Catching up with Carla, a Gal with Gears

Carla Stern is an SF Bicycle Coalition Member and active part of Gals with Gears, a member-led bicycling group started for women over 50. Having bicycled in the city since the mid-70’s, Carla has used her bike for transportation around San Francisco and for adventure, exploring much of the Bay Area on her own two wheels. 

SF Bicycle Coalition: How did you start biking in the Bay Area?
Carla: There was a bus strike around 1975 that first got me riding in SF, but I didn’t stick with it after the strike was settled. It wasn’t until 2012 I started relying on a bike to get around town.

How has bicycling changed the way you interact with the city?
I feel safe on my bicycle, and enjoy the freedom to explore. With a bike, I just get up and go. Rain? I have gear. Dark? I’ve have great lights. Traffic? There are loads of bike lanes, and I follow the rules of the road so I feel okay.

What prompted you to become a member of the SF Bicycle Coalition?
Bike lanes. I wouldn’t have attempted a bike commute without the lanes on Valencia, Folsom and Howard Streets. The bike lanes wouldn’t be there without the SF Bicycle Coalition.

What are some changes that you’d like to see for people biking in San Francisco?
I’d like to see more bike lanes, and regular updates to the “Bike/Walk” paper maps.

What has been your favorite Gals with Gears experience?
Joining up with Lenore and Maggie (founders of Gals with Gears) when they were beginning the Gals in 2013 was the start of a great friendship. Bicycling is an adventure, so the fabulous experience is ongoing. My first trip to Tiburon is a personal favorite. That’s when I decided I had the capacity to do more than a casual ride and a three-mile commute. I kept venturing a little further with each ride, getting more practice, learning skills and can now tackle over 60-mile rides. I’ve done two metric centuries, been to Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, up and down the Oakland & Berkeley Hills (and the flats), Crockett, Benicia, Tiburon, Pt. Reyes and beyond. Riding in France last summer was fun too, and that plan got hatched while I was on a Gals ride!

Meet Carla and the other fabulous riders of Gals with Gears on one of their upcoming rides. Want to find out more about the Gals? Join us for any of our Women Bike SF events!

Become a member and you'll improve your commute and get discounts at shops across the city.