In over 20 years of working in the Mission, Justin Fraser has built up an impressive portfolio as a website developer. Despite that relative success, he still rides a bike every day, and has no plans to buy a car.
“It’s fun. It’s an exciting exercise. It’s pollution free,” said Fraser, standing among four bikes — all his — that fill the foyer of Mission Web Works. “We’re in a climate emergency right now, and that can be daunting. Like, what can we do?”
For Fraser, that means not only riding a bike, but being a bike activist, and his second floor coding office at the intersection of 17th and Folsom streets is filled with bike memories.
Behind his desk hangs a bike-themed calendar, and on the other wall is a framed poster commemorating the 10-year anniversary of San Francisco Critical Mass, an anarchic ride through the city during which Fraser first met his wife, another keen cyclist.
“You’re biking, you’ve got the wind in your hair, and you look over and see the person you like right there,” said Fraser remembering those days. Now, his bike has a child’s seat in the back.
He was on the board of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for eight years, and helped facilitate the birth of the city’s bike lane network. “My first big accomplishment was helping to get the bike lane on Howard Street,” Fraser said.
And, unlike some, he’s positive about the changes that have happened. “I’m not a person that wants the Mission back to like, oh, ‘the good old days.’”
Fraser remembers when sex workers loitered around corners in the morning waiting for people coming off the night shift, the huge pond that formed at the intersection of 17th and Folsom on rainy days, and the shock of seeing a manhole cover come shooting out of the ground in 2009.
Today, bike lanes can send people to all parts of San Francisco, “but 20 years ago, none of that existed,” said Fraser. “There were, maybe, four or five bike lanes around the city.”
And he doesn’t plan to take his focus off biking. “The climate emergency really concerns me, and I like the idea of San Francisco becoming a carbon-neutral city, so I want to get involved with that,” he said.