In her early-30s, after eight failed knee surgeries, Maggie Chestney could no longer walk or do basic chores without excruciating pain filling her eyes with tears. Today, after moving cross-country for a meniscus transplant from a world-renowned specialist, Maggie is San Francisco’s 2018 Bike Commuter of the Year.
The fact that Maggie is even biking today proved some of the world’s greatest orthopedic surgeons wrong.
“Not only was this physically damaging to me, but the situation destroyed me mentally and emotionally,” Maggie told us. “My knee impeded every single aspect of my life.”
Now Maggie bike-commutes two or three days weekly to work with the surgeon who believed in her. After her ultimately successful surgery, Dr. Kevin Stone brought Maggie on as an Assistant Surgical Coordinator at the Stone Clinic in the Marina, where she now works alongside the team that miraculously saved her knee and helped restore her active lifestyle.
“To me, biking is my own form of freedom, and it’s a gift that has revived my entire being,” Maggie said. “I was afraid I had forever lost my cherished moments of physical fitness and the pleasure I would feel and experience after a hard-days workout.”
With the one-year anniversary since her last knee surgery this August, Maggie says that she aims to make her commute by bike every day of the week. After years of suffering, she says that every time she pedals through the streets of San Francisco, she feels alive. One of her favorite places to bike is up (yes, up!) the Fort Mason hill to see the gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay.
Although Maggie is a new SF Bicycle Coalition member, she jumped right in and is a regular volunteer with the Bike it Forwards program, repairing bicycles for distribution to those who would otherwise not have access to bikes.
“As a bike commuter in San Francisco, you are guaranteed rights and protection on the road that is reinforced by the law, and organizations like the SF Bicycle Coalition work hard to maintain and strengthen these rights for the public,” Maggie said. “Biking throughout San Francisco gives you the chance to explore the city’s many historic neighborhoods and vibrant cultures through a unique lens; a lens that allows you to be more present in your surroundings, as opposed to zipping through the streets by car, or getting stuck in onerous bumper-to-bumper traffic that restricts you from experiencing the beauty of San Francisco.”
After everything that’s brought Maggie to where she is today, as an active bike-commuter and SF Bicycle Coalition member, we are so honored to have her as part of our community and share her story with you. Want to hear from Maggie in person? She’s joining us at our City Hall rally on May 10 for Bike to Work Day. Join us on the Polk Street steps before work at 8:30 am or ride there with the Commuter Convoy rolling out from your neighborhood.