See ya, SAD: Post-Car Travel Agency pops-up with mid"summer" vacay inspiration

Post-car tour agents Kristin Saunders and Kelly Gregory field questions about navigating Highway 1 on bike in their pop-up space

It wasn't until I was lying on an office park lawn just south of Jack London Square yesterday, staring back at the Transamerica Pyramid-studded fog bank that currently consitutes our city, that I could acknowledge that Seasonal Affective Disorder is effectively ruining my life and most likely, everyone else's in San Francisco these weeks.

Thankfully, that epiphany was quickly followed by a visit to the antidote, the Post-Car Travel Agency. It's easy for city-dwellers to forget, but it is possible to access sunshine, san automobile, whenever one has the saddlebags to do so. The pop-up agency has popped up on Shotwell Street at the Storefront Lab, where it will be offering bike trip planning know-how, way-flash pannier bags in Bay-inspired colorways handmade by Seattle's Swift Industries, more park guides than you can shake a stick at, and a photo show by Eric Jensen everyday through Fri/24. They also had PBR on my trip to the shop's daily happy hour from 6-9pm yesterday, because any good bike tourist knows malty beverages make the road less rough. 

Pardon the pun, but the shop is geared towards beginners. "There's some people who need help getting into this," says Post-Car tour agent Kelly Gregory, who along with Kristin Saunders applied to Yosh Asato and David Baker when they learned of the couple's plans to open an experiment in neighborhood storefronts on Shotwell. The Agency is the space's second tenant (there will be eight total), after Deep Craft Atelier and its handmade longboards. The idea was based on the Post-Car Press guidebooks written by Gregory and Justin Eichenlaub, which we profiled in last year's Summer Guide. 

So what did I find to remedy my fog hangover at the shop? Four ready-made bike trips, each encapsulated in a helpful brochure and neatly displayed next to a steed that would be perfect for the adventure. My personal favorite was the 106-mile "Big Sur to Boot Camp" trip, whose pamphlet included information on public transit to and from the Big Sur area, directions to nearby hot springs, local foraging tips, and notes on the Fost Hunter Ligget Hacienda, a guesthouse ($50 for the "cowboy room") located inside an active military base that has both a bar and a bowling alley on premise. 

Other trips included "The Lush," a mosey about East Bay wineries, a trek between Tahoe and Yosemite, and "The Down and Dirty," which takes riders over Planet of the Apes Road (yesterday's Highway 1, and a convenient option for those looking to dodge the nasty, shoulder-lite bits of that particular thoroughfare) to Half Moon Bay. Each $10 brochure includes a helpful packing list, map, and info on rad side trips for those looking for the scenic route. Combine a trip guide with a PCTA patch and Swift Industries tool roll for $37, the so-called "Tender Spoke Getaway."

All you need to get started, really. For those looking not just for biking tips but biking buddies to boot, the women of Post-Car Travel Agency will be leading a group ride to Samuel P. Taylor Park (and it's bike-in campsites tucked beneath massive redwood trees) on Sat/25. The four-hour, 30-mile ride will be just great for breaking out of this dismal cloud cover. 

Post-Car Travel Agency at StoreFrontLab

Open 6-9pm through Fri/24; ride to Samuel P. Taylor State Park departs Sat/25, 2pm

337 Shotwell, SF