San Francisco’s 2016 Bike Commuter of the Year: Liam Casey

Liam Casey is San Francisco’s 2016 Bike Commuter of the Year. Why? Liam’s a massage therapist who has been exclusively transporting his table by bicycle for years, and an award-winning strongman who can move 800 pounds of food in just two trips by bicycle–all while raising money for the local food bank. Let’s hear it for Liam!

SF Bicycle Coalition: How long have you been biking your massage table around SF?

Liam: I’ve been casually biking with my table since 2003, but I really only got serious about it three years ago. “Massage delivered by bike” has been my full-time job for the last two and a half years.

Do you remember your very first trip transporting your massage table by bike? What was it like?

My first trip was not nearly as hard as expected! I was a bit unbalanced, to be sure, but the bike was stable enough to handle it. In those days, I was using an Xtracycle FreeRadical bolted to a standard mountain bike. It could handle the weight, but it wobbled a lot. In 2008, I upgraded to a purpose-built cargo bike and that made a huge difference.

You’ve also used your superhuman cyclist strength in the service of nonprofits.

I’ve participated in the annual Supermarket Street Sweep to benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank for the last 5 years. In 2013, I won the prize for carrying the most food, with 796 pounds. The following year, I topped that with 831 pounds, but only came in fifth! I thought that was pretty amazing.

Also, for years I was a fixture at the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Volunteer Nights. In fact, it was where I met my fiancee! For a time, I became the go-to guy for picking up the food, which ranged from bags of snacks to catered platters, depending on who was donating.

Are there any other exceptional things you’ve transported by bicycle?

Oh so many things! I’ve moved my apartment by bicycle twice and I’ve helped a few others move as well. One of my fondest bike memories involved such a moving party. We were riding down Valencia and I was towing a couch. We stopped at the light around 14th and there was a group of three young women waiting for the bus. (This was back when there was a bus on Valencia). When we found out they were going to 24th street, I said, “hop on!” They all piled onto the couch and off we went, the three of them giggling and just having a great time, eliciting all sorts of reactions from onlookers. This was long before the days of social media, so alas it didn’t get me Internet-famous.

I once carried a fellow rider and his bike home after he got a flat tire near Heron’s Head on a late-night group ride. I’ve carried Christmas trees, a 6-foot-tall painting, old televisions to e-recycling, and of course my fiancee and our dog. Ever since I discovered that that Bay Bridge bike path more or less drops you off at Ikea, I’ve joked that if they ever finish the path, I’ll be the first to bike across the bridge with a bookcase.

What other bicycle-related activities do you enjoy in your spare time?

One of my favorite things to do is go bike camping. Most people don’t realize just how easy it is to quickly escape civilization when you’re on a bicycle, but it’s amazing what opens up when you travel without the restrictions or physical constraints of a car. And with a cargo bike, the possibilities open up that much more. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “how much time would I need to get to Baja? What about Costa Rica? Or Patagonia?” Maybe someday. For now, I’ll have to be content with overnights in Point Reyes.

Check out SF Bicycle Coalition and Huckleberry Bicycle’s Bike Camping Workshop on May 24 for everyone interested in bike camping, including beginners, families and long-distance travelers. You can find more information and RSVP here.

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