East Bay Express 2010: Best Bike Tour

Wow! I can’t believe it! The February 2010 Tour de Taco won the East Bay Express’ Best of the Bay 2010 award for: Best Bike Tour. (That said, I’m not sure how many bike tours there are in the East Bay, but heck, I’ll take it!)

As the EBE writes:

Sometimes when you hop on a bike, you just want to ride — around the block, through the neighborhood, until you get tired and find yourself lost and in search of a Slurpee. At others, you need a goal, a destination, a mission. And what’s a more worthy mission than obtaining tacos? According to organizers of the Oaklandish Tour de Taco, not much. Billed as a “gastronomical quest on wheels through the Fruitvale district of Oakland,” the annual ride hosted by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and Cyrus Farivar of CaliforniaTacoTrucks.com leads participants along a bike-friendly course from one taco truck to the next. This year’s ride, held in February, stopped at four taco trucks along a 2.5-mile loop and then visited an ice cream parlor a couple blocks down the street for dessert. Those looking to tack another 3.5 miles onto the ride then convened at a bar in Old Oakland for refreshments. The date for next year’s ride has yet to be set, but organizers welcome taco truck veterans and “mobile food noobs” alike, as well as riders of all skill levels. The ride’s free, but don’t forget a helmet, $15 or so for food, and an empty stomach.

As it turns out, although I’m currently in Germany, I plan on being back in Oakland next February for about two weeks, and would love to organize another one. Or heck, all you 510ers, why aren’t you organizing your own, informal ride? If you do, send me pix, por favor!

[Cross-posted at CaliforniaTacoTrucks.com]

Cyrus on: ABC’s Future Tense (Australia)

Meine FreundInnin,

I’m pleased to share with you my latest piece on the new WiFi-free Weekend policy at Actual Café in Oakland. This was one of the last pieces that I did before leaving the Bay Area.

It has just aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — the first time I’ve been on the radio down under!

Or, you can just listen here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tour de Taco: February 20, 2010 (Fruitvale BART)

So after my last Taco Truck Tour, the good peoples at Oaklandish and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition connected with me and wanted to put together a sort of “best-of” taco truck ride for those who didn’t make it the other times, along with some new ones. And they even made this sweet art for it, too!

I apologize in advance for not organizing one in December (holidays), nor January (work). But I hope I can make up for it, as in a way, this one will sort of be the grand finale of my taco truck tours. In late March 2010, my wife and I will be moving to Bonn, Germany — where there is sadly, a great dearth of taco trucks. I’ll do my best to update the blog remotely as best as I can.

So why would I forsake my beloved tierra de tacos? I’ve just taken a job at Deutsche Welle English (German public radio), where I’ll be the new host of Spectrum, a weekly science and technology show. (Maybe I’ll organize a döner kebab bike ride or something over there.) If any folks are interested in organizing future rides here in Oakland, let me know, and I’ll put you guys in touch.

Thanks again to all who’ve come out for the previous two rides and have made them as fun and delicious as possible!

Here’s the itinerary:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet: 11:00 am at Fruitvale BART (Oakland)

1. El Ojo De Agua – 12th St. & Fruitvale Ave.
2. Tamales Mi Lupita – 34th Ave. & Foothill Blvd.
3. El Gordo – International & 42nd Ave.
4. Tacos Guadalajara – 10th St. & Fruitvale Ave.

This should all be wrapped up around 4 pm, but as with the previous rides, feel free to arrive/depart as you please.

5. (Bonus) Cinco de Mayo Ice Cream – 3340 E 12th St & 33rd Ave.
6. (Bonus) The Trappist – 460 8th St (& Broadway)

Bring: Bike, helmet, camera, $10-15 for tacos, maybe $5-$10 for ice cream/beer.

RSVP: Facebook event page

If even half of the 115 people that have RSVPed as of now show up, this will be the largest taco truck ride to date and we’ll definitely need to go in shifts so we don’t totally overwhelm the taqueros. But we’ll figure that out later.

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments, or email me: cyrus [at] californiatacotrucks.com

Taco Truck Tour #2: Foothill Blvd. Edition (Nov. 22, 2009)

After the success of October’s taco truck tour, it’s time for another!

Taco Truck Tour Numéro Dos:

When: Sunday, November 22, 2009
Meet: 12:30 pm, Lake Merritt BART station (9th and Oak St., Oakland).
Start: ~ 12:45 pm
End: ~ 3:30 pm ish, Fruitvale BART station
Twitter: @catacotrucks / #tacotrucktour

Itinerary (follow along at Oakland Taco Truck Map 2007)

1) Tacos Alonzo at Foothill Blvd./27th Ave.
2) Tacos El Mazatlan at Foothill Blvd./Fruitvale Ave.
3) Tamales Mi Lupita at Foothill Blvd./34th Ave.
4) Tacos El Tio Juan at Foothill Blvd./41st Ave.
5) Nieves Cinco de Mayo (ice cream) at 3340 E 12th St.

