I raced down San Francisco’s crookedest street on a big wheel and lived to tell the tale
As a child, any stretch of sloped pavement or grass meant an opportunity for fun — even rolling down a hill was an exciting way to spend an afternoon.
For grown-ups, a steep hill is generally just a reminder to use your parking brake and turn your wheels in, but on Sunday in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, dozens of adults manifested their childhood need for speed and scrunched onto tiny plastic tricycles to race down the crookedest street in San Francisco for an epic Bring Your Own Big Wheel race.
Aside from the pure thrill of speeding down a hill, what struck me most about the event was that it felt, well, completely irresponsible. Even though I didn't see any real injuries, this doesn’t seem like an activity that children should be allowed to do, let alone adults. It’s shocking that in the year 2022, the powers that be would allow a city street to be closed for a full day to allow people to race ramshackle children’s toys, but the continuation of a long tradition of irresponsible behavior was exactly what made it so much fun, a relic of an older San Francisco that rarely rears its head these days.
“It’s San Francisco weird at its best,” Gilmore says. “It helps people remember that San Francisco is still cool.”
Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:45 p.m., April 18, to correct the price of the street closure permit.
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