You might not realize it sipping coffee at 16th and Valencia, but that intersection was almost turned into an eight-lane freeway. And while you can't see the tracks anymore, the strange diagonal patterns of several S.F. streets accommodate the rail lines of the 19th century. Learn the story behind these and other facts on the Transit History Bike Tour.
Tour guide Chris Carlsson has written and edited numerous books on San Francisco, including Nowtopia and Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-78. He's also been riding his bike around the city for more than 30 years, and participated in the first Critical Mass bike ride in 1992 -- something he described as a "surprisingly boring experience." The tour promises to be the opposite of boring, with tales of violent transit strikes, ghost train routes and the corruption behind the development of the Outside Lands. That's "Outside Lands" as in the west side of town, when it was sand dunes and belonged to Mexico -- not the music festival. Bring your own bike, water and snacks.
The Transit History Bike Tour starts this Saturday April 13 at noon at 518 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $15-$50; call 608-9035 or visit shapingsf.org.