When Lori Shannon first announced her intent to run a marathon, people responded with more than a hint of incredulity. Lori had no experience and, at 5’3” and a size 16, she didn’t cut the form of a typical distance runner. Even so, she set to work and completed the 1993 New York City Marathon, proving to herself that with the proper training and dedication, she need not live life as a spectator. Since crossing that first finish line, Lori has never looked back; she has since run multiple marathons, competed in triathlons, and ridden her bike cross-country.
Seven years later, Lori founded See Jane Run in San Francisco, hoping to empower women to test their limitations and bolster their own fitness and self-confidence. The female-operated fitness company has since grown to encompass four West Coast locations that sell women’s running gear, including shoes, sports bras, and aerodynamic shower caps. At its four retail locations, like-minded runners come together with free weekly run clubs, giving them a group setting in which to train to meet their own individual goals or prepare for one of See Jane Run’s half marathons or 5Ks.
Since 1961, Bamboo Reef has been unlocking the depths of the ocean by training scuba adventurers, outfitting them with gear and repairing equipment on the fritz. Skilled instructors guide swimmers during diving classes that range from paddling in an 82-degree pool to advanced night navigation in the Pacific's dunk tank. Refresher and specialty courses continue students’ aquatic education after they’ve mastered the basics of gliding through the deep blue. Bamboo Reef also coordinates dives off the shores of Monterey, Carmel, and international coasts that count toward specialty, advanced, and master diver ratings as well as black belts in underwater kickboxing.
The water wizards also rent and sell gear from brands such as Aqua Lung and Mares. Professional technicians—who maintain more than $10,000 in parts inventory—stand at the ready to repair all major brands of scuba equipment.
As a surfer and cyclist, Marcel Mijares was drawn to the Pacific Coast many years ago; since then, he’s found little reason to leave. A native of Venezuela, Mijares spoke only Spanish when he made the move, but his love of the Bay Area fueled his drive to acquire the English language and graduate with honors from the Lincoln School of Business. Now, as the owner of High Trails Cyclery, Mijares combines his passion with his determination, sharing both with riders in the heart of Russian Hill. He leads a team of cycling experts equipped to repair cycles and perform tune-ups, overhauls, and bike fittings. Team members also share their expertise during maintenance classes, in which they teach students to care for their own cycles and understand the dangers of trying to change a bicycle's transmission fluid.
The cable car is an important piece of San Franciscan history, but you don't have to go to a museum to see one. Instead, you can ride one yourself thanks to the California Street Cable Car Line. Used for private charters and holiday tours, the company was started in 1958 by Arnold Gridley and now has a fleet of over 20 vintage-inspired vehicles. Each one was built using the original cable car blueprint, which means solid oak benches, brass rails, and a sepia conductor at the helm. These iconic features have led to numerous appearances in numerous TV shows, movies and commercials, from Nash Bridges to The Hulk and ads for Pepsi.
Housed inside of a graffiti-slathered old garage, Pedal Revolution is a non-profit bike shop. Inside, bicycle frames and wheels hang from the ceiling, while merchandise and decoration mix throughout the walls of the store. This is not only a terrific place for an alignment, but also a job training center for at-risk youth, where interns get hands-on training in how to run a small business, as well as the more mechanical aspects. Selection is on the smaller side, but the prices undercut nearly all the neighborhood’s power players. For the last fifteen or so years, Pedal Revolution has been keeping the Mission’s burgeoning cycling culture going, doing good all the while.
The friendly mechanics at Everybody Bikes nurture two-wheeled transports of all styles, helping urban commuters traverse city streets unencumbered by a car’s demands. Mechanics perform services such as tune-ups, repairs, and custom bicycle builds amid racks stocked with bikes by Kona, Fuji, and Linus. To educate their customers, they also lead private and group lessons on mechanics, safety, and riding techniques. The mechanics also maintain the shop’s blog, which keeps customers in the know about everything from what helmets to buy to when tricycle mating season starts.