Outside Lands Bike Cruise description

by Joel Pomerantz

June 1st, 2010

How Golden Gate Park reflects the big changes in society

Once a field of dunes, Golden Gate Park was built on a swath of sand called the Outside Lands. An ambitious garden the size of New York’s Central Park replaced the dunes, partly to create a refuge from city stresses of the Industrial Age and partly to boost land investment profits.

The Park’s Music Concourse was the site of the first electric light displayed publicly in San Francisco, the first childrens’ playground in the world…and many peculiar statues. The Park also happens to be where the first reinforced concrete bridge was built, the first drivers license issued (yes, in the whole world!) and the first parachute jump was made (no deaths!). There are even ruins of a stolen eleventh century Spanish monastery!

Golden Gate Park has become a showcase for exotic and native species with lush woods, flowerbeds, recreation sites and jungles.

On the Outside Lands Bike Cruise, we tour the park using transportation history as our lens to examine how parks reflect the social patterns and technological shifts of a society. The shift to a car-dominated society happened in parallel with the development of the Park, and we’ll learn how the two “projects” interweave.

We’ll bicycle to the remains of bridges and railroads, and discuss how the areas around the Park developed, too.

Please join this exploration of the refuge that San Franciscans use for our ball games, car races, drug trips, and law suits and curse for its weather—and where we spontaneously reenact the Summer of Love whenever blessed by a sunny afternoon.

If you need a bike, rent one near the Park, or we can try to find you a free loaner. Please check your bike for basic functioning.

Suggested donation $15 to $50 per person
Approximately 2 & 1/2 hours
Meet at the McKinley monument in the Panhandle
, across Baker Street from the DMV (Baker & Fell Streets).

Please check tour dates, invite your pals & RSVP
(by phone if the tour is within a couple days).

This tour is generally a bike ride, but can be adapted to walking, by request. If you need a bike, rent one near Dolores Park, or use my loaner bike. For more details, see Thinkwalks Bike Tours page.

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