Hella QUestions
Hella Answers

What does “Hella” mean?

Hella is an American slang term that originated in East Oakland, California, but has since spread to become common slang to all of northern California. It is used as an adverb such as in "hella bad" or "hella good" and was eventually added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002. --Definition provided by wikipedia

Do I need my own bike? helmet? lock?

Our bikes:

7-speed, step-in European-style bikes with hand brakes

Each bike has a pannier, cup holder, bell, and lock

We provide:

The bike, helmet, lock, safety vest.

The TIOBT sticker is complimentary and yours to keep!

How long is the tour?

Average length is four hours. We stop pretty frequently for explanations of sites/sights and refreshment.

Is the ride difficult?

Central Oakland is mostly flat; during the course of the tour you may encounter some small changes in grade, however, the bikes are equipped with multiple gears.

Is the ride safe?

Absolutely! Oakland just recently got a 72 bike score--the same score as # 3 Portland, OR! Before every tour we go over safety guidelines, the bikes are regularly maintained, and we make sure that stops are done off of the roadway and out of the path of pedestrians. That being said, Oakland is a city--riders must be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Is it kid-friendly? Teen-friendly?

At this time, our insurance only allows riders who are 18 years and older.  Check back for future changes.

I haven’t ridden a bike in awhile, is the tour a good idea?

All riders must be able to confidently steer, pedal and brake without assistance. Our safety guidelines also require that riders be able to steer and brake with one hand while signalling traffic.

LGBTQ welcoming...?

We are hella welcoming because that's just the right way to be and TIOBT is owned and operated by a QPOC.

What should I bring with me?

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Layers--Oakland neighborhoods have their own microclimates
  • Camera/phone
  • Spending money
  • Identification
  • Sense of adventure!

Can I tour if I don’t speak English?

Yes! We can provide a translator for an additional cost.

Please contact for additional languages.

Is there a restroom I can use before the start of the tour?

Yes, there is! In addition, we will stop somewhere within the first 30 minutes where a restroom is available and then again for lunch.

I wasn't able to book a Classic/Custom tour, why not?

All Tours are subject to availability and the number of bookings on that given day. Please try again! Oakland is worth pursuing ;-)

Can I use my own bike?

Sure, you get a $5 discount. Use promotion code: byobike

How do I get to the tour?

BART Directions

From San Francisco, South Bay or Contra Costa areas take the appropriate BART line that will allow you to disembark at 19th St/Oakland stop.

Ferry Directions

From SF take the ferry to Jack London Landing and disembark, if you have arranged ahead the tour can start at Jack London.

AC Transit bus

The following lines all stop at or within a block of the Uptown Transit Center at 19th St and Broadway: 6, 12, 18, 33, 51, 72, NL and the free Broadway Shuttle

Does the tour begin and end in the same place?

No, not usually. Most tours begin at Latham Square. The tours end in the Uptown area. This allows me to show you more of Oakland. No matter what, the beginning and end points are within a five minute or shorter walk of public transportation. For an additional charge, the lead guide will meet and transport guests from the SF Ferry Building to the Jack London Ferry Plaza.

How do I find the beginning point of tour?

All Classically Curated Group Tours begin at Latham Square. If there are any changes the address and closest public transportation stop will be sent to you via confirmation email or text.

I’m a teacher; can I tour for free?

If you are on summer vacation and you are an educator, you sure can! Teacher Tuesdays provide eight spots every Tuesday from June 1 thru September 1. The tours are on a first come, first serve basis and I do my best to give priority to Oakland Unified School District educators.

Spots for non-educators are released seven days prior to Teacher Tuesdays and can be booked at the regular rate.

Will I get a workout?

This tour is more of a meander than a heart-racer; that being said, you are still riding a bike...

Why can’t I donate my contribution to another charity not listed?

I encourage all people to give to the charities of their choice. In that vein, I want to give a portion of my profits to these charities because I am passionate about: the eradication of homelessness, caring for our foster youth, providing specialized healthcare for women. I selected these charities because of the fine work they are doing to create and maintain a positive Oakland for the residents most in need here.

What’s the “nod”?

Traditionally, Oaklanders like to acknowledge everyone’s humanity and right to be and live in Oakland with a casual nod-of-the-head or lift-of-chin while walking the town.

Why does Oakland get such a bad rap in the media?

Oh goodness! Answers are only somewhat tongue-in-cheek: 

  1. We are the oft underappreciated and overlooked step-sister to San Francisco.
  2. Systemic forces outside of most residents’ control contribute to our social, political and economic parity issues.
  3. We are almost twice as big as SF in square mileage and half the size in population, so we feel like a town yet have all the urban issues that come with city life.

Have a question you don't see answered here?
Just ask!

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