Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A day in San Francisco- Huckleberry Bikes, Cafe Mojo, urban growth and adaptive reuse

After our lovely time in Marin and Davis with friends and family, we made our way to SF.  One of our first stops was at Huckleberry Bicycles, a labor of creativity and love by our good friends Zack and Jonas. The shop has grown to a thriving business which is playing a big role in the revitalization of the Market Street corridor in SF's financial district.

Photo from the Huckleberry Bicycles website

The store is full of beautiful, stylish and functional commuter bikes and gear, yet the layout makes it feel open and airy, not crowded in the least.  After just one year in business, they've recently expanded the shop to double the original square footage, and I have to say it is one of the most beautiful shops I've been in.

You'll notice that the new space (in the background) features a beautiful bicycle mural, which was painted by SF mural artist Brian Barneclo (incidentally, if you are a fan of murals and related art, you should check out another of Barneclo's projects, the Systems Mural Project).

Photo borrowed from Huckleberry Bikes' facebook page (thanks guys!).

The store has an impressive variety of lovely accessories too, and everything is just so visually appealing.

Another shot from Huck's fb page. 
Having worked with Zack and Jonas for 2+ years in the bicycle industry, I can assure you that the customer service at Huckleberry Bicycles is top notch. If you're a resident of SF or the Bay Area and you need a bike or some new commute wear, I highly recommend talking to the people at Huckleberry.

While we were browsing through Huckleberry's beautiful stock, I bumped into the ladies behind the brand new  Iladora Apparel, a company focusing on fashionable bicycle commuting wear for women. They have a strong commitment to local design and manufacturing, and strict environmental standards for their materials and practices.  (I am coveting a pair of their Perfect Bike Pants, in case anyone is wondering...).

We departed the shop with some Huck Bike swag- a water bottle, some stickers, and a pair of soft and cozy American Apparel t-shirts, as well as a pair of Giro merino gloves (not pictured, but I absolutely love them for wet drizzly Seattle commutes).

From Huckleberry Bikes, we headed up to Divisdero, where we met our dear friend Gillian and her adorable little ladies for lunch at Mojo Cafe, a combination bike shop and restaurant.

The food was yummy and fresh, and we enjoyed a sunny patio lunch as well as great conversation.  After lunch, Chad and I pedaled around the Mission, marveling at how much everything has changed and hipsterfied since we last visited.

Multi-modal mural in SF.
While Seattle is definitely going through a major period of growth, it is somewhat dwarfed by the scale of development taking place in SF. Nearly every corner has a new business or is under construction for a new "exciting mixed use project."   It's exciting to know that the economy is back, but also quite alarming from an affordability perspective.  SF is quickly becoming unaffordable for the creative community, as well as working-class families.

We wrapped up our afternoon with a visit to the temporary home of the school my cousin Bret teaches at, which happens to be in the old California Academy of Sciences building.  It is a really amazing adaptive, though temporary, re-use. The cafeteria (nearground) and sports "fields" (background) are in the cavernous space that used to house some of the larger exhibits.

The library is set up in the temporary space on top of a bunch of old offices, which are currently used as classrooms.

My favorite area was their temporary mechanical engineering department, which consists of an amazing bike repair area.  How amazing it would have been to have bike repair in primary school!  What a great application of physics principles for little minds.

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