Talk of the Mission: A new Mona Caron Mural at Pedal Revolution on 21st St. Via Mission Local

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MissionLocal

Talk of the Mission: A new Mona Caron Mural on 21st St.

Photo by Elizabeth Creely

On Wednesday, November 16th, Mona Caron, the muralist whose work graces walls from Bolivia to Noe Valley was up on some scaffolding painting a mural, her 8th in San Francisco, for Pedal Revolution, the bike shop at 3085 21st St. that doubles as a non-profit job training program for youth. It was a cold day, with a sharp wind blowing from the north. Caron’s abundant brown hair was stuffed under a knit cap, and her nose was red. “It’s so cold!” she exclaimed. “And my nose keeps running!”

Pedal Revolution provides basic job skills for “disconnected” youth. “We don’t use the term at-risk,” said Steve Fiduccia, the general manager. “Some of them have no contact with their family and some are homeless.”

Pedal Revolution, and New Door Ventures, the parent non-profit, take in about 100 interns every year, who need training in the basics: resume building and time management among other skills. “You gotta show up to work on time,” observed Fiduccia. “We’re not trying to turn out a lot of bike mechanics; we’re trying to get them to be employable, so that they can get jobs.”

Pedal Revolution is housed in a Mission Style revival building, built in 1921. The exterior needed a bit of prep work, which uncovered some historic detail: a tradename, which was hard to see, under the scaffolding. “Mona liked that there was some of that detail on the building,” Fiduccia told me. “We think it was owned by a man named Muzio. It’s the name of the guy who used to own the liquor store across the street. We think he owned this building as well.”

Mona Caron at work. Photo by Elizabeth Creely

It isn’t clear that the Muzio’s owned the building, though perhaps they were customers of the Superba Packing Company, Ltd., a food manufactory specializing in canned food, a firm so confident of the future of prepared food that they sponsored an exhibition kitchen at the Golden Gate International Exposition, held on Treasure Island from 1939 to 1940.

Two pages from the Treasure Island Brochure.

There’s no evidence now of the building’s foodie past, save for the barely discernable lettering on the façade. What was the theme of the mural or the name? Fiduccia didn’t know, but was looking forward to being pleasantly surprised. “We wanted some kind of bike theme. We discussed it a bit and let her run with it. She said something about pedals and plants representing growth.” He looked pensive. “Maybe we should think about a name.”

The mural, which is likely to be finished sometime in mid-December, is currently in its blue period: delft, sky, and cobalt blue mostly. “It won’t stay this way,” Caron told me. “The colors will be tweaked. It’s going to be a complicated color scheme when it’s done. Part of me really likes the drama of painting in a public space. People want to know what it will look like and I want them to wait!” She smiled as she daubed colors onto the wall. “I want them to be surprised.”

Mona Caron at work. Photo by Elizabeth Creely

Mona Caron at work. Photo by Elizabeth Creely

Caron’s murals usually carry some narration with them, but that wasn’t the case with this mural. “This is not going to be as deeply layered as some of my other murals. This mural is going to celebrate the role of Pedal Revolution in the neighborhood. I want to show the goodness kind of exploding.

“Everything is centered around the big garage door,” she said gesturing toward the door at the entrance of the shop. “There will be a scattering of bright petals near the ground.”  Then, she laughed. “I guess I just told you what it will look like! It’s going to be a happy mural for a change.”

Caron’s murals are never unhappy: thought-provoking maybe, but never grim, and fairly upbeat about the resilience of the natural world: rather than referencing the end of civilization, she depicts a successfully re-claimed future. In it, “spontaneous urban vegetation, ” produces dandelions, nettles and fireweed that uproot the concrete barrens of cities and transform urban spaces into livable commons. “All of my murals have so much story in them, so much narrative. Here, the place itself is the story and I’m just adding an exclamation point.”

She carefully painted the petal of what looked like a large dahlia with cornflower blue paint. It had been one week and one day since America elected Donald Trump as President. Was it helpful to paint murals during a time of political upheaval? “It’s work. But it’s nice to do something outdoors, with your hands and get lost in it.”

She stroked the blue over the surface, put down the brush and picked up another, which she used to outline the petal with a cobalt-blue border. “It’s good to do something happy and celebratory in gloomy times.”

