The Lyon Street Steps
Pacific Heights
Sunday morning


I bike here.

My daily life without my bicycle and my coffee would be like a Martin Scorsese film without the music of the Rolling Stones.

Riding a bicycle has done a tremendous therapy to the soul and moved my eyes through a myriad of wonderful evolving events. Roaming around every single neighborhood in this beautiful city, this machine has been attached to my hip in the last many years and has built many bike lane memories and great respect for the steep street grades.

My bicycle is a French frame made by Motobecane. A local Italian family of four generations from Cow Hollow (yes, there are a ton of old school Italians in the Marina) purchased the bicycle here in San Francisco in the 70s. I am very lucky that this was passed on to me a few years ago to become the second owner. I came across the bicycle in pristine shape, considering that it had been stored in the garage of the grandpa’s house for about 15 years. I was honored and beyond excited to ride. I’m sure the Frenchie (my bike’s name) has seen plenty of time go by in the neighborhoods of this charming city and is excited to see a new generation out there, riding and challenging those damn hills.

One of my favorite streets to wake up and shake every single one of my five senses is Polk Street. There is always something happening between Market Street and North Point. It’s always nice to see when the City Hall dome changes colors — my favorite was last year when the rainbow colors across the street at the War Memorial, displayed support against Prop 8. The steam from BART underneath around McAllister could make your bicycle feel like the horse in Sleepy Hollow galloping the dark winter night away. Late nights and being hungry are good combined reasons to ride northbound on Polk street. A cheesy slice of pizza at midnight, early mornings at the bagelry and Bob’s Donuts are there when you want them, Thai food at every other corner, Indian food, garlic smells dancing around you, then the smell of drunk jocks approaching Green Street are always there to greet you anytime. Nevermind the evolving smells of the Tenderloin, fenders on my bicycle are appreciated everyday…

Speaking of senses, it wouldn’t make sense to ride my bicycle without making various fuel pit stops. This bicycle machine and its qualified 14-speed pilot function on caffeine. Planning outings with friends depending on the coffee shop near by happens by default. Tell me any intersection in the city, and I’ll let you know which coffee shop is near you and what beans. Yup, it’s like that.

Coffee has brought many good things to my life. I begin the day with coffee and often finalize my dinner with a shot of espresso. Often times I plan my routes according to coffee stops, then hills, then a second coffee stop before I eventually get to point B. I do drink plenty of coffee and I’m the first one to admit it, so it isn’t really a problem, right?

The city is very small and there are huge hills, but there is always a way around them. Go get lost outside your neighborhood, visit streets you have not been to in years, and do it often. Wanderluster by nature, I often times decide to intentionally take the longest route, if time permits it. One of my favorite random coffee outings was back in the summer. One afternoon, my friend and decided to meet up in Hayes Valley for coffee. I was in North Beach, she was in Glen Park. Linden Street was our midpoint. We then rode around and got sandwiches in my favorite sub place in the whole city at the corner of Union and Steiner. This guy, a one-man show, makes the avocado in the veggie sub look like perfectly cut sushi art. You can’t go there in a rush, and it’s worth it. Anyways, we then grabbed our food and rode to Crissy Field to eat our lunch. After we finished, we decided that it was time for more coffee and we continued our venture up to Pac Heights, rode through Laurel Heights and headed to ride through Golden Gate Park, leading to coffee stop number two, this time in the Inner Sunset. I had recently discovered a coffee shop near 17th and we sat for some more good doses of caffeine and some more chatter. Eventually we made it out to the Outer Sunset to pick up her kid from preschool and we rode back around to the Panhandle, we then split up and went opposite ways. By the time we each had reached our destinations, we had ridden about 25 miles without even thinking about it.

As I’ve said before: My bike is my shrink, best friend, conversation starter, mood enhancer, and gym. All in one, every day.



You can see the rest of Meli’s photo shoot here.

Meli’s blog is ♥Bikes And The City:



  1. Posted December 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I love Meli and love your site! On to read your other posts…

  2. Peter Smith
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    excellent tribute to Meli, the Frenchie, SF, riding, and coffay. 🙂

  3. richie rifle
    Posted December 20, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    It is always a pleasure to view bikes and the city, change your life-ride a bike and I live here-sf…and it is always refreshing to see pictures of the grogeous meli amd her lovely city…i would like a “ride a bike change your life bumber sticker”, but my bike doesn’t have a bumper…what to do…?
    Thank you for your inspiration.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: