SF2G was unofficially started in 2005 by Ryan PC Gibson, Brett Crosby, Scott Crosby, Marius Eriksen, Eric Altendorf, Brian Wickman, and Brett Lider, among others. It was "incorporated", as it were, in April 2007, when the SF2G Google Group was started and the name "SF2G" was applied.
Ryan Gibson came up with the name, which is a play on the route endpoints (obviously) and the french pro tour team AG2R. Also helped that the domain name was available :)
A Crazy Commute
When I joined Google in April 2005, I knew two things: 1) I would live in SF, and 2) I would not drive to work. So what were the alternatives? Well fortunately the shuttle service launched about that time, so time spent slogging down the 101 could at least be productively spent sleeping, but that wasn't very satisfying, and further, the "Google 15" had already taken up residence around my midsection. So what about riding a bike to work? Crazy? Could a 42 mile bike ride realistically be done before work on a regular basis?
The only way to find out was to join the Google internal road bike mailing list and listen in. Soon enough a post or two about something called the "Joe Gross route" came through, and I resolved to try it. Timidly posting to what seemed a massive list (~400 people), I got a couple of "sure, why nots?" and, if I recall correctly, Marius Eriksen, Nat Criou, and Ryan PC Gibson joined for the first few rides. It was awesome! We got to work exhausted and on the verge of resorting to cannibalism, but wow, breakfast never tasted so good.
Flash forward to April 2007. By this time rides were a semi-regular occurrence, and I felt we were annoying the rbike list with our posts about the minutiae of meeting up here or there for a given day's commute, so we formed a new, externally-accessible Google Group, and called it "SF2G". Partially a play on the pro-cycling team AG2R, it's also a pretty self-explanatory description of what the group is about. Being no longer exclusive to Google people, I figured the list would grow to perhaps 50 or 100 people, and rides would happen maybe once a week.
Boy was I wrong. Turns out there are a LOT of people who have long considered biking down the peninsula to work from the city, and they just needed a little nudge in the form of someone else to ride with, and a good description of the route. The list grew smartly, and earlier this year became larger than rbike itself, something that astonished me. As of Feb. 2009, we have 755 subscribers, and there are organized rides nearly every day of the week, rain or shine.
As a 1% project some of us created a website for the routes and a ride blog (http://sf2g.com) and we've been written up in the SJ Mercury News. There are even subscribers who don't live in the bay area... maybe they just need some inspiration to tackle their own commutes? In any case, we welcome everyone to join us. Every Friday is "No Rider Left Behind" (NRLB) day, so we go at whatever pace newcomers feel comfortable with, and we try to brainwash them into becoming one of us.
You can do it too! Every time you tell someone you rode your bike to work 42 miles they'll say the same thing: "that's crazy!", but it's not. It's awesome.
- Scott Crosby