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Kristin Smith

The Burner Bike: DIY Tips from Playa Pros

Love it or hate it, it’s Burning Man season, which means our fair city is about to be flooded with everything Playa-bound: the people, the fur, the rented RV’s. And while much of the Burners are prepping their art cars and modified pop-up vans, a fair share of hardcore Playa folk are putting the finishing touches on another form of desert transit: The Burner Bike. From the slice and dice choppers to the glitter-covered top tubes, we bring you portraits of four long-time local Burners, their favorite desert bikes, and their tips on how to Playafy your ride. 

EDDIE VALTIERRA (14 years at Burning Man)

(photo by Molly DeCoudreaux)

Origin of bike: Two years ago my Burning Man bike's pedal fell off and was beyond repair. Thankfully, a girl who had come to Burning Man from the UK and could not take it home, gifted me her bike. 

Accessories: Last year I spent hours bedazzling my bike and adding pink faux fur. The only new additions this year are the cupcake antennas. 

Advice for last minute bike builders: Decorate your bike because you can easily recognize it and lessen the chance of it getting stolen or accidentally taken. 

Tips for riding on the Playa: Always have lights on at night and watch out for grooves of loose playa dust.

Most important in a Burner bike: Comfort, style, and a nice basket!

Four Great Road Bike Rides That Avoid The Golden Gate Bridge

Most local riders think of Marin as the ultimate road biking paradise—and in many ways it is. No one can argue that its gorgeous vistas, ocean views and perfect rolling hills make for world-class cycling. But with the Golden Gate Bridge bike lane closed through September, it’s tougher to reach that paradise, especially if you don’t have a car. So with the help of the folks at Mash Transit, the newly opened bike shop on 14th Street, I pulled together four great rides that that will keep you off the bridge and on your saddle. 

Learn How to Survive a Zombie Attack in Lower Haight This Week

Let’s face it, we live in a dangerous city. We have to contend with earthquakes, possible tsunamis, and those freaky liquifaction zones. Through the NERT program, the San Francisco Fire Department is doing a great job training us on what to do when disaster strikes. But there’s one thing they haven’t prepared us for: Zombies. 

Fear not, citizens of San Francisco, help is on the way. This Thursday, you can learn disaster survival skills (like building an emergency kit and finding safe drinking water), but you’ll also learn how to stab the undead through the heart. Did I mention it’s a game, with prizes, and there’s a party afterwards?

The Stone Pony Sets Up Shop in The Mission

Vintage clothes at The Stone Pony

This week, the Mission’s newest hip shop opened its gold-painted doors. Housed on an otherwise residential block of 20th Street (at San Carlos), the Stone Pony is already proving to be a popular spot for the city’s discerning vintage shoppers.  

For those of you who think the Mission needs another thrift store like it needs a hole in the head, fear not: The Stone Pony isn’t a typical thrift store stuffed with overpriced used clothes shipped in by the bundles. Instead, the shop is a mixture of affordable hand picked vintage items, locally made jewelry and spiritual accessories, like sage and crystals. 

Solo Swim Between San Francisco and The Farallon Islands Starts Tomorrow

If you’ve been following the epic adventures of the Night Train Swimmers, you know they’ve had their eyes set on one prize: swimming between San Francisco and The Farallon Islands. After multiple six-person relay attempts in the frigid, shark-infested waters, the group finally completed two successful crossings of the notorious “Red Triangle” this spring. Now, with the smell of victory still fresh in the air, the group is setting out to do something even more challenging—swim it solo.

Amgen Tour of California Kicks Off in Lake Tahoe This Weekend

You won’t get a chance to see the Amgen Tour of California come through San Francisco this year, but you don’t have to travel far to see the pro peloton, which begins this Sunday and races its way though the state over the next eight days. 

Though in its infancy compared to established Euro races, the Tour of California has positioned itself as a world-class race, and it’s the largest cycling event in the nation. Nineteen of the elite teams, like Radioshack and Rabobank, will compete in our state, and even without Lance Armstrong, it will still be a cycling superhero showcase. Among the crowd favorites will be Andy Schleck, who came in second at the Tour de France last year, and Santa Rosa local, Levi Leipheimer, who has won the Tour of California three times and held multiple top ten finishes in the Tour de France. 

Stage One begins in South Lake Tahoe on Sunday at 10:30 am. At 6,300 feet, it’s the highest elevation start in the six-year history, and one of the most beautiful and grueling routes of the Tour. The route skirts the entire lake on Stage 1 and heads out to Sacramento for Stage 2. In poor timing, Highway 50 will be down to one lane for repairs, so plan your road trip accordingly.

Ocean Beach to Host Pro Surfing Competition in November

Any local surfer knows that Ocean Beach can be a gnarly, currenty, beachbreak of a mess. The water is frigid, the waves unpredictable. But on calm days, usually in the fall, Ocean Beach can produce some gloriously glassy waves. And that’s just what the Association of Surfing Professionals is banking on. 

On Sunday morning, the ASP announced that Ocean Beach will host the 10th event of their World Tour. The competition will bring 35 pros from around the globe to battle it out on the unpredictable waves at Kelly’s Cove. Because there’s no guarantee that our local waves will cooperate, the ASP has given a two-week window (November 1-11) for the competition.

Ahead of the Pack: SF’s Chuey Brand Is Outfitting Cyclists Across The Globe

When Kachusha Munkanta was 9-years-old, the cycling pro tour came through his hometown of Philadelphia. Inspired by the energy of the tour and the bright team colors, Munkanta and his brother peddled to the nearest bike shop to buy their favorite fluorescent team hat. 

Today, more than 20 years later, Munkanta—-who is affectionately known as Chuey-—sits in front of his Mission District workshop wearing a wool cycling hat of his own creation. As the owner of Chuey Brand, a locally made and internationally known small-scale cycling clothing company, this grown up Philly kid is moving San Francisco bike fashion to the front of the pack. “I happened to start at the right time,” says Munkanta, as he spins a small bike lock in his hand. “There’s this whole urban bike movement that’s happening.”

Rage Against the Machine: 4 Ultimate San Francisco Urban Workouts

Steep hills, rugged parks, and a freezing cold bay. If any city’s terrain can lure you out of the gym and onto the streets, ours can. Four experts put together the ultimate urban workout. One writer reports on (barely) surviving it.

City Work Out: The Coit Tower Multi-Press

The Workout: The Coit Tower Multi-Press

The Expert: Keith Wohlwend, founder of Boot Camp SF (bootcampsf.com), runs boot camps in neighborhoods across the city and is an expert in urban terrain.

It’s no surprise that CBS’ Amazing Race leveraged Coit Tower for Season 16’s final challenge. Instead of using the tower itself, boot camp guru Keith Wohlwend suggested I use the terrain around it for the best workout.

I started at the Greenwich Street Stairs and jogged up the steep steps to the tower, visualizing Lillie Hitchcock Coit—the cross-dressing, gambling, sometimes fire-fighting woman who bequeathed us the memorial. She climbed this hill every day, probably wearing a corset, sometimes with fire hose in tow.

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