Bike Rides and Art Tours!

Posted on 03/13/2017
Union Square to Golden Gate Bridge via Park

The tour takes place at the DeYoung Art Museum in Golden Gate Park, and it's run by Museum Hack. While they call the tour something different, we strive to be family-friendly in our blog so we'll refer to the tour as '“Fierce Females” of the DeYoung' in our review.

We started our journey on bicycles (of course) at the Blazing Saddles location at 433 Mason Street, near Union Square. We took the Union Square to Golden Gate Park self-guided tour to the museum, where we'd meet up with our guided art tour group. After leaving the Blazing Saddles bike shop, we cruised down Mason to the Market Street bike route and continued to “the Wiggle,” a cross-town route that goes around (instead of up and over!) some of San Francisco's daunting hills. The (surprisingly flat!) bike route is on city streets with variety of bike sharrow markings, bike lanes, and protected bike lanes, making this ride suitable for intermediate and advanced riders who are comfortable sharing the road with motorized traffic.

When we reached the DeYoung Museum inside Golden Gate Park, we locked our bicycles in the underground parking garage, which has paid parking for cars but free parking for bikes! We made our way into the museum lobby and found our tour guide Kate waiting for us, along with a few others in our tour group. Kate was easy to spot since she had an iPad with “Museum Hack” on it.

Once everyone had gathered, she introduced the “Fierce Females” tour by talking about women in the art world. Though women are often the subject of paintings, and there are plenty of sculptures of the female form to be found in art museums, actual work by female artists is harder to come by - even in contemporary collections. As Kate showed us some slides on her iPad, I admired the sunglasses that were perched atop her head, which said “#ArtFemale” on the sides. (While “female” was not the exact word that was printed, you get the idea!) I was pleasantly surprised when Kate passed out “Art Female” sunglasses to everyone in the group – we'd be using these throughout the tour to “throw shade” when we encountered something that overlooked or slighted women.

Our first stop was a Mayan sculpture of the goddess of corn. After a quick lesson on the piece's significance, everyone in the group shared a female that we looked up to personally. This was the first of many instances when Kate engaged everyone in the group – this was going to be a truly interactive tour! – and our answers ranged from Michelle Obama to Miley Cyrus to Tamika Butler.

Another stop was in a room filled with idyllic landscapes. Known as the Hudson River school of art, the enormous paintings in this section were idealized representations that were beautiful, but not necessarily accurate! In the middle of this room was a striking statue of Delilah, from the tale of Samson and Delilah. Interestingly enough, Delilah is a beautiful woman who's unjustly gotten a bad rap that's not necessarily accurate. Obviously we used this opportunity to “throw shade” at the historic misrepresentations of Delilah.

The tour was full of fun, interactive portions where we engaged with the artwork and our fellow tour group members. For example, in the colonial rooms we each chose a face and took a photo of it, then partnered up to create a story about our characters we'd chosen. (If you go, make sure to bring your digital camera or smartphone!) There were tons of interactive details like this - too many to list, but you get the idea!

We learned a ton and had a blast on the tour. Kate even shared her Harriet Tubman epic rap battle with us! If you are looking for a fun and informative way to spend an afternoon, definitely check out Museum Hack and their take on art museum tours – and of course, ride your bike there! 

For Women's History Month, we wanted to share our review of an awesome tour in San Francisco that highlights the contributions of women to the art world – and as an added bonus, you can ride your bike there!