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Friday, November 14, 2014

Look Into the Future of Market Street at Rapha Cycle Club

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 4:28 PM

click to enlarge well-connected.jpg

The Rapha Cycle Club along Filbert Street is the local haunt of the upscale cycling apparel maker and its devotees. Next week the Cycle Club, which also happens to be a café, and sometimes art gallery, is hosting a show of Market Street Prototype plans along with a panel discussion with people who have ideas about cycling and urban planning,.

That includes Rob Forbes, founder of Public Bikes, Michael Horvath of Strava, and Kansas Waugh, the general manager of the Bay Area Bike Share program. 

Well-Connected: The Re-Visioning of Market Street, which takes place next Thursday, November 20, from 6-9 p.m., is a preview of what we can expect from the big Market Street Prototyping Festival next year. The panel plans to discuss issues of urban cycling, safety, and more. Rob Forbes, who will be leading the panel, said the discussion will focus on innovative, provocative, and fresh perspectives for making San Francisco a modern city for biking, walking, and living in general.

Derrick Lewis of Rapha North America said that the brand wanted to “do something centered around city riding.” They worked with Forbes to come up with this event, which doubles as an opening for a show that will display entries in The Market Street Prototyping Festival. That event, which takes place next April, is a kind of a crowdsourcing urban design project, seeking ideas about how to create a nicer, friendlier, greener, Market Street.

Despite the fact that Rapha sells "Climber's Shoes" that are more expensive than some Public Bikes, the partnership seems pretty apt – they both have an interest in getting more people riding around the city. Rapha also just launched a new city riding line, but it’s not just business. Lewis told me that everybody at Rapha is “passionate about getting more people on bicycles.”
click to enlarge public-rapha-bike-1-1024x594.jpg

Forbes told me he envisions the future of San Francisco cycling as a lot more European. He imagines, “a system of interconnected safe bike lanes that traverse the city – what you have in cities large and small all over Europe – where a mom and her kids, or two lovers, can ride side-by-side and chat without fear. This implies separated bike lanes as they have all over Europe. My vision would be that 25 percent of the local population can easily and efficiently get to work and that San Francisco becomes the model for all other cities.”

Of course, 25 percent is an optimistic long-term goal, but Forbes isn’t crazy. In those European cities he’s talking about, such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam, more than 40 percent of trips are taken by bike. Forbes isn’t just your average bike blogger either, he’s on the National Mayors Institute on City Design, the San Francisco Mayor’s Council on Greening, the advisory board of the San Francisco Bike Coalition…. And a lot of other things.

If you attend, you will hear from Michael Horvath, the founder and president of Strava, the cycling and exercise tracking app, that recently made available (for a price) a huge pile of usage data that should be useful to city planners. Kansas Waugh, the general manager of Bay Area Bike Share, and the architect of Chicago’s Divvy bike share program, will also be on hand. The rest of the panel includes architecture and design stars John Bela, of Gela Architects, Jason Kelley Johnson of Future Cities Lab, and Nic Rader, of Snøhetta. Snøhetta and Future Cities Labs are also exhibiting their visions of Market Street at the show and at the Market Street Prototyping Festival. 

Even if you’re not an urban design nerd, expect refreshments and designery bike clothes. And of course, lots of free stuff.

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About The Author

Leif Haven

Leif Haven

Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill — literally and metaphorically.


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