When it’s all said and done, feel free to bike or BART home. Anyone is welcome to join up or leave at anytime, obviously.

Afterwards, I might even be up for a beer at The Trappist (8th/B’way, downtown Oakland).

Bring: bike, helmet, $10-$15 for tacos+ice cream, camera if you want to document the deliciousness

RSVP: Email me cyrus [at] californiatacotrucks [dot] com. Put “Fruitvale taco truck bike tour” in the subject line.

All are welcome!

Fruitvale taco truck bike tour with Cyrus (Oct. 25, 2009)

Before it gets too rainy, I thought I’d take whoever would like to join me for a taco truck bike tour of my four favorite trucks in Fruitvale this Sunday:

When: Sunday, October 25, 2009
Meet: 12:30 pm, Lake Merritt BART station (9th and Oak St., Oakland).
Start: ~ 12:45 pm
End: ~ 3 pm ish, Fruitvale BART station

Itinerary:
1) Tacos Sinaloa at 22nd Ave./International Blvd. (via 10th St., International Boulevard)
2) Tacos El Grullo at 26th Ave./International Blvd.
3) Mi Grullense at 30th Ave./International Blvd.
4) El Ojo de Agua at E. 12th St./Fruitvale Ave.
5) Nieves Cinco de Mayo (ice cream) at 3340 E 12th St.

When it’s all said and done, feel free to bike or BART home. Anyone is welcome to join up or leave at anytime, obviously.

Afterwards, I might even be up for a beer at The Trappist (8th/B’way, downtown Oakland).

Bring: bike, helmet, $10-$15 for tacos+ice cream, camera if you want to document the deliciousness

RSVP: Email me cfarivar [at] cfarivar [dot] org. Put “Fruitvale taco truck bike tour” in the subject line.

All are welcome!

BART to get WiFi!

Hot damn! I reported on WiFi Rail back in July 2008 for NPR. Well done!

From WiFi Rail‘s press release:

Service on BART is scheduled to begin on selected segments during 2009. Four downtown San Francisco stations and some segments of the tunnels are already fully functional, and have been providing premium service free to subscribers for the past year.

“We are thrilled to showcase our technology in the network designed for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system, it is a great partnership,” said Cooper Lee, CEO and inventor of the patent pending technology. “This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate what high-speed WiFi access, interconnected by a huge fiber-optic backbone, can mean to a transit system and its passengers.”

The WiFi Rail deployment in the BART system will become the largest high bandwidth mobile Internet LAN in the United States. Completion of network construction is planned for the end of 2010.

[via Dave Winer and Wi-Fi Net News]

Oakland International Airport to get free WiFi!

Hellz yeah. Oaktown is getting free WiFi! Waiting for my next Southwest flight will now be WAY better.

Says the company presser:

The launch marks FreeFi’s second deployment at a major U.S. airport in 2008. In January, FreeFi partnered with Denver International Airport to replace daily-fee Internet service with free Wi-Fi access. The Port of Oakland, owner and operator of Oakland International, awarded FreeFi a multi-year contract with the airport which commenced Oct. 1.

[via Wi-Fi Net News and A Better Oakland]

New WiFi Café in Oakland: Awaken

I had a couple hours to chill between interview in downtown Oakland today and so I discovered Awaken Café, on 14th at Broadway. It’s a four-month-old, pleasant spot with free WiFi (you gotta ask for the password), great lattes ($2.50 for a small!), sweet bumper stickers, and friendly staff. Only recently, with the opening of The Trappist, have I started to explore downtown Oakland a bit, and this is definitely a welcome addition to The Town. Become a fan on Facebook!

Also, last week, I popped into a new SoMa café, Epicenter, to get a couple hours of work done. That’s a bigger café, with more expensive lattes ($3.75!), but the rent is almost certainly higher there (heck, it’s adjacent to a Whole Foods). That said, there’s plenty of power outlets and couches. They said that they’re working on getting their liquor license, so it could be a good spot for an after work quiet drink.

NYT’s Voices from the Polls

I’m interviewing voters as they come out of the voting booths in Oakland, Piedmont and Lafayette today for the NYT’s online feature “Voices from the Polls”.

Check it out here.

Update: I had to go all the way out to Danville to find Republicans. Seriously.