SF Weekly tried it out later that month, noting: “We enjoyed our first taco bike fish taco, made with tilapia and piled with cilantro, sour cream, and thick jalapeño slices. But it was the purple cabbage Holt had picked the day before from his and girlfriend Naomi Brilliant’s Healdsburg-based Roshambo Farms that was the unexpected star.”
SFW also noted that the idea for the Taco Bike dates back to 2008, and is sort of mentioned in sketch form on Weird Fish’s blog.
Todd actually wrote me back on June 10, and it took me over two months to post this interview. My apologies.
1) What inspired the creation of this bike? How long did it take to build? Is this a one-off or are you going to be making more?
My friend Timothy Holt from Weird Fish in SF had this idea to somehow have a bike and be able to ride around and serve/cook tacos from it. I jumped at the idea and started telling him all these features that I thought it could have. It took me several long and sporadic weeks of working at night to get this thing put together. The hardest part was figuring out which components could come together to make the whole of the bike. Finding and ordering parts and hunting down little bits here and there was really a challenge. Some parts I could pick up at the hardware store, others parts had to be special ordered from restaurant supply and specialty tool catalogs and RV supply websites.
I’m an artist by day and I don’t like to go into production on anything, but I would like to build another food bike, maybe a Crepe Bike? I work in Ceramics for my fine art and I also build strange pedal powered contraptions, and I’m in the middle of building another bike right now. This one has one nine foot wheel and two smaller wheels that jut out from one side.
These contraptions are built to race on the railroad tracks for an event that my wife produces. After I race them one year, I put rubber on the wheels and make them street legal.
2) Is it specifically designed for tacos? If so, why/how? Have you had any response from real taqueros?
The Taco Bike is specifically built for making three different kinds of tacos, and has a four-slot custom griddle so none of the meats touch each other. Also because Weird Fish has a large vegan demographic, the griddle was designed to make sure the veggies are not touching the beef tongue.
I did talk with the owner of our favorite taco truck about the bike and she made some good suggestions on what she would need to meet safety codes here in Santa Rosa. She definitely had stars in her eyes when I showed her the bike.
3) Will we see this out on the streets anytime soon? The Bite Club Bites site says Weird Fish commissioned it. Will they be using it? If so, when/how/where?
The first date of use will be Friday June 18th and Timothy may just run it in front of Weird Fish for that night. It’s only 4 blocks to Delores park so I’m sure it will end up there often.
4) How does it handle hills, especially SF-grade ones? Are there gears?
It has a Nexus 3 speed hub on the back, and I have ridden it fully loaded up on some medium size hills here in Santa Rosa.
I kind of like the idea of it being limited to a certain footprint of the city where it can go. It keeps things micro-local.
5) What’s your favorite Bay Area non-Twittering taco truck?
I don’t know if they Twitter or not but Antonjitos La Texanita here in Santa Rosa is pretty awesome. It used to just be a truck, then the owner opened a restaurant and now the truck is more mobile around the county.