Way back when in the early days of this course, a student named Kiran Malladi told me about the bikesnobnyc blog. Kiran is now a manufacturing design engineer at Apple, and hard at work, I hope on the much-touted Apple bicycle.*
Bikesnobnyc is written by Eben Weiss, who has become America’s foremost (and most ill-tempered) public bicycle intellectual.
Read Weiss’s humorous taxonomy of cyclists–when you ride a lot in the city, you start to notice that there are lots of different groups out there. Weiss focuses on people who ride for fun (mainly)– he doesn’t much mention people who ride bikes out of economic necessity.
I don’t know if Weiss has launched a public speaking career. If you can find video of Weiss speaking, add a link to it in the comments (below).
*There is no Apple bicycle, touted or otherwise. Except in our dreams.
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.
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:
We will have class on campus! For the first part of class we will be in Gleeson 213 (the classroom on the second floor of the library with the colorful chairs). For the second part of class we will be outdoors, but we will stay on campus.
Bring a LAPTOP (if convenient) — you can also check out a laptop from the library. We will spend some time catching up on blogs.
Planned class activities:
Individual presentations (postponed from last week). Please review and rehearse your material. Important goals for your talk:
making valuable use your time (and ours)
evaluating and using appropriate evidence of different kinds
evaluating and demonstrating credibility
sharing knowledge about some aspect of bikes or bicycling in San Francisco or elsewhere
developing your skill in delivery (audience engagement, structure of presentation, voice, posture, and so much more…)
Thinking about Audiences and Communities (Module 3). I’ll ask you to write and talk about communities that are important to you and audiences you’d like to reach.
Impromptu Team Presentations. You’ll work in teams to explore theories of audience and advice about how to reach audiences as a speaker. You’ll present your findings to the class.
Work on blogs. Writing and speaking go together. Writing your blog is an essential part of the work of this class. We’ll work together to make sure everyone can post to their blogs.
Bicycle Fabrication. We’ll have a visit from a San Francisco bicycle framebuilder to talk about how bikes are built and show some of his work.
Aaron and I took the muni to the ferry building where we started class today. We noticed that as we got closer to union square there were often cars driving in and out of the bike lanes on the road in an attempt to get away from the traffic. We got to the ferry building a bit before the rest of the class so we had time to walk around and see some of the food stands. Walking from the muni to the ferry building as well as around the building itself I noticed quite a few bike rental places as well as ford bike stands. After getting ice cream at the ferry building we took an uber to see the presentation which we ended up missing because of how bad the traffic was! The cars were hardly moving and our uber driver told us this was because of the amount of different construction projects going on in the area simultaneously.When this happened we saw again lots of people using the bike lanes to try and get out of the way of all the traffic which our uber driver did at one point.
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!