Bike to Worship Like the Hellands May 24-31

Bike to Worship Week is an interfaith community event led by SF Bicycle Coalition member-volunteers of all different faiths in partnership with the San Francisco Interfaith Council and California Interfaith Power and Light.

From May 24-31, various congregations will raise visibility of biking to worship (and elsewhere!) while making our communities safer and more pleasant places to live.

Here’s the perspective of Allana Hellan, pictured above, on why she and her family observe this annual holiday for people riding to worship:

Bike to Worship offered our family a new perspective
We bike regularly as a family, but we almost always go to the same places and follow the same routes. We have a well-beaten path to the market, to work, and to the playground. Biking to church is not a normal part of our Sunday. So our son loved riding through Civic Center and seeing new sights. (I should qualify what I mean by “new sights,” as we pass through Civic Center frequently.)

In Muni or a car, you don’t have the same feeling of the grandeur of the space. City Hall seems even bigger and brighter when you are passing by on a bike. Grand views, fresh air, and a family bike ride was a lovely way to prepare our hearts for church.

Bike to Worship challenged us to try something new, and it gave us a time and date on our calendar to do it. “We really should try biking to church some time” went from being a casual thought to a reality because of Bike to Worship.


How St. Mark’s shares the event
At St. Mark’s, we promote the event with regular announcements through the various communication channels at church. This includes weekly emails, a quarterly newsletter, live announcements following the sermon, the printed bulletin, our Facebook page, and more. For any church initiative, it really helps to have a champion. One person can promote the event, make sure the message is seeded in all the various sources, and round up supporters. My husband played this role last year for Bike to Worship.

My favorite way to get traction for the event is simply talking about it at our church coffee hour. You can always find me in the church basement chatting with fellow parishioners between services. So I had ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing covered for this event.

We are an urban church in the heart of the city. Interfaith community events are an important part of how our church connects to our unique location. We are involved in the Interfaith Food Pantry at Old First, the Interfaith Winter Homeless Shelter, and other San Francisco Interfaith Council events. Bike to Worship is creative way to involve our congregation in an interfaith community event.

What we love about the SF Bicycle Coalition
Urban biking can be a challenge, and that is especially true when biking with kids. In the past few years, we have seen so many improvements in the routes we frequent, from dedicated bike lanes, to new paint, and more. We were pleased to discover that our route to and from church was really easy thanks to upgrades in the bike lanes.

The SF Bicycle Coalition supported our Bike to Worship event with a helpful toolkit of resources. We had a table with hand-outs for people on bikes, and everyone who participated was part of a SF Bicycle Coalition sponsored raffle. It was a lot of fun.

Overall we loved the event. The best part was probably the ride home, since it was an easy breezy downhill ride most of the way.


Allana Helland is a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. She’s a mother of two who bikes (in heels and a skirt) to daycare, to work, and sometimes to church. In her free time she loves to do craft projects with her kids and throw dinner parties for her friends.

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