The Most Annoying Bike Riders in San Francisco

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Cycling in San Francisco has been on the rise in recent years—it’s great for getting in some exercise, avoiding ulcers from the stress of parking, and saving cash you’d have otherwise dropped on cabs or Uber.

The downside? The annoying types you have to contend with on two wheels. We're all for the two-wheeled transit, but we can't help rolling our eyes at these folks. Here’s how to spot the most annoying bike riders in San Francisco (and how to deal).

1. The Fatalist

A cyclist gets a ticket for blowing through a stop sign on the Wiggle. Tsk, tsk.
A cyclist gets a ticket for blowing through a stop sign on the Wiggle. Tsk, tsk. David Lytle/Flickr

How to spot one: Though they’re thankfully the minority among riders, these aggro a—holes are the ones routinely running red lights, swerving around cars and pedestrians, and generally making life for everyone around them dangerous—while giving safe, courteous riders a bad name.

How to deal: If you do manage to roll up to one at a light that he (or she) hasn’t blown through, suggest attending one of the S.F. Bicycle Coalition’s Bike Polite events. And make sure you follow the rules of the road to even out the bad biking karma they’re spreading.

2. The Nudist

Certainly incentive to move to the front of the pack.
Certainly incentive to move to the front of the pack. Gary Stevens/Flickr

How to spot one: Thanks to the city’s ban on public nudity, in-the-buff bicyclists are much more rare these days. But if you happen to be in the vicinity of downtown during the World Naked Bike Ride, count on the imagery scarring your brain forever.

How to Deal: Just think of the spectacle as a whole new meaning for balls-out effort—and be grateful that the ensuing saddle rash isn’t in your future.

3. The Cheater

Ok, the red capes ARE pretty cool, but why aren't they riding around the flats instead of crushing hills?
Ok, the red capes ARE pretty cool, but why aren't they riding around the flats instead of crushing hills? Richard Masoner/Flickr

How to spot one: While you’re huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf up one of San Francisco’s 43 hills, he’s the one whizzing past looking fresh as a daisy thanks to an electric bike, which are becoming more popular these days.

How to deal: Just smile through your sweat. At least they’re riding a bike, not driving a car.

4. The Hipster

Fixie? Check. Too-cool-for-school? Check. It just might be a hipster on this bike.
Fixie? Check. Too-cool-for-school? Check. It just might be a hipster on this bike. InCase/Flickr

How to Spot One: You can’t swing a bike lock in San Francisco without hitting a hipster on two wheels. They’re easily identified by any combination of lumberjack beard, skinny jeans, ironic T-shirt, Bob Dylan glasses, scarf, and Converse shoes – riding a fixie, of course.

How to deal: Keep in mind that there is some crossover between hipsters and the original, real-deal bike messengers—who made fixies cool and deserve some props for their mad cycling skills. So instead of rolling your eyes at the hipster at the red light, compliment his track stand or ask where to find the best drip coffee in the ‘hood.

5. The Tourist

Cool rentals, but would have been better if they parked them outside the bike lane.
Cool rentals, but would have been better if they parked them outside the bike lane. John Loo/Flickr

How to spot one: The map or basket affixed to their handlebars and their wide-eyed stares fixed at the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge (or horror at the homeless person relieving himself on the sidewalk) are dead giveaways.

How to Deal: By giving them a wide berth. Tourists are notorious for wobbling and weaving on unfamiliar wheels and stopping right in the middle of the trail to take a photo or check their map. Annoying as that all may be, take solace in knowing that while they’re just visiting, we get to live here. And at least they're not on Segways.

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