miles. I also showed up to the morning meeting with greetings of "Wow, did you swim here?" Fortunately for us all, things have gotten significantly better since then.
Recently, with the help of the iPhone Cycling Application Velocio, I've come to expect making it to the office in less than 20 minutes.
The current records are quite a bit better than those 45-minute rides:
- To Office — 16:24
- To Apartment — 14:59
There are a few things I've picked up cycling in a busy city.
- Some sidewalks are shared path, meaning that walking and cycling is allowed
- Some sidewalks will ticket cyclists
- Pedestrians tend to look right through cyclists while trying to cross the street. When a pedestrian steps in front of you with no time to swerve, you'll both go flying through the air. Really.
- Sometimes your spokes will break with no visual indication. Sometimes it'll take a week to notice your brakes are rubbing, and it will cost $20 to fix.
- Riding with the brakes rubbing for a week will shave several minutes off your commute when the problem is fixed.