It’s hard to believe that once upon a time Valencia Street was little more than auto body shops and appliance stores. Among the artisanal chocolate and put-a-bird-on-it stationery of today lies SF Auto Works, a specialist in Japanese vehicles and one of the last holdouts from the era when Missionites drove instead of cycling to work. The robin’s egg blue garage has been a neighborhood favorite for years – for their honesty in dealing with customers, and also for the refreshing reasonable prices. It’s by-appointment-only, but for anyone who drives a Honda or a Subaru and can’t install a new transmission themselves, it can be a real lifesaver.
Consistently considered one of America’s best cycling shops, this Cole Valley/Upper Haight mainstay is perfectly suited for getting a set of wheels tuned up to cruise around Golden Gate Park, which is (thankfully) just downhill. A neighborhood presence since racer Oscar Juner opened it in 1941, American Cyclery stocks the full spectrum of bikes, from Bianchi road racers to fixed-gear street rides, all spiffed up and shiny beneath black-and-white pictures of the founder’s glory days. Unpretentious and ever-helpful, American Cyclery might smell a bit like spent grease but its efforts to install a public parklet out front and a plaza in the vacant lot next door reveal its commitment to a safe, clean city. Complete with lots of bicycles, of course.
Whenever pedestrians get tired of hoofing it, Yellow Cab sidles up curbside to give them a ride. After a quick phone call, Yellow Cab ferries passengers throughout Marin County, and even trundles guests out to San Francisco International, Oakland International, and San Jose International airports. Unlike unpredictable cab companies that might pick up passengers in a Crown Victoria or a rolling suitcase hitched to a Vespa, Yellow Cab’s fleet of dependably quality vehicles includes models as diverse as the Lincoln Towncar, Toyota Prius, and Dodge Caravan.
For Pioneer Limousines, the lap of luxury comes with a seat belt. The transportation outfit whisks away passengers within the comfortable confines of a fleet of vehicles, that includes a Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Lincoln Town Car L-Series, and a stretch limo that can seat up to nine passengers. Piloting the regal rides and participating in an Earth-sized game of connect the dots, chauffeurs get customers from point A to point B via transport services that cater to airport travelers, wedding parties, and group outings.
In spite of hills that can make cycling treacherous and stick-shifts a challenge, the allure of riding a motorcycle tugs strongly in San Francisco. The private classes at Monkey Moto School in the Haight have enabled many a buttoned-down soul to ditch the minivan for an M1 license and something with a little more flash. In addition to providing invaluable advice when purchasing a motorcycle, Monkey Moto will teach novices to ride with confidence, skill and safety. Down-shifting in inclement weather is an important skill, but who hasn’t dreamt of lane-splitting on the Golden Gate Bridge, or letting the waves crash nearby as you cruise along the coast, with the wind blowing past?
At the helm of a fleet of limousines and sedans, the professional drivers of ICU Transportation inject a potent dose of transportational class into business meetings, weddings, or trips to the airport. Their upholstered, wood-veneered luxury automobiles stand ready to take guests to the airport or spirit teens and their orangutan butlers to prom. To add some pomp to circumstances, guests can arrange to surprise loved ones with a limo at their door, whisking them away for a romantic evening of stylish cruising.