Last February, Payam Rajabi’s 27-mile bike ride around San Francisco made him famous in the local cycling community. Now it’s put him on the national stage.
For Valentine’s Day, Rajabi rode a heart around San Francisco, using his GPS—a sweet and sporty valentine for his out-of-town love.
Last week, a national commercial aired with the exact same premise.
It seemed a blatant case of ripping off a cool indie project and stealing it for a mega-million dollar commercial. But it turns out that Rajabi’s actually the star of the commercial.
The ad is definitely fun to watch and makes biking in SF look great—which it is. Rajabi races up and down San Francisco hills, skidding on his fixie through Chinatown and the hills of North Beach, all on what looks to be a local Mission Bicycle.
While it’s possible this is just another case of bike-washing, where corporations co-opt indie bike culture, its also makes bicycling in San Francisco look like the best, most fun, and most inspiring way to see the city—which it is.
So what do you think, cyclists? Does this make you proud to see yourself in a national commercial, or yearn for the days when the Real World’s bike messenger Puck was our only representative for mainstream America?