San Francisco Pride Parade 2019

Susan Gallentine, Marketing Manager of SF Bike Coaliton, 49th Annual Pride Parade.

Fundraising & Biking with the San Francisco Bike Coalition

(This article was previously published on Medium in July of 2019. Please click here to read on Medium)

Sunday blew my mind. I'm truly not kidding. There was a moment when I was biking down Market Street with other San Francisco Bike Coalition staff, volunteers, men, women, gay, lesbian, non-binary, old, young, black, white, hispanic, asian, indian, moms, dads, singles and community members…

Loud music was playing, Prince - “Raspberry Berret”, bubbles were flowing from an automatic bubble dispenser attached to the back of a hotpink, fuzzy bike and all of us were smiling, thousands of people cheered all around us and colored rectangles of confetti made the green bike path in front of us look like a Birthday Party. I felt truly free and happy in the realization that San Francisco protects all people and I really love this city (and especially riding my bike here!).

(Top Left)Brian Wiedenmeirer in Hat(Executive Director), Susan Gallentine pulling the float (Marketing Manager), (Bottom Left in Silver and White) Christoper White (Program Director), (Bottom Right) I’m on TV! That’s me in black with rainbow socks on CBS.
I bought a hat from one of the vendors when we were waiting for the protest to clear.

The protected bike paths in San Francisco are green and have white posts to keep the cars out.

My teenager who works as a lifeguard attached a large rainbow flag to the back of his bike and biked from the Golden Gate Bridge to downtown for this moment… It was the 49th annual Pride Parade in San Francisco, but the 1st time I have ever experienced it. We rode our bikes down Market Street with tens of thousands of screaming, partying and wildly dressed people wrapped in rainbows… people truly happy and celebrating love in living color.

Everyone from our incredible Mayor London Breed, and all the politicians, Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi… to the people of SFGlide, Apple, Salesforce, Sutter Health, Amazon, Facebook and so many more. It was televised and there are links to see the entire parade online if you missed it. I took some screenshots from the videos and will share them below.

Facebook had a double-decker party bus with lots of speakers.

I have lived in the Bay Area since 1995, when Senator Scott Wiener first went to San Francisco’s Pride Parade, yet this was my first year ever seeing the parade. Living a sheltered life in the suburbs of San Francisco for over 20 years, I moved into the city three years ago to seek a new life, work and overcome my fear of cities. I knew nothing. I didn’t know how to ride BART or what it was. I didn’t know how to ride my bike in the city.

Fans cheering us on from the sidelines at Pride Parade, 2019

One time in 2017 when I was taking a UX Class at General Assembly, I biked down California Street with full traffic (not a smart move… Steep, no bike lanes and very busy). I was clueless, and I needed to learn The Wiggle and the ropes. SF Bike Coalition was a great organization for me to join and has helped me get to know the city, bike paths, its fellow members and volunteers, and sponsoring businesses, like Sports Basement and all the local cafes and bike shops that give discounts to Bike Coalition members.

London Breed Contingent with City Hall Rainbow Float (screenshot from CBS TV video)

I think I now have to say that going to the Pride Parade is an important milestone for any San Francisco resident, and everyone in the suburbs should attend Pride to understand how important inclusion and diversity is to the city of San Francisco. I was so excited when we passed the Apple and Salesforce contingents. I saw so many of my favorite brands, it made me happy and yes, “filled with Pride”.

Apple Computer Contingent on Market Street by the Ferry Building, Pride 2019

I met an entrepreneur and fashion founder of She had this sign, “Hippie Resistance!” with lots of flowers on her bike and a dress with an original 70’s pattern of wild mushrooms. She has the most amazing clothing for women who like to ride bikes but also be fashionable.

We also met Marcelo Donari, a hairstylist in San Francisco for 14 years, who now works as a stylist and wig designer for Hamiliton and Aladdin here in SF! We were so excited to meet him and see his bike, decorated with a giant rainbow pinwheel and rainbow bandanas. He offered to take us on a backstage tour! How cool is that?

We danced to a DJ and music was also provided by cyclists pulling speakers with tunes as we waited for a protest to be moved. I had bought two pairs of rainbow socks in Fisherman’s Wharf at “Find Your Feet” a few nights before for me and Blake. The colorful lights in the city at night are worth coming into town for if you don’t normally see Pride celebrations. Rainbows are everywhere…

Some people didn’t want there to be police here. I am grateful we have police to protect us during this type of event, and things have changed since the Stonewall incident on Christopher Street in New York City 50 years ago(
We biked from Market and Spear to Market and 8th by the Civic Center where the main Pride celebration was happening. My sons were too tired at this point to want to go inside the gates, but we purchased horchata and watermelon and then biked passed the SF Bike Coalition offices, down Valencia, 17th and back on Folsom to Salesforce Tower.

Fans watching the parade from Market Street near Sam’s Diner

On our way back, one of my sons got a flat front tire and I was so happy to be able to patch it and blow it up. It was my first time showing my sons that I could fix a flat! It is truly empowering to be able to take them places in the city on my own by bicycle. I have also taught them to use buses and BART. We continued on to the Ferry Building where I put one of my twins on the boat to return to his father.

We were serenaded by a guitar player on the street and sat down to enjoy a strawberry-filled Clif Bar, a new flavor of TCHO Chocolate, and my Pride flag bearing son bought an ice cream before we continued our ride.

I am so grateful to have been able to ride the Clif Bar cruiser bike I won in their Mojo Bar contest several years ago.

I later worked as a contractor for Clif Bar in Emeryville and have attended their Summer Solstice Concerts at the Clif Family Winery, which I highly recommend visiting if you are in Napa Valley. They have amazing organic food, wine, and can help you find the best bike routes for a leisurely or more advanced ride around the vineyards. It’s hot in the Summer there too, unlike San Francisco most of the time. Though, a little known insider’s secret I will share is that when it’s foggy, the fog tends to blanket the Presidio and the Sunset, while the Mission and southern parts of the city can remain sunny and hot in the Summer.

Aidan biked back to the Golden Gate Bridge with me trailing the large Pride flag that Blake and I had purchased last Friday at Cliff’s Variety & Hardware in the Castro… His awesome SF Bike hoodie is available online to purchase here. We biked through Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, the Presidio, passed the new Korean War Memorial, the Veterans Cemetary and back to the baracks that face West to the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t realize our flag was upsidedown until the end of the day… Hope no one was offended.

Aidan insisted I take a photo of him at sunset with the Pride flag. I am super proud of these kids for being a part of this event with me. I know their school teaches respect and diversity for others, but I think you don’t really fully grasp what it means until you go to a major event in a city that defends Pride with all people, creativity and love.

I am still fundraising for the SF Bike Coalition via Climate Ride and you may find my donation page here if you would like to assist us in keeping cyclists safe with protected bike lanes and advocacy in San Francisco. The link to donate is here.
Thank you, and Happy Pride to all!

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