Mona Caron at work. Photo by Elizabeth Creely

Mona Caron at work. Photo by Elizabeth Creely
Photo by Elizabeth Creely

Photo by Elizabeth Creely

Check out this Pedal Revolution refurbished beauty posted on the Soma Fabrications Blog!

A great write up about a recent Pedal Revolution refurbished bike build on the Soma Fabrications Blog:

Rehabbing a Classic Peugeot 26″ Montreal Express

We’re in the business of making frames, so it’s not surprising that we focus a lot of attention on creating new things. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate well made bikes from the past too. Pedal Revolution in San Francisco refurbishes donated bikes as part of their mission to provides skills and opportunities for young people in the the community. While these bikes appear far more humble than most of what you’ll seen on bike blogs and tradeshow floors, they offer a rare chance to improve and restore a bike that has proven it’s self worthy of a second life on the streets of the city.

Built in Canada from Japanese Ishiwata steel, this bicycle represents another era of mountain bike design, perhaps closer to today’s trekking and adventure touring models. The frame is lugged chromoly, while the fork is a TIG welded unicrown design. Both sets of dropouts feature rack and fender mounting eyelets, and the Shimano Deore V-Brakes we’ve installed offer plenty of clearance for the Soma New Xpress 26 x 1.75″ tires.

We removed the original single wall 6 speed wheels and replaced them with a modern double wall 8 speed set. These will offer more reliability and an expanded gear range thanks to a 34 tooth cassette.

Another significant modification was replacing both the bars and the quill stem. This frame is much longer than it is tall, and would be difficult to fit with the original steel riser bars. We chose the locally designed Sycip Wonder Bars for their generous back sweep and their reasonable price. Paired with a Soma Fab Sutro quill stem we’ve elevated the cockpit to a more upright, commuter friendly position. These bars should play nicely with a front basket or cargo rack since they’ll offer a fair bit ‘o leverage.

In addition to the Shimano V-Brake levers we also installed a pair of IRD Power Ratchet friction thumb shifters. The original Shimano levers worked fine in friction mode, but were beginning to crack around the plastic casing so we opted to replace them. The IRD levers feature modified Rivendell Silver levers which work flawlessly paired with almost any drivetrain. The Sutro stem features our favorite SF landmark, which can be spotted from most parts of the city.

The original rear derailleur was not badly worn, but had been neglected and was covered in years of grime. A full disassembly, cleaning and lubrication brought it back to life and kept the Peugeot’s retro aesthetic intact.

The wide range Sakae square taper triple cranks won’t turn any collectors heads, but look fantastic and offer a much better range of gears for tackling the bay area’s many climbs. As with the rear derailleur these too required a considerable amount of cleaning to restore their classic looks.

The original shop sticker marks this bikes south bay pedigree.

If you’ve got a classic ride that you’ve been dreaming about bringing back to life, or if you’ve got one bike too many and you want to donate it to support Pedal Rev’s Youth Internship program you can call or email The Shop or better yet, stop by and say what’s up.

Are you a stellar human with bike mechanic abilities? Do you like working with fun, supportive people? Do you like the idea of working in a bike shop that provides job training and assistance to San Francisco youth? Do you like the idea of being a part of an awesome diverse community of bike folks? We’d love to meet you!

Bicycle Mechanic Wanted !

Pedal Revolution San Francisco’s unique non-profit community bike shop is looking for mechanic help!
Are you a stellar human with bike mechanic abilities? Do you like working with fun, supportive people? Do you like the idea of working in a bike shop that provides job training and assistance to San Francisco youth? Do you like the idea of being a part of an awesome diverse community of bike folks? We’d love to meet you!This Mechanic position requires a minimum of 2+ year experience in a professional bicycle service department, with excellent diagnostic and productive mechanical skills. Strong sales and customer service orientation is a must as well as the ability to work in a busy, fast-paced environment. Mechanic must be proficient in fixing new as well older and vintage bicycles quickly, competently, and creatively service and resale.

