The “trendyloin” was walked

For those who may have missed it (as you probably do it everyday anyway) Walk San Francisco had their Trendyloin walk yesterday, taking people on a short walking tour through the Tenderloin, Tendernob, and Nob Hill. As you can see from the photo set posted on Facebook most of them were dressed up in full North Face attire, hats, backpacks and hiking boots as if they were going to take on Half Dome. They also didn’t really delve in the actual heart of Loinland (the OC level is rather high as of late afterall), but that’s how it goes.

While we’re big fans of walking in San Francisco, we didn’t make it out to the “event” as we were busy walking elsewhere for free and being nearly hit by those who still insist on driving in the city.

If any of our dear Tender readers tagged along for the walk, do let us know how it went.

No foolin’, it’s Walk to Work Day

Seeing as how I’m officially On Strike from Muni (really, I am), I walked 3.5 miles back home last night after having an expensive, crap meal in Noe Valley surrounded by all that I hate about San Francisco. Apparently I was getting a jump on “Walk to Work” day, which is every year on the first Friday of April.

Naturally, you wouldn’t know it given all that flappity flap going around the web for April Fool’s Day (seriously people, either be insanely original and funny or stop fucking doing it) but both events didn’t slip past our illustrious supe Jane Kim who decided to walk to work from Civic Center (as pictured below). You might be thinking, “Wait, doesn’t she work at Civic Center?” When she’s working and actually checking her voicemail instead of being late to meetings, yes, she does indeed work at Civic Center. So she both celebrated April Fool’s Day and mocked alternative transportation methods in the same breath. How’s that for multi-tasking!

Photo from Walk San Francisco's Facebook Page

So happy an hour, it’s overflowing

While finishing off some leftover pizza from last night, I remembered this sign I saw the other day at Supremo Pizza on O’Farrell at Jones. While an amazingly optimal use of a random cut of paper, it also works to broadcast their broad-spectrum happy announcement from 1-7PM. Never eaten there, but with such an amazing range of choices, maybe I should. While obviously much more of a “happy afternoon”, all will be also happy to know that EBT is indeed accepted.

Mike, tell Grimur no more TVs

There’s nothing like waking up, stumbling downstairs and then seeing an old-school Magnavox TV replete with antenna from let’s say, 1982, sitting in your lobby as a birthday “gift” to someone else in the building. I may have a strange relationship with my friends, but for some reason while they might detonate my parents’ mailbox, they don’t leave a lump of toxic waste for me on the doorstep I share with 50 other people.

PS – Many thanks for letting it set there for three days as that was no end of awesome. I suppose that either you or the building manager heaved it somewhere. Probably the sidewalk outside, so Generik11 can photograph it out in the wild…

Perhaps a dryer Sunday Streets Tenderloin this year?

After the washout that was Sunday Streets in the Tenderloin last year (seriously, San Francisco always gets rain at the end of October), it appears that this year they’ve scheduled the event to happen in a bit more summery fashion on August 14th. As they note, the schedule is subject to change, but let’s hope they stick to this as the Tenderloin, with its massive density and central location is one of the areas where an event such as this could work really, really well. And the best part is that it will be free of supervisoral campaigning this year.

Your bike humor has me laughing on the inside

The following bike poster has made pretty much all the blogging rounds today (Uptown Almanac, Timbuk2, Laughing Squid, etc.) It’s a decent chuckle and created by agirlnamedtor, so good for her.

It just happens that the Tenderloin “bike” is a bit of bullshit being a locked up frame with stolen wheels. It’s true that San Francisco is generally in the Top 10 for bike theft for the US, which makes sense given the amount of riders. It just so happens that the Tenderloin is not the worst neighborhood for bike theft in the city though. It’s not even in the top five. The Mission is #1 followed by SOMA, Upper-Market, Fisherman’s Wharf, Mission Bay, South Beach, Financial District, Hayes Valley, then Tenderloin tying with Nob Hill and the Richmond.

I think that Kevin at Uptown Almanac sums up the general stupidity of it with, “I have never once seen a unicycle in the Haight”. ‘Nuff said. Do a little research before future charting endeavors.

