Charles Deffarges Makes California A Better Place to Park…Your Bicycle!

Charles began organizing for better bicycle infrastructure while he was studying at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Recognizing that safe bike parking was often overlooked in urban spaces in general–and in his neighborhood and on his college campus in particular–he worked with his community to get new racks installed in both his neighborhood and on campus.

After leaving L.A., Charles wanted to continue his work improving bicycle transportation in the hilly city where he grew up. His passion for bicycle advocacy first led him to intern with the SF Bicycle Coalition last year where he now joins the staff as the Bicycle Parking Coordinator.

How long have you been involved with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition?
Growing up in San Francisco, I rode my bike constantly. Because of my penchant for pedal-powered transportation, I often attended SF Bicycle Coalition events. I was also dependent on the membership discount to help feed my endless appetite for tubes and tires throughout my teenage years. It was during the summer of 2014, though, that I became involved on a deeper level as an intern, working on business outreach and volunteer coordination. From then on, I’ve stayed close to the organization, volunteering, and now working as a member of the staff.

What’s your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition?
Definitely the staff. Working as an intern was a pleasure thanks in large part to the wonderful people working here. They were also hugely influential in my decision to come back and are one of the many reasons why I am so excited to do so. A close second is the events. I relish any opportunity to socialize with fellow bike-minded people, and the SF Bicycle Coalition always has something fun coming up.

Which part of your new job are you most excited about?
Being able to have a tangible impact on SF streets is extremely exciting to me. Soon I’ll be riding all over the city marking spots for bike racks with nifty chalk spray paint, and in a month or two those marked spots will start turning into bike racks. I imagine that it’ll be really satisfying when I’m able to see and use bike racks that I had a direct role in getting on the streets.

What kind of bicycle do you ride and what’s your favorite thing about it?
My workhorse and everyday commuter is a 1989 Trek 560. I think the frame on this bike is gorgeous. The steel lugging and original turquoise paint (which I abuse way more than it deserves) might as well be modern art. On the weekends I get crazy in the mountains on a Yeti SB66 whose seemingly endless suspension travel helps keep me rubber side down (most of the time).

Can you think of any locations in San Francisco where there is a need for more bike parking racks and/or corrals?
I think that most commercial corridors in SF could use more bike parking. With all the growth that San Francisco is experiencing, I am confident that demand for bike parking will keep going up, especially where people eat, drink and shop.

Charles’ work to add more on-street bike parking is made possible through a partnership with the SFMTA. If anyone has a particular location in mind, you can request a free rack through the handy dandy form here.

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