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. Lawrence Li has been a member since 1998 and is currently the President of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Board of Directors.
What do you remember about biking in SF in the 90s?
Bicycling aficionados would ride daily in heavy, utilitarian urban assault bikes, decked out with the latest defensive technologies: horns, brights lights and rear-view mirrors. Bike messengers were very visible part of Financial District culture.
What is the greatest change you’ve seen on our streets in the last 20 years?
My daily bike to work along Market Street says it all. There are sharrows, protected bike lanes, bike counters and bike boxes that make bicycling feel more relaxing, more normal. This was not accomplished with one big project, but over years of spot-by-spot improvements. We now celebrate safety and confidence in numbers every morning and afternoon. Sometimes, I have to wipe the drool off my face.
What campaigns over the years have made the biggest impact on your ride?
The Connecting the City campaign clearly prioritizes everyone’s need to get across the city quickly and safely. It’s smart. I even jumped at the opportunity to live on the Wiggle. And Valencia Street has turned into a relaxing street that offers the best that San Francisco has to offer.
Why do you continue to be a long-time SF Bicycle Coalition supporter?
There is so much more work to do, including many more Connecting the City routes. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition staff and volunteers are out there full-time and beyond, dedicated to making our lives more joyful. They’re heroes and deserve our thanks and support.