Cycling racked with some style (finally)

I have to admit that I’m much more of a walker than a cyclist, but when it comes to anything that’s non-car, I’m a fan. This is one of the reasons that when I saw the new bike racks at Civic Center that the SF Bike Coalition wrote about, I was pretty stoked. And not only because there’s a serious lack of bike racks in the city. Just look at them:

Wave Rack by Ryan Dempsey, in front of City Hall on Polk Street.

I mean honestly, the current bike racks we have in this city are, to put it in the most mild of terms, fucking ugly hunks of heaping turd. That makes the rework of the originals you see below even cooler. That and they just look fast. Woohoo!

Bike Rack by Todd Gilens, located in front of Show Dogs at 1020 Market street.

But, it’s true that there has been a lot of bike activity in the neighborhood lately such as the opening of Bamboo Bike Studio and the bike warehouse that is farm:table any given morning. Whether it’s just a Loinster thing or they’re actually here to stay, I wholeheartedly support it.

Map Rack by Kirk Scott, located in front of City Hall on Polk street.

Check out the rest of the pictures of these three awesome bike racks that the SF Bicycle Coalition selected after running a contest.

Bamboo Bike Studio rides in to the hood

As many of you eagle-eyed Tender readers (or simply the ones who often walk down Post between Larkin and Hyde) have already noticed, the Tenderhood has recently welcomed a new bikeshop. And by shop I mean workshop, since they don’t actually sell bikes. Instead, they sell two-day workshops to build your own bicycle. And no, this isn’t just any bicycle, but one made of bamboo. Apparently it’s a new trend in bike design, as it has lots of advantages such as a tensile strength greater than steel while also being very light, and also it’s a plant that grows quickly and abundantly all over the world making it widely available and renewable.

The Bamboo Bike Studio, as this new shop it’s called, soft-opened its San Francisco location on November 1st and has had bike-making workshops nearly every weekend since then. This is their second location after starting up in Brooklyn, NYC, two years ago. There are three guys behind the Bamboo Bike Studios, Marty Odlin and Sean Murray (pictured below), who developed the system to make the bamboo bikes, and David Mann. They are also part of The Bamboo Bike Project by Columbia University’s Earth Institute’s to build bamboo bikes in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

Basically, the idea is that the Bamboo Bike Studio teach people to build bike frames out of bamboo, and then use the engineering, teaching, and financial capital to establish bamboo bike factories in several countries, starting with Ghana and Kenya. As stated in their website, their mission is to provide every cyclist the experience of building his or her dream bike from scratch, while advancing sustainable development by financing bamboo bike factories in Africa and South America.

Unfortunately, getting one of these cool, light-weight bikes for yourself isn’t exactly cheap. The intensive weekend workshops start at $632 for just the frame (you can add your own components at home or from your local shop). They supply all tools and materials (including the bamboo, obviously), and as much help as you need. Additionally, with the Full Bike option of $948 they help you select and install all the components you need to ride away on a bike that you made.

At the end of a weekend at the studio, you’ll have a custom bicycle made by your own two hands that will become your favorite object in the world because, as stated in their motto, ‘the best bike is the one you build yourself’. Obviously, it will also be your favorite mode of transportation. Also, half of the profits from the workshops go towards the goal of getting a cheap version of these bikes built in Africa, as well as allowing them to fine-tune their bike design and bamboo treatment methods to make it the most efficient to mass-produce (for a fraction of the cost you pay for your custom model).

As if all of this wasn’t cool enough, we also learned that they’ve already submitted a request for a parklet which, if the one by farm:table gets approved (fingers crossed), would be the second on Post street.

Now enjoy some photos of the workshop they had last weekend, which I took when the students were about half-way through the bike-making. And don’t forget to check out their grand opening party tomorrow (Friday) at 9:30 am!

Sign the petition, bring the parklet

For those of you who know, love and style up farm:table on Post Street, you may or may not be aware that they’ve applied through the Pavement to Parks program to bring a “parklet” to the front of their establishment. We’re all for this initiative as it’s grassroots, created and funded by those it directly affects, and works to make our dense city areas more livable and sane. This would also be the first parklet in the Tenderloin/Nob neighborhood.

There are some people who are against this, though. Maybe it’s due to the loss of one or at most, two parking spaces. Maybe it’s the potential for noise, which um, is that something someone in downtown could be annoyed by? Maybe it could also be the belief that a private business is grabbing “public land” unfairly. But, here’s the thing: these parklets are granted conditional use. The people that sponsor them have no claim to the space where they’re constructed. They’re temporary and most of all, they’re for the general public. Yes, it’s true that a business such as farm:table can get more outdoor seating from the deal, but at the same time, they provide more non-transient street space that we can all enjoy in a town that’s damned near criminal in its lack of benches and any kind of outdoor spaces.

