Tag Archives: one-off

East Bay Punk Rock History Bike Tour

“Punk rock” and “bike tour” are two  phrases you don’t expect to see together.  Throw in “history” and you’ve got the East Bay Punk Rock History Bike Tour.   When I saw this in my news feed a few weeks back, I knew that I had to make the trip.  The ride was co-sponsored by Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) and the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA).  So I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and began looking for a rental bike that wouldn’t make me look like a tourist who’d escaped from Fisherman’s Wharf.  Shout out to Golden Gate Rides who set me up with a Cannondale Quick flat bar road bike that was perfectly suited to a long weekend in the Bay Area.

Chris kicking off the ride at OMCA

The sellout ride began at the museum in downtown Oakland.  The 30 or so riders mingled prior to a welcome and pre-ride briefing from the WOBO board president, Chris.  CBGB and Dead Kennedy T-shirts replaced the typical cyclist kit.  And there was a bit of minor incredulity that someone would fly 1500 miles to participate.  Each rider received a pocket-sized Powerpoint deck detailing each stop of the tour.

 

We rolled out under clear blue skies to the first stop at the former site of the Practice Pad, in downtown Oakland.  Our guides were Kamala and Kate, pioneers of the punk rock scene in the East Bay.

Here, and at each of the eight following stops, Kamala and Kate related stories “from the day”.  Stories of starting bands, communal living, and less-than-normal rental practice spaces shared with semi-legal tattoo parlors and offbeat print shops.

More than half of the nine stops no longer resembled their punk rock roots, due to gentrification, remodeling, and new construction.  This ride was not about sightseeing as much as about the stories.  After each stop’s story, the guides played a song from one of the associated bands.   There’s nothing like a punk rock soundtrack on a bike ride.

Here’s a quick video of the music portion at one of the stops:

One particularly interesting detail about gentrification stuck with me.  Most of these neighborhoods were, at one time, inexpensive warehouse spaces or housing.  They were often very ethnic and dubious of the punk squatters.  Gentrification in the early 90’s hadn’t started, but Kate expressed regret that they didn’t try harder to build bridges with the existing neighborhoods.

The final stop on the tour was 924 Gilman which is a:

  • DIY and nonprofit venue for music, art, and community events
  • Cultural landmark since 1986 that continues to inspire similar spaces globally
  • Volunteer-run, all-ages, drug and alcohol-free safe space
  • Multi-generational, independent collective
  • Place for young people to work cooperatively

The route from OMCA to 924 Gilman was just under nine miles:

Stretching to Berkeley, the ride also provided a quick glimpse of some of the exceptional Bay Area cycling infrastructure, e.g. bicycle boulevards.

To top off the post ride, WOBO sent a playlist of the tracks played at the stops and during the ride:

01_TheGr’ups_RRHood.mp3
02_Special Forces_South Africa.mp3
03_StarFuckingHipsters_Immigrants_Hypocrites.mp3
04_Neurosis_Double Edged Sword.mp3
05_Christ on Parade_Just Pretend.mp3
06_Tilt_Berkeley Pier.mp3
07_Econochrist_Withdrawl.mp3
08_Spitboy_Sexism Impressed.mp3
09_NoMeansNo_Dad.mp3
10_Fang_Berkeley Heathen Scum.mp3
12_SocialUnrest_GeneralEnemy.mp3
13_Isocracy-2 Blocks Away.mp3
14_Crimpshrine_Tomorrow.mp3
15_Operation Ivy_Junkies Running Dry.mp3
16_Mr. T Experience_Gilman Street.mp3
17_Blatz_Berkeley is my Baby.mp3
18_Filth-The List.mp3
19_Lookouts_Big Green Monster.mp3
20_Screeching Weasel_Ashtray Song.mp3

Most of these titles seem to be available on Youtube.

Although this wasn’t a commercial bike tour, I’m including the usual:

What We Liked

  • It was a well organized, well run, well thought out event.  Kudos to WOBO and OMCA.
  • The pocket guide and music samples were a great idea.
  • Tim from WOBO even brought water along in his panniers.
  • Follow up emails with the route information and downloadable MP3s.
  • Friendly fellow riders.

What Could be Better

  • Nothing, even the weather was perfect.

Final Notes

Over an après-tour beer, I heard that WOBO is planning a shipping container themed bike tour around town and the Port of Oakland area.

And, finally, if you’re interested in learning more about the East Bay punk scene, check out a new documentary titled: Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk.

Groceries, Graffiti, and Getting High in Houston

It’s November and the weather is cooling off, a little, in subtropical Houston.  This month brings three #oneoff bike tours worth taking.

First up is the Heights Bicycle Tour, sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  Rolling on Nov 12, this ride is only $10.  It’s BYOB or you can grab a Houston Bcycle.

On November 19, Bayou City Outdoors is sponsoring an open-to-the-public bike tour of H-town’s farmer’s markets.  It’s free for both members and non-members.  Again, you’ll need to bring-your-own-bike or use Houston Bcycle.  Note: As of this writing, there are only 23 of 50 reserved spots left. Or, maybe 22, if BTBT decides to make a road trip.

Courtesy: BPPrice (CC BY 2.0)
Courtesy: BPPrice (CC BY 2.0)

Bayou City Outdoors is sponsoring yet another public ride on Sunday, November 20.  The Graffiti Ride starts at Market Square Park in front of Nico Nico’s in downtown Houston.  Also free of charge, this ride currently has a mere 16 slots remaining.  (Hmm, weekend road trip?…make that 15).  This ride also requires bringing one’s own bike, Bcycle, or renting from one of the nearby shops (see article).  Murals, graffiti, and public art are a perfect match for bike tours!

 

Murals and Bike Tours – Is This a Thing?

We hope so, it’s a perfect combination.

Remember the Miami Art Crawl we mentioned back in January?  It seems that things are warming up enough in Philadelphia to follow suit.  This Saturday, there’s a Mural Arts Tours 2016 Spring Launch Event featuring a couple of bike tours (free) and a walking tour ($22).  Spots are going fast, so sign up now.

The tours will be lead by Philadelphia Eagles DE Connor Barwin.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there are any regularly scheduled mural bike tours.  But the event is cosponsored by Philly’s bike share, Indego…..so maybe that will be changing?

Manchester Themed Tours

Bike Tours Manchester has a series of “Themed Tours” available this season.   Tomorrow’s ride is the Suffragette Ride and Tea Party:

The bicycle has long been associated with Manchester’s suffragettes and is a powerful symbol of women’s liberation. As the city gears up for International Women’s Day, we are holding a Suffragette Ride from Chorlton via the Pankhurst Centre and Alexandra Park to celebrate the bicycle’s role in women’s history and highlight today’s gender imbalance in cycling, largely due to fears around road safety. Sign up now for a limited number of places on a led ride (Edwardian costume and suffragette banners encouraged) or cycle the route yourself and meet us at Alexandra Park for tea and cake, talks, activities and a small exhibition.

This is, of course, Manchester, UK.  The rides vary in price, but the Suffragette ride is free.  RSVP on Eventbrite.

The One-Off

val-rideWhen we started building the BTBT worldwide global intergalactic #citybiketour database, our focus was on commercial bike tour operators.  But we quickly discovered numerous DIY, BYOB rides, such as Bikabout‘s very professional offerings along with more home grown efforts like the City of Portland’s recommended rides.   And we even wrote one of our own for Austin’s east side.

More and more now, we’re discovering the “one-off”…a specific one time bike tour created by the likes of art galleries, civic groups, advocacy groups, and just plain folks.  Even some of the bike tour operators are getting in on the act.

There are ecotours, history tours, art crawls, and even Valentine’s rides this coming V-day weekend (with optional tandem bikes, of course).

Bikes are a great way to get around town.  City bike tours are a great way to see a city.  And one-off tours are a great way to do something a little different and unique.  On a bike.

Who’s up for Tour de Cluck?