SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco man has hit on a way to get exercise during the pandemic and support small businesses at the same time.
He's organizing bike rides, and they've been growing by the week.
"We weren't avid bike riders so this is something that's pretty new to all of us," said Brandon Murio, who is a graphic designer and brand manager who has worked for companies, large and small. "To be a thriving community, money has to spent inside the community."
The rides began in mid-May, with Murio and a few buddies setting out from San Francisco locations for casual rides.
"We're actually riders who will not wear Lycra, will not wear Spandex," smiled Murio, who calls the group the Ride Out Posse SF.
Now, there are three rides a week, and some have had more than 100 riders show up.
Anyone can participate, and the meet-ups are posted on Instagram.
"We got mountain bikes, hybrids, road bikes, so we don't discriminate on what kind of bike you have," said Murio.
His priority is making sure the routes include small businesses that could use a boost.
"We always focus on hitting a small business for food and drink during the ride."
Thursday evening, a few dozen riders met at Mission Rock Resort, rode to Pier 39 for photos, then came back along the waterfront to end up at a food truck near the ballpark.
"It's a game-changer, It's magic really, and unexpected," said Alex Retodo, owner of The Lumpia Company.
Retodo was poised to open a lumpia bar at the 2nd and Townsend location until the coronavirus hit.
Now he serves his Filipino egg rolls as a pop-up restaurant.
He spotted the Ride Out Posse group on social media and reached out.
"It was just an hour or two earlier and now I've got 50 guys riding on bikes, and eating here," said Retodo.
"That's going to make our day as a small business."
So far, riders have pedaled to a few dozen businesses, with more to come.
"We're in a beautiful city, San Francisco, and I was born and raised here and so were a lot of the other riders," said Murio.
"We're not asking these businesses for discounts, we want to give them money, and keep it circulating in the community where it's needed."
Aimed at personal wellness and community wellness, the rides have expanded to Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, with the weekend ride more challenging, incorporating hills.
"I built my bike, I was given a frame and I pieced it all together," said rider Dennis Deudor, participating for the first time and looking forward to more rides.
"All these happy faces on bikes and everybody making a difference during hard times and not making excuses to not exercise," said Deudor. "This is how we do it in San Francisco."