I got in to all this to say that two people out of the entire neighborhood (who are a couple and decided to remain anonymous) voice objection to the permit granting the parklet to farm:table. I guess they have their reasons for whatever that’s worth, but now those who support this parklet need to speak up in favor of it. If you want to see this go through (not just for the seating at farm:table, but also to increase our sorely lacking outdoor leisure space) then sign this petition and mail it in to the address provided on the letter.

Business from Basements: Soapy Soaps

The smaller-sized Soapy Soap bars that Sue-May distributed amongst her neighbors

We always love receiving tips and reader emails, but a couple of weeks ago we received one that was particularly compelling with the title ‘Random Act of Kindness in the ‘Loin’. It was a lengthy, but here’s the excerpt that really caught our attention:

The ‘Loin is so much more than what meets the surface and is ultimately why I decided to live here (and why I read the blog). In fact, I have experienced several acts of random kindness that have really impacted me including one today that I wanted to share.

I was on my way out of my apartment to pick up a pizza and watch the game (go Giants) when I stepped on something odd. I bent down to pick up the item and read the note attached to it. It reads:

Hey neighbor,
I’m a craft soap maker and I have some extra bars that I would like to share with you.
Enjoy!
Sue May

This came attached to a bar of Lavender and Rosemary soap.

As I made my way down stairs I noticed that every single door in the building had a bar of soap sitting in front of it with the same note.

To learn a bit more I checked out the Soapy Soap website and learned that Sue May is based here in the city, does not use any unnatural colors or scents and uses environmentally friendly business practices.

Obviously, I was very excited and immediately contacted Sue May via the Soapy Soaps website asking to hear more about her company. A couple of days later, I found myself in soap heaven, gazing at and inhaling from the dozens of different hand-crafted soap combinations she makes in her Tenderloin kitchen.

That day Sue May was preparing to package several cute, little soaps that she had custom-made for a friend’s event: starfish, flowers, moons, leafs, citrus carpels, etc… She told me that only a few days earlier some bakery had ordered a hundred cupcake-shaped pink soaps, and that basically they can do anything people can think of in soap form – not just in terms of shapes but also ingredients.

Sue May is originally from the East Bay, but spent several years in Canada before settling down in San Francisco about a year ago. She chose the Tenderloin for the (allegedly) lower rent, but mainly because of its central location close to the farmers’ market, the main library, museums and within walking distance to any place she wants to go. In spite of all the sketchy action happening under her window on a daily basis, she says that she’s liking the neighborhood more and more. Although Sue May is a software engineer by trade, she’s been making soap for almost 20 years for friends and relatives since she learned its secrets in a chemistry class back in high school.

Some regular soap bars ready to be wrapped, and special shapes for a custom order

Morgan, Sue May’s sister-in-law based in LA, learned soap-making from her and really enjoyed it. So when she found herself jobless around the same time as Sue-May, she convinced her to create a joint soap company. Thus was born Soapy Soaps two months ago. They sell mostly online through their Etsy store, but lately they’ve been getting a lot of customers through in-person word of mouth and direct marketing such as Sue May leaving soap samples to every neighbor in her building. Also, they have plans to be selling at crafts fairs and possibly at farmers’ markets both in LA and San Francisco. If you’re a Tenderloiner, chances are you might be able to pick up the soaps yourself personally (and if you’re lucky, she might give you some samples like the ones pictured below which she usually adds to every order).

A variety of samples and some beeswax regular bars

Being a regular user of all-natural personal care products, after meeting Sue May talk about her Soapy Soaps, naturally I had to try them. Call me an alcoholic, but I was very curious about their wine-based soaps (apparently they have a very rich lather), but those are Morgan’s specialty and so not available in the San Francisco ‘lab’. I ended up going home with a bar of white tea and ginger (because I love tea), and one of avocado, lemon and verbena because the avocado comes from a beautiful tree in Sue May’s backyard. After using the latter for a few days, I’m enjoying it so much that I think I’ll have to say goodbye to Dr Bronner’s (which is actually more expensive than Soapy Soaps).