Tag Archives: expedition

Bikeways and Homelessness

On Wednesday, October 11, I attended a forum on bikeways and homelessness in San Francisco. This forum came about because there have been some conflicts between homeless people camping and bicyclist using bikeways, particularly a network of bike paths under the 101 interchange at Cesar Chavez Blvd. Because city and state agencies have cleared encampments and fenced off spaces under many freeways, campers have moved onto bikeways in some areas.

The forum was an attempt by SF Supervisor Hillary Ronen and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to educate cyclists about homelessness in San Francisco, and to describe some of the efforts underway to find people housing.

About 60 people attended the event, and we heard from Supervisor Ronen, a Bike Coalition person, two homeless advocates, and a representative of Caltrans, the state transportation agency that maintains the 101 freeway.

I learned that on any given night in San Francisco, there are about 7500 people experiencing homelessness. This number has been holding pretty steady for the past few years, although there has been a rise in visible tent encampments, like the ones we saw on Division St. during our October 3rd expedition.

Speaking of Bicycles students on Division St. under a section of Hwy 100 on October 3rd, 2017.

A few panelists speculated about the rise of tent camps in SF. One person observed that many homeless people used to camp in the Mission Bay area (where we visited Dr. Bauer on October 3rd). But all the new construction in that area has led them to try to find other places to camp.

Supervisor Ronen outlined her efforts to create “Navigation Centers” — a new kind of shelter where people are treated with greater dignity (for example, you can keep your pets with you) and possessions are more respected and secure. One of these centers has opened near the 101/Chavez interchange.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the end of the panel to get to another event, but it was a great learning experience for me. I feel that I now better understand the reasons for the current situation (as well as solutions underway), and I also have greater empathy for the people experiencing homelessness whom I’ve encountered on bike paths.

More about this issue (and link to video) in this SF Examiner article:

‘Gut-wrenching’ videos of SF bike route populated by homeless spur debate


At the California Bicycle Summit

five students speaking before an audience
“Speaking of Bicycles” session at the California Bicycle Summit

Wow, you should’ve seen Sierra, Devyn, Malia, Jordan, and Ciarra talking about bicycle research with participants at the California Bicycle Summit.

We met State Senate staffers as well as staff from bicycle coalitions all across the state (the California Bicycle Coalition, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition… the list goes on and on). We met pedestrian activists and Caltrans engineers. We met professors from UC Davis and from the University of San Diego.

It was amazing to see the USF team talking about what they’ve studied and answering questions from an audience of experts!

Then we stopped at In-n-Out on the way back.

an In-n-Out burger place somewhere on Hwy 80
An In-n-Out somewhere on Hwy 80.

Event at City Hall! Let me know if you’d like to check it out.

On Wednesday morning, October 4th, at 10:00 am, I’ll be at City Hall to attend a public meeting on bike theft in San Francisco. The supervisor for my district, Hillary Ronen, has proposed a new rule that would change how police departments respond to bike theft and car break-ins.

You can read the proposed legislation here.

I posted this to Canvas as an “Assignment” — you can see more info on the assignment page.

There is no better place to observe public speaking than at a government meeting — this, in fact, is why we teach public speaking: to prepare you to speak up as a citizen or member of your community.


Expedition: Marin Headlands

This is a guest post from Ettore Crocetti Marzotto, a USF student took “Speaking of Bicycles” last year. He bought a bicycle and has been exploring San Francisco and the surrounding area. Here is a recent report of his explorations:

I went for a ride over Golden Gate Bridge last Sunday. I took my camera and a picnic lunch with me and had a really good time, it was probably the furthest up I went.

Conzelman Road in the Marin Headlands, descending west, with Point Bonita lighthouse in the distance.

This road here was something out of a riding magazine – super fun to go down it! After that I left the main road to head for some trails and eventually ended up high, with a nice view, (the one in the second picture) and had my picnic there. 

View of Rodeo lagoon and beach in the Marin Headlands, site of the former US Army base Fort Cronkhite.

I find it so incredible that you can just go over the bridge and find such open nature, such a contrast to SF.  The only thing that I still have to find, is some good single track downhill though -haha. I thought I share this ride seeing as I had those pictures, really that first shot of the road and the biker, could be in a magazine haha!

