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Photos: A sunny day, a sea of bikes and a wheelie-popping fashion show in the Mission

Cyclists perform stunts on bikes with vibrant pink spokes on a sunny street.
Bicyclists pop wheelies along Folsom Street. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

San Francisco may be known for its steep hills, but that did not deter bicycle enthusiasts from across the state from descending on the city’s notoriously hilly streets for the NorCal Pedal Gang’s fourth annual Cinco de Mayo Bike Rideout. 

The Mission District street festival held Sunday along Folsom between 23rd and 25th streets drew hundreds of riders—some from as far away as the Central Valley town of Clovis and the state capital.

People with bicycles gather in front of a row of colorful urban houses. One cyclist does a wheelie.
Cyclists pop wheelies at and hang out at the fourth annual Cinco de Mayo Bike Rideout held by NorCal Pedal Gang on Folsom Street in San Francisco's Mission District. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A man stands by a pink bike against a mural with a depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Marcos Tijero of Vacaville poses with his custom pink Dyno GT bike at the rideout on Cinco de Mayo. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

The bicycle crew’s flagship event started four years ago as a Covid-era way to get local kids off the couch for some safe and socially distanced exercise. Since then, the event has evolved into a bike fashion and trick show of sorts, where passionate cyclists bring out their bespoke bikes—some festooned with stickers, others with custom paint—to demo their skills and their style for one another and sidewalk spectators.  

“Some of these guys, they go to every rideout,” said Daniel Rodriguez, the president of the NorCal Pedal Gang, which teamed up with the food bank Mission Food Hub and bicycling crew Traffik Boyz to put on the event. “So these guys practice. They practice and practice and practice. Every time they go out, they will put on a show. That is their performance.”

A diverse crowd cycles down a sunny, tree-lined street, creating a dynamic sea of riders and bicycles.
Cyclists ride down Folsom Street for the Pedal Out event on Sunday. The Pedal Out annual event started during the pandemic and happens every year on Cinco de Mayo. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A person is performing a wheelie on a colorful bike down a sunny, tree-lined street with bystanders and stalls.
A bicyclist swerves and pops a wheelie down Folsom Street during the riedout event. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

Popping wheelies is an especially popular pastime for younger riders, observed Hector Vera, a 21-year-old student at San Francisco State University who spent his youth riding through the streets of San Francisco and now volunteers with the NorCal Pedal Gang. 

“The main thing of this whole bike life is the whole wheeling,” he said. “Especially all these kids, when they get a bike, the first thing is they want to wheelie. It’s the cool thing. You see kids ride by and they wheelie; everyone’s just like, ‘Whoa!’” 

But even for those who can no longer perform the eye-catching trick, the rideout still takes them back to their childhoods—or the childhoods they wish they had.  

Marcos Tijero, a 47-year-old engineer from Vacaville, brought a neon pink GT bike he custom-built with about $2,500 of his hard-earned money to look exactly like a 1987 bike that he longed for as a child.  

A DJ on a red truck plays music for a crowd of cyclists on a sunny street lined with trees and tents.
A DJ in the back of a truck leads the procession for the fourth annual Cinco de Mayo Bike Rideout on Sunday. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A child performs a bike trick, lifting the front wheel towards the camera, on a sunny street with onlookers.
Jojo Wong of the North Sac Wheelie Crew performs a stunt at the rideout event on Folsom Street. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

“It’s kind of like a tribute bike to my childhood bike that I couldn’t have,” he said. “These are bikes that we wanted but couldn't have, couldn't afford.” 

For others, like Armster Hampton, the owner of Arminstalls, a custom car audio and accessories company, the rideout symbolizes the carefree days of youth—before a knee injury a year and a half ago got him off and then back on his bicycle. 

“Freedom in one word,” he said. “It's nothing else—freedom.”

A man stands with a bike before a colorful mural dressed in sporty attire, exuding a cool urban vibe.
Daniel Rodriguez, president of the NorCal Pedal Gang, stands with his bike in front a colorful Mission neighborhood mural. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A person smiles behind a custom bike with purple frame and green wheels on a sunny street with onlookers and bikes.
Armster Hampton of the Traffik Boyz crew poses with his custom purple and green bike at the Cinco de Mayo rideout. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A vibrant purple and green bike saddle with an emblem and the word "ARM" on it, with a small Joker figure hanging below.
Armster Hampton's custom bike was inspired by the Joker from "Batman." | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
A person in a green jersey holds a pink bicycle against a colorful graffiti wall.
Marcos Tijero's pink Dyno GT is a recreation of the 1987 bike he longed for as a child. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard
Two people greet each other in front of a colorful juice bar with vibrant custom bikes parked outside.
Friends link up at the fourth annual Cinco de Mayo bike rideout on Folsom Street behind a lineup of custom bikes. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard