You might have already seen Fennel Doyle riding around with her family at Sunday Streets all across the city. Fennel has been volunteering for the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Test Ride a Family Bike program for the past two years, showing off our demo family bike with her son, Fabricio (our youngest Bicycle Ambassador!) We chatted with Fennel to see how she got started volunteering with us and what she loves most about it.
SF Bicycle Coalition: You’ve been volunteering with the SF Bicycle Coalition since 2014. What motivated you to start volunteering?
Fennel: In 2011, I was hit by a reckless car driver on Fulton Street when I was riding my motorcycle. I was lucky I only broke both my legs and was able to recover and be fully functional again. This incident made it clear to me how much blood is unnecessarily spilled on the streets of San Francisco. I felt compelled to do more to make our streets flat-out safe for people walking and biking, especially kids. I decided to focus my energy on #VisionZero initiatives, and share my life-long love of riding bikes, as a civic duty.
I have been a bike commuter and recreational rider in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Providence and Sitka, Alaska. My furthest commute has been SF to Palo Alto. Biking is a part of my livelihood.
I love encouraging young people to get themselves moving on wheels, and see pure clean fun light up their eyes with joy when they play with balance. Volunteering with my three-year-old son, Fabricio “Sweet Cheeks” Souza Doyle, is super fun.
What has been your favorite volunteer moment?
It’s a toss up.
Vivid Memory #1: Cruising around on a family e-bike with Fabricio along Great Highway for Sunday Streets, with the sound of Ocean Beach waves crashing and distant mountains in view.
Vivid Memory #2: Looping around rhythmically to a local booming Brazilian band on the family e-bike with my son’s nine-year-old sister on the back of the bike, during a spectacular Mission Sunday Streets. We were interweaving bike paths with my baby daddy and Fabricio riding on another family e-bike. It was utterly delightful!
You’ve volunteered at Sunday Streets events all over town. What keeps you coming back to volunteer with Test Ride a Family Bike?
We have such a blast flying about the festivities on the family e-bike. It gives us a chance to effortlessly see the whole event, take stops to explore a tent, discover treats of a neighborhood that is typically out of our daily routine and serendipitously run into a buddy. Fabricio enjoys how he and I wear matching SF Bicycle Coalition volunteer shirts, too.
What do you do when you’re not donating your time to the SF Bicycle Coalition?
I am starting my own small business, emcaso, which is a tool for parents who have kids under five years old.
I also run, dance, take deep-water aerobic classes, wander SF Botanical