Baby and cycling and San Francisco, oh my!
September 4, 2007 9:23 AM   Subscribe

We're headed to San Francisco and need suggestions on adding baby and cycling aspects to it.

We're heading here for our next family vacation and staying in the Union Square area. This vacation, we'll have our 1.5 year old daughter with us. So the question is, what are some great unique baby stores in that area, or within a quick jaunt on the trolley for clothes and gifts/toys I can't pick up at a big box store in our hometown?

Also, what are some personal recommendations of locations, parks, stores, sights that'd be perfect for our inquisitive daughter?

On a more vain note, her dad is a road cyclist, so where can I go to get my fix of the best local bike shop the Bay Area has to offer? Bonus points for an LBS that has a store or area team jersey I can purchase for a souvenir.
posted by fijiwriter to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (9 answers total)
My own personal two coolest bike shops are:

Missing Link (east bay, unfortunately) and Pedal Revolution (in SF, but Mission/SOMA, but might be a little tough to get to if you've got a baby with you). Both carry apparel.

the bike scene has really taken off in the last couple of years (with seemingly, every other kid riding a new custom track bike), so there are tons of boutique shops around that probably carry clothing with their logo. You might also try SFBG, although I'm not sure they actually have a storefront.

Cliff's Variety has a lot of neat toys, and is located in the middle of the Castro, an area you might be visiting anyways (although not super-convenient for car travel). I recall it as similar to a 'Discover Channel' shop except with a little more boutique items.
posted by fishfucker at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2007

eek, I missed the 'in that area'. There is a boutique toy shop on Market that's very walkable from Union Square called Jeffrey's Toys. I've only been in there once -- to buy a toy for my friend's toddler -- and that's the only toy shop I've been in over the last ... 15 years or so, so I can't speak to rather it's cooler than toys r us, unfortunately, but it definitely reminds me of the small toy stores my parents took me to when I was little (you know, the ones with the elaborate brio train sets?). Bike-wise, the Chrome bike messenger bag shop is nearby, as is SFBC, which I mentioned above. The Chrome guys will probably know if there are other cool shops in that area.
posted by fishfucker at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2007

There's not much road biking-wise near Union Square. That said, SF is small. Here's some:
City Cycle: Friendly all-around shop, Marina area
Bike Nut: Snooty custom builds
American Cyclery: Everything, multiple locations, probably your best bet. Friendly.

If you venture down to the peninsula (or even the east bay) you'll come across Chain Reaction and Palo Alto Bikes, which are very much in the heart of the high-end road biking scene here. There's eleventeen thousand local bike clubs that you may also score a jersey from, perhaps. There's Hellyer Velodrome down in San Jose, but I can't think of much in the way a non-enthusiast would take back from it souvenir-wise. Rides in the area include Paradise Loop and Alpine Dam just north of the GG bridge. It's a very very nice road biking area, so I could list rides for days - including the Stanford area if you do get that in that direction.
posted by kcm at 12:01 PM on September 4, 2007

I also forgot about places like Velo Rouge and Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Those could be the place to get unique bike souvenirs.
posted by kcm at 12:05 PM on September 4, 2007

For the kid stuff, I'd go to either Cow Hollow/Chestnut or 24th St./Noe Valley. They both have swank parentage in the area so the baby stores are sparser but more interesting than what you might find in Union Square. For the bike stuff, American Cyclery at Stanyan/Waller in the Upper Haight (take the 6/7/71/N-Judah) has a great store jersey.
posted by rhizome at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2007

Cotton Sheep in Hayes Valley (573 Hayes Street) is a women and children's clothing store with gorgeous, expensive Japanese merchandise.

I'll never fit in the clothes or be able to afford them, but it doesn't matter. I still must stop in (or at least press my nose against the window) every time I'm in the neighborhood.

Here's the Yelp page for the shop:
posted by at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2007

I recommend Box Dog Bikes. It's a worker-owned collective, and if you like bikes (as opposed to looking for a place to buy a bike) it's great. A couple of times I went in looking for small things (like cleats for my new shoes) they just gave me a couple from their odds-and-ends box.

There's usually a cool bike or two on display -- a few weeks ago there was a 70s Cinelli track bike.
posted by phliar at 1:47 PM on September 4, 2007

There's also Refried Cycles along the lines of Box Dog.
posted by kcm at 1:49 PM on September 4, 2007

Freewheel in SF and Montano Velo in Oakland are both excellent. Montano specialize in road and track bikes, and sell their own awesome "Oakland" jerseys that have the street cred factor. =)
posted by migurski at 9:59 PM on September 4, 2007

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