It’s the 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area, so we thought we’d ask some of our long-time members to share their memories of biking in San Francisco 20 years ago. Thanks to these dedicated members, our city streets have come a long way in the last two decades. Bert Hill has been a member since 1997 and serves as a Bicycle Education Instructor.
What do you remember about biking in SF in the 90s?
There were very few business commuters. Most motorists and police rejected bicyclists as equal road users. Bike messengers were prominent and set a style trend for younger cyclists – they introduced fixies, baldies, messenger bags. Riders were almost all male and young. Critical Mass gave many a sense of belonging and the confidence to ride urban streets.
What is the greatest change you’ve seen on our streets in the last 20 years?
Diversity in riders! Women, people of all ethnicities, seniors, the range of bike styles, the social acceptance, the inherent understanding of people on bikes that it is the most healthy, sustainable, affordable, efficient and fun form of transportation.
What campaigns over the years have made the biggest impact on your ride?
The bike education program, in which women represent 75% of attendees. Also, now my ride is much more humanized and civil than 20 years ago. We have more bikeways for people ages 8 to 80, which I especially appreicate as I approach 70 and my eldest grandson approaches 8. Our streets need to be safe for everyone to use.
Why do you continue to be a long-time SF Bicycle Coalition supporter?
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will continue to be a driving force for positive change, along with Livable City, Walk SF, SF Transit Riders Union, Senior and Disability Action, and the Housing Action Coalition, among others in promoting our goals for the sustainable city we envision for future generations.