Compensation is based on experience and very competitive for the industry. Sales commissions and health care, dental, and vision benefits are included for F/T position.Responsibilities:

-Time-efficient and professional bicycle repairs, new and used bicycle assemblies, bicycle and accessory sales, and service writing.
-Ability to work on all levels of bikes to a high standard.
-Quickly diagnose, estimate, repair, and troubleshoot in a fast paced shop environment.
-Utilize a POS system for all sales and service transactions and service writing.
-Weekend work shifts are required.
-Support management, service, and sales staff.
-Strong and motivated sales ability with regard to new bikes, refurbished bikes, and bicycle accessories.

Qualifications:

-Minimum of 2 years’ experience as a mechanic and salesperson in a professional bicycle shop.
-Bike sales, accessories sales, and basic bike fitting experience
-Computer/internet literacy.
-Highly organized with attention to detail and clean work habits.
-Experience working in a group. Strong written and communication skills, ability to multi-task, display positive and courteous communication habits.
-Proficient computer skills with regard to inventory and service order issues.
-An enthusiastic, positive attitude and maintains patience under pressure at all times.
-Knowledge of current and past bicycle trends.
-Suspension and Hydraulic diagnostics and repair is a plus.
-Experience working with youth is a plus.

Description of Organization:

Pedal Revolution is a non-profit community-focused bicycle shop in the Mission District of San Francisco. The shop is a social enterprise that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk youth by providing work experience to young people who are taking a step to improve their lives through our internship training program.

Please email your resume and let us know why you’d be a good fit for our unique shop and awesome team.

Compensation: based on experience and very competitive for the industry. Sales commissions and full benefits are included for F/T position.

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Custom “Raspberry Beret” 53cm Town-Style

Prince’s music remains difficult to find for free on the internet, and it’s a hard thing to complain about when you consider his musical talent and incredible writing.  So when I was trying to find a good video to link here, I was thwarted.  That’s okay though, because we all know the song and the fact that if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more. Brilliant.

When this frame came back Champion Powdercoating the Raspberry Beret connection was instantly obvious.  We thus attempted to build it up in a way that would accentuate the frame’s color; everything else on the bike exists pretty much in deference to the Raspberry.  Comparatively boring is the fact the the bike is nicely equipped with all new parts, including a simple and reliable 3-speed drivetrain, comfortable saddle, and nice-looking gumwall tires.

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If anyone’s curious, the frame is a Raleigh Super Record from the late 70’s/early 80’s.  It most certainly predated Prince’s 1985 album Around the World in a Day, on which “Raspberry Beret” appeared as the single.  Charted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

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3-speed Shimano Nexus shifting, and a comfortable Velo Orange Milan handlebar

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Hopefully all the silver parts allows the Raspberry to “pop” sufficiently

To be sure, there are lots of different raspberries out there.  You’ve got black raspberries (not too common here, though blackberries are presently in season and if you’re hungry, head on up to McLaren Park to pick some), golden raspberries, and even yellow raspberries.  But I think it’s probably safe to say that when Prince was writing the song, he was picturing the lady in a beret just about the color of the bike you see here.

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Though the bicycle does not come with a beret included, we can recommend a number of fine fashion establishments nearby where you could find an appropriate one.  I guess that’s about all you’ll need, then, especially if it’s warm.

$725

SOLD!!!!

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Custom “Turbo Banana” Touring Rig, 56cm

Though there are indeed hundreds of types of bananas that we humans eat, they are all crosses of only two wild banana species.  This makes bananas quite susceptible to disease, which led big fruit companies (primarily Dole) to buy up vast acreage in the tropics as a hedge against future outbreaks.  Those interested in reading more about this subject should check out this book.

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Even if you don’t have a particular affinity for the ubiquitous fruit, this brilliantly yellow bicycle may just suit your fancy.  Been thinking about getting a Surly Long Haul Trucker or Cross Check, but want something with a whole lot more character?  Then this rig might just be perfect for you.  In fact, the stem/handlebars have been lifted directly from a brand new Cross Check, and feature 3X10 bar end mounted shifters.

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You’ll note that there are plenty of rack and fender mounts, as well as a light mount on the fork.  A good quality set of wheels (Shimano hubs/Sun CR18 rims, 36 spoke) should hold up well as the miles float by.  Be sure to only wear Banana Boat sunscreen while you’re out there crushing those miles, however….

A good fit for somebody about 5’9″ to 5’11”.  Come check it out!

$1050.