A Ruota Libera: Pizza + bikes + music in San Francisco

By Gary J. Boulanger,

Take a pinch of steel, add a dash of jazz guitar, throw in a few hundred bicycle lovers, and mix it all with wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and you have a party, San Francisco style.

Una Pizza Napoletana owner and avid cyclist Anthony Mangieri teamed with Soulcraft Bikes’s Sean Walling to throw the second annual A Ruota Libera, an officially unofficial NorCal Handmade Bike Show at Mangieri’s South of Market pizzeria on Sunday, August 12.

The industrial retail space was alive with conversation, centering around bicycles on display from several regional frame builders and designers, including Ahrens, Black Cat, Black Mountain, Blue Collar, Bruce Gordon, Caletti, Falconer, Frances, Hunter, Inglis/Retrotec, Rebolledo, Rock Lobster, Soulcraft Steve Potts and Steelman. Local component makers Paul Components, Pass and Stow, and White Industries balanced off the exhibits. Santa Cruz filmmaker and photographer Brian Vernor’s work lined the walls, while Mangieri and his crew served authentic Neapolitan pizza with Italian beer and wine all day long.

For Walling, the small venue and low-key atmosphere is a nice change of pace compared to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show that pops up around the country each late winter. Plus, Mangieri has befriended several of the framebuilders, and enjoys throwing a party. Several local enthusiasts showed up on bikes, which were tended to by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s free valet parking service.

Former Bridgestone Cycles icon, cyclo-cross legend and longtime Rivendell employee Pineapple Bob rubbed shoulders with another East Bay legend, Bob Roll, in town on vacation with his family. Bobke, as he’s called, was tipped about the event by former endurance mountain bike racer and current popular chef Chris Cosentino, who spent the afternoon at Una with his family as well.

Mangieri relocated his popular pizzeria from New York’s East Village in late 2010, after spending several vacations riding mountain bikes in the Bay Area. His friend, filmmaker Mike Evans who’s also a New Jersey native, helped organize the event. Evans debuted a short film about Walling at last year’s A Routa:

Former professional skateboarder Tommy Guerrero provided the event’s music, a solo fusion of looped jazz guitar mixed with his own take on several classic obscure rock songs. He also provided the soundtrack for Mangieri’s documentary by Evans:

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