Why bike to school? Just ask Pete and his kids.
In celebration of Bike to School Week, we asked Pete why he and his kids choose to get to school on two wheels.
How long have you and your kids been biking to school?
I have been biking to school with my twins since fall 2011, when they started kindergarten in the outer Sunset. We feel lucky to be in such a great school, and especially lucky that it’s only half a mile away. We also walk about half the time, except if there’s an after-school activity or appointment that requires a car.
Why did you start biking to school?
It’s quick, fun, safe and gets the blood moving in the morning!
Did you encounter any barriers to biking to school and if so, how did you overcome them?
We had to figure out the best place to cross broad, busy Noriega Street. We found a cross street with stop signs, and we’ve figured out a few routes that help us avoid the steepest hills.
What’s one fun story from your trip to school for you and your children?
At the end of our steepest block, my son noticed a set of rusty keys hanging from a telephone pole. It stimulated much imaginative conversation, and we still check in on them as we pass by daily (if anyone out there lost a set of keys...). We also pass the same folks on foot most mornings, or run into another family of three commuting by bike daily, and it gives us a sense of community that you don’t find when passing people in cars. We’re more engaged with our community when we bike.
How does biking to school impact your ability to get to work?
Usually it’s no problem. I always walk or bike with my children to school then bike to work from there if I can. Sometimes I have to commute by car or motorcycle, but I still take my kids to school by bike. The bike ride from the school back to my house is only half a mile and all downhill, so it’s easy and faster than walking. It might even be faster than driving, as parking is at a premium in the morning, and the drop-off line can take time.
Is active transportation promoted at your school?
One of the teachers works with the San Francisco Safe Routes to School program. Several other families commute by bike daily, and I think we’re all visible to the community, so it may have some tacit impact.
What advice would you give to other parents interested in biking to school?
Take your time to feel safe. Find a day when you can give yourselves a little extra time and give it a go. Not all schedules and commutes work, of course, but dropping my kids off with flushed cheeks and getting my own blood moving first thing in the morning starts the day off nicely.
- Use BikeMapper to map your bike route to school
- Sign up for SchoolPool to find other families to share the ride to school
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