A New Type of Business: Bikes Welcome Inside

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Friday night I took a little spin on my bike around San Francisco, hitting the Mission District's Valencia Street.

While the new U-shaped racks are nice to have on the sidewalk in front of many businesses, the ultimate is to be able to bring your bike inside with you so can keep it safe from the elements and from those who might covet the bike, or certain pieces of it.

53403033_3127135266_m.jpgSo after a quick but distracted bite to eat of Belgium Frites with both eyes out the window at one place's rack, I rode down the bike lane (one of the first in SF--from about 1995!) toward Zeitgeist (199 Valencia Street, at Duboce). I knew bikes can be stored there on wall-mounted hooks festooned all around the outdoor beergarden.

At Zeitgeist, which I would file under "hipster-cyclist mileau," I was met at the door by a bouncer telling me there was no more space in the beer garden for bikes. He was square in form and pretty serious about not letting me through. I've seen more than 50 bikes at Z-geist before, maybe even 100, so this was a shocker.

I carefully pleaded my case, "I won't be able to spend money in your business if you don't let me in with my bike. There's no way I'm leaving this carbon fiber racer out in the street for the junkies to prey upon."

He held his goateed chin and pondered. "Alright, just don't let them know I sent you, because the racks are too full."

Sure enough there was an empty hook along the whitewashed fence in the large backyard for me to hang my front wheel upon, and spend money I did.

Note to other businesses
: cyclists will stay longer, buy more, and are more likely to return if you can allow people to bring bikes into a safe place off the streets. Or provide valet parking with a guard, as local bike coalitions do for some events, such as the SF Bike Coalition and Marin County Bicycle Coaltion.


Photo by Tom McClure

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About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Warren Karlenzig published on August 3, 2008 2:12 PM.

California to Require all New Buildings to be Green was the previous entry in this blog.

The New Los Angeles: Bus, Bike, or Boogie down the Sidewalk is the next entry in this blog.

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