Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Web Site!

Towards the beginning of the New Year I will be taking ownership of a new domain,, and the blog and related materials will be moving over there.  The site is still under construction but will be operable with new content sometime in January.  Until then, this blog remains the go-to site for all your cycling and history based needs.

I am taking possession of this domain through the hard work of my brother, James, and his partner, Zoe.  Huge thanks for getting me started and doing some amazing preliminary design work.

Cycling Through History 

Companions in History

I've recently learned that there is another site on the East Coast that shares some of the same goals and interests as mine.  Cycling Trough History, Massachusetts, addresses the exploration of local history with an emphasis on African-American and related topics.  Their goal is to design a network of bicycle routes that will allow people to explore themes in local African American history on their own terms.

I'm excited to learn that there are people in other communities working towards similar goals and sharing the same interest in the historical and cultural background that makes their locale unique and important.  It would be incredibly interesting to see a network of sites, each exploring a different city and a different local perspective.

Please take a minute and take a look at their site, Cycling Through History, Massachusetts, and learn more about their project.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's so long for the holidays!

The blog will be on hold until the new year, while I immerse myself in the joy and chaos of the holiday season.  The plan is to come back into 2012 with a whole slew of new material and generally continue riding my bike around for no good reason other than that I like to do it. 

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog, and I look forward to sharing more local history with you in 2012!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Bike Hut

First things first, this week marks a small change in format for this blog.  My intention was always to publish twice a week, but that kind off writing and riding schedule is not sustainable when I take into account my work/non-blog related bicycle riding/spousal relationship maintaining schedule.  So from now on I'll be publishing once a week on Tuesday.  Thanks for continuing to read.

The Bike Hut is located at 1045 Tunitas Creek Rd., 13km south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 and 1.6km inland.

The Bike Hut is a free rest stop operated by Potrero Nuevo Farms on Tunitas Creek Road.  It's impossible to miss, since it's the only building in site that's bright red with white stripes and a giant sign on the front that says "The Bike Hut".  They have a picnic area, they sell snacks ($1-2) and water bottle refills ($.25) with an honor system cash box, it's free and open to all cyclists, and it is available to all those in need 24/7, 365 days a year.

To be fair, the Bike Hut has little to nothing to do with history, but it has everything to do with cycling.  This is an incredibly generous resource shared by the owners/managers with the cycling community at large.  If you do swing by the bike hut, and I suggest you do if you're in the neighborhood, please write a thank you note in the book, be generous with your donations, and be courteous to the people operating the farm.  Tunitas Creek Road is a great way to spend an afternoon on a bike, and the presence of the Bike Hut just makes me all the more eager to head back to that neck of the woods.

Getting There By Bike...
It's easy to get to the Bike Hut by bike, provided you're traveling either on Highway 1, up Tunitas Creek Road to get back to the Bay, or down Tunitas Creek to get to Highway 1.  Basically, there are a very small number of reasons you would be riding in this area, but if you are you should go to the bike hut.  The hut is right on the side of the road, very close to the Tunitas Creek/Highway 1 junction.  Just head inland and you can't miss it.  If you have some extra time the First Unitarian Church of Pescadero is just down the road.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The San Francisco Ferry Building

The San Francisco Ferry Terminal is located on the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco, at the terminus of Market Street.

The current Ferry Building was designed by A. Page Brown and was built in 1898 to replace an earlier wooden building.  The clock tower on top of the Ferry Building is modeled after the 12th century Giralda tower in Seville Spain.  The original clock mechanism, a Special No. 4 built in 1898 by E. Howard of Boston, is still intact and functional, though the operation of the clock has been taken over by a more accurate electronic mechanism that doesn't require winding.  It is the largest wind-up, dialed, mechanical clock in the world.  The Ferry Building survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes with only minor damage and has remained largely unchanged, at least architecturally, for most of its life.

For the first half of the 20th century the San Francisco Ferry Building was the main transit hub for the Bay Area, seeing so much daily traffic that it was the second busiest mass transit center in the world, only falling behind Charing Cross Station in London.  The ferry Building was the embarkation point for ships bound for the East Bay and vice versa.  There was also a loop track for local street car service in front of the building so commuters could board local transit once their ferries had arrived in the city.

The building fell into disuse in the second half of the 20th century, following the opening of the Bay Bridge and the extension of Key Route rail car service between San Francisco and Oakland.  The construction of the Embarcadero Freeway in the 1950s effectively severed the Embarcadero waterfront form the rest of the city and the Ferry Building saw an accompanying drop in service and use.  However, following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished and, with the creation of the current Embarcadero and its surrounding park spaces, the city gained back a significant cultural and historical resource.  The building currently houses a gourmet market and hosts San Francisco's best known farmer's market.  Also, Blue Bottle coffee has a stand there which makes the building worth a trip almost every time I go to the city.

I like the Ferry Buildding a lot.  I moved to the area after the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished so the thought of not being able to climb out of the Embarcadero BART station and orient myself by looking for the Ferry Building clock tower is very odd to me.  It remains one of my favorite sights in the city and I never feel bad taking the time to walk through it.  The inside of the building is great too, following a very extensive renovation in 2003.  The farmer's market and the shops inside are worth a trip, but don't go on the weeekendd because the crowds will be out of control.

Getting There By Bike...
The Ferry Building is easy to find...
  • Ride BART to the city and get off at the Embarcadero station.
  • Walk out to street level.
  • Turn around and see the Ferry Building at the end of Market St.
If you live in the city it's even easier...
  • Get on Market Street.
  • Ride your bike east (into downtown) until you fall in the water.
  • Take a couple steps backwards and look up.  You're at the Ferry Building!