Seattle Bike Share

In Seattle for a wedding. Here’s a view of San Francisco this morning, with the Bay Bridge People Path in the foreground (aka “the world’s longest bike pier,” because it only includes the east span of the bridge). BTW we’ll ride it this semester.

aerial view of San Francisco Bay, with Alameda and Oakland in foreground and San Francisco and Marin County in background.

two brightly colored bicycles, one bright green and yellow, the other orange
Bikes from two of the three new stationless bike share companies in Seattle, LimeBike and Spin.


Seattle has 3 different “stationless” bike share companies (2 depicted above). To get to our seedy motel from the airport, I first took a light rail and then a “LimeBike” (that’s the green and yellow one).

A short video of riding a LimeBike on Seattle’s 27-mile multi-use Burke-Gilman Trail.



REPLY REQUESTED – California Bicycle Summit

We have been invited to present at the California Bicycle Summit in Sacramento in the first week in October!

I need volunteers to attend the conference with me! We’ll drive up on Thursday morning (10/5) and spend the day at the conference. In the evening, there is a dance party at — wait for it — the California State Railroad Museum that evening, but we’ll only stay for that if everyone wants to.

SO this means that you might need to miss a Thursday class, but you get an opportunity to share your ideas with bike advocates from around California!

You don’t have to give a speech or TED talk or anything — we’ll make some posters and share them, kind of as described here:

I am not going to post a video of what a dance party for bike advocates at a railroad museum might look like. It’s not gonna be pretty.

Email me with questions (or post a comment below).

BY MONDAY Fourth Task for Class 9/12: Create Two Questions

In class on Tuesday, September 12th, we’ll visit the offices of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition at 1720 Market Street. We’re scheduled to meet with Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier at 2 p.m.

We’ll learn a bit about the history of the SF Bicycle Coalition, its current projects, and its future plans.

Based on what you know (or would like to know) about bikes and public speaking, create two questions for Brian Wiedenmeier. I’ll share some of these questions with him in advance, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask some of them at the meeting.

A good structure for a question is:

“In class, we read about _______________. What is your opinion/ what is the position of the Bicycle Coalition on this issue?”

You can also ask questions that are specific to Mr. Wiedenmeier’s role. For example, “What are the main duties of an Executive Director in a non-profit?” or “What changes have you seen in San Francisco since you started here?” or …..

Post these questions to your blog. If your blog isn’t up and running, post your questions in the comments (below).

Sample questions:

We watched Dr. Fred Rivara’s TEDx talk, where he argues ______________ about bicycle helmets. What is the position of the Bicycle Coalition about helmets?

We read about establishing credibility with audiences. How do you, as Executive Director, establish credibility?

Giro di San Francisco

Every Labor Day (the first Monday in September), San Francisco hosts a bike race called the “Giro di San Francisco.” Giro is the Italian word for “tour” — in years past, the race went through North Beach, an historically Italian neighborhood.

Once upon a time, the race was known as the San Francisco Gran Prix, and some of the world’s greatest pros came to SF to suffer on the steep hills of Fillmore Street.

The Giro is now a relatively flat “criterium” race (meaning a lot of short, fast laps, which is great for spectators).

The Giro has caught the attention of Funcheap:


The race promoter’s event flyer is here:


Lots of folks take video while in the race:



Expedition: the Legendary Rockville Cyclocross Series

On Sunday, February 12, we’ll head to the nearby Rockville Cyclocross series.

This is a friendly and low-key event, and probably the best possible place to enter your first bike race! (Strictly voluntary, of course.)

We will be accompanied by members of the USF Cycling Club and learn a bit about the club.

Sunday, February 12
Depart Koret parking lot at 7:30 am sharp.
Return to USF at approximately 12:30 or 1 pm.
CONTACT ME TO RSVP — space is limited to 9 people


  • warm clothes & layers –it’s outdoors and the East Bay is generally chillier than SF this time of year
  • water bottle

If you want to race, bring:

  • clothes that you don’t mind getting VERY MUDDY
  • a second set of clothes to change into after the race

More about the series:

California’s Rockville Bike Winter Cyclocross Series: Cyclocross Like It Used to Be

Norcal Cyclocross Season Continues Through February in Rockville, Ends with Relays and BBQ