This post is part of our My SF series that profiles our best, brightest and most interesting local personalities.
Name: Payam Rajabi
Neighborhood: The Mission
Years in SF: One year and four months
The 24-year-old became a San Francisco celebrity and the envy of every Bay Area bachelor last month when he was featured in an ad for the Love Cycle Droid Razr M. The adorable commercial followed his efforts to bike a heart-shaped path around the city. The story was inspired by Rajabi's own Valentine's Day gift to his girlfriend the year before.
One year later, Rajabi and his girlfriend are still together and going strong. Their relationship became long distance when he moved from Toronto to San Francisco last year to pursue a career in Silicon Valley. They keep the love alive with Facetime, pizza picnics and care packages of paella ingredients.
Fear not, uninspired San Franciscans. Rajabi's chances of upstaging your Valentine's Day plans are slim. He is a self-proclaimed holiday hater and has no plans to outdo last year's performance. The Huffington Post caught up with Rajabi to talk endorphin-fueled romance, adventure dating and the appeal of a biker.
Let's talk about last year's epic Valentine's Day. My girlfriend and I had been doing long distance for a couple of months. I had recently moved to San Francisco from Toronto. I wanted to think of a gesture that would be conveyed through something other than physically being there. I just printed out a map, and put a little sketch of hearts around it and eventually found something that was easy enough to ride.
So you're kind of a romantic? Honestly, [the project] came to me after I had just a finished a very long ride so the endorphins were running through me and I had just had a beer so I was little bit tipsy. I was able to let go and think of this idea.
How did you get involved in the commercial? They were like "we're actually going to shoot this commercial in San Francisco, would you be interested in checking out the set being an extra?" Then I got there, and they were like, "actually, we want you to act in the commercial."
Had you ever acted before? No, never. It was probably one of the best days of my life. One of the most exciting.
Tell me about your girlfriend. How did you two meet? We met through a mutual friend of ours. He went to a university [in Canada] with a much better party scene than mine. I went to party and met her there. Near the end of graduation, we started dating. We're just reaching three years in march.
What are some of your favorite local date night spots? At night, anything on Valencia Street. Honestly, anything on 18th and Mission too. There's a lot of really cool restaurants in that neighborhood.
Break down your perfect San Francisco date. One of my favorite dates going and having like a pizza from Delfina and just going to Dolores park with a bottle of champagne. It's so fun. We do it all the time.
You're not a prix-fixe menu kind of guy? I think restaurants are always a fun part of the date, but to me, it's really the adventure of going and checking out new stuff.
Can you recommend any great adventure dates? One of my favorite places to go to is on Mount Davidson. You can go there at all different times of the year and in the summer it's really foggy, the trees are so lush. You get this eerie feeling. In the fall or the spring, the weather is really crisp you can see a 270 degree view of the bay area.
How does the San Francisco dating scene differ from the Toronto scene?
It's not freezing for six months out of the year so thats always nice. There is nothing sexier than good weather. I'm really into hiking and adventuring out, so I think another part of what I really like about San Francisco is the elevation. You always see perspectives in the city, where as Toronto is very flat.
Are bikers a particularly romantic breed of San Franciscans? It's just another way of life. I really do find a connection with people who are into riding their bike, or people who choose to ride their bikes instead of taking cars or taxis. If I wasn't in a relationship, I would be attracted to that.
You have a tough act to follow after last year. What are your plans for Valentine's Day? I'm not huge on holidays, this year I'm not even gonna try to top that or anything. Tomorrow night, Claire and I will FaceTime, order in and have a glass of wine. I think just being with the person you love and for me just being there with the person is the ideal situation.
No romantic gesture? Maybe it's good to quit while you're ahead. Often times there's this pressure to create the next best thing and it ends up being not so authentic. So if it comes to me, it comes to me. If it doesn't, it doesn't.