Many car drivers don’t understand people who use bikes as their primary mode of transport. They don’t understand how cyclists put up with all the fussy, tangled U-locks, and the heavy wielding up and down BART stairwells and most of all they don’t understand the notion of bearing up against the elements and the chaos of the streets – the panting, pulse-raising effort it takes just to pick up some milk for your morning coffee when you’ve run out.

But cycling is a habit that normalizes itself. The maneuvering of locks becomes facile and thoughtless, the daily trips cease to break a sweat, you begin to depend on the fresh air and rush of the morning commute more than you do your coffee. Before long, it’s the notion of spending several hundred dollars on gas every month that seems absurd. The real panting and pulse-raising seems most associated with the parking spot hunt, aggravating digital meters and the inevitable bi-annual ticket. Not to mention traffic.

Photo by Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay

Photo by Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay

It is daunting at first. But the Oakland bike aficionados we spoke with guarantee  you will grow accustomed to biking around the city. You will stop regarding your transportation trips as lost time and begin to regard them as sanctuaries of motion amidst days of cramped, maddening stillness. Nothing unwinds the tension of a crappy situation more than peddling yourself away from it, cruising past traffic jammed cars and breathing in the wind. In this series, local cycling enthusiasts will address any and all anxieties that may inhibit your biking aspirations. We hope after reading this you’ll use these resource to bike around town.


How to route yourself around Oakland

Oakland’s Pedestrian and Cycling program and SFGIS teamed up to  create a cool interactive map of Oakland’s  bikeways that you can use on your phone.  

The city also offers a downloadable, printable  pdf of the local bike routes. Use these to get around.  But because everyone prioritizes different comforts when biking, the best thing to do is vary your route until you’ve found one that suits you. The main thoroughfares for cars can be the most intimidating but there’s usually a good bikeway on a nearby parallel. So instead of taking International Blvd. you can take San Leandro Blvd. which runs parallel to it. Likewise, instead of TelegraphAve., take Webster or Shafter.

That said, bike advocates like Chris Hwang of WOBO encourage cyclists to stake out their claim to the major thoroughfares. “Beginners will feel more comfortable on side streets, but ultimately we hope to calm the traffic on those main thoroughfares because they’re often the most convenient route and cyclists are entitled to them,” said Chris.

But even if you like the route you take, try switching it up every once in a while. Part of the joy of biking is the vantage point it gives you. The pace is optimal for letting the city unfurl in tantalizing glimpses and strange tableaus. You can cruise slow enough to notice the deco detail on a building’s upper facade but never quite slow enough to feel you got a good look. You can roll down that intriguing alley just to see what the huddling crowd is about and then roll out before you’re noticed. You can take the side street that’s slightly out of your way just because the boulevard of plum blossoms called to you. When you’re biking everything is an adventure.

If you want to become a better biker

Photo by Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay

Photo by Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay

Go to one of the FREE Bike East Bay classes to improve your skills, safety and maintenance know-how. Classes include:

•Urban Cycling 101 for Adults and Teens

•Adult Learn-to-Ride Classes

•Family Cycling Workshops

•Kids Bike Rodeos

•One Hour Workshops

We’re particularly fond of Urban Cycling 101: a two-part class for adults and teens that teaches basic rules of the road, how to equip your bicycle, fit your helmet, take a bike on transit, and avoid crashes by riding predictably, visibly, and communicating with other road users by your actions and signals.



Live Work Oakland’s bike series is brought to you by Hot Italian, the first LEED Certified pizza & panini bar and the first bicycle friendly restaurant in California, open daily 11:30 a until late night with weekend brunch, cocktails, wi-fi, curbside pick-up, and delivery by bike from Emeryville’s Public Market. HOT ITALIAN is a design-driven brand where modern Italy meets urban California and a 2014 East Bay Bike Bike-Friendly business winner.

VISIT HOT ITALIAN AT THE PUBLIC MARKET Open daily 11:30 am & weekend brunch 10:30 am-3:30 pm 5959 Shellmound Street, Emeryville, CA 94608 (510) 922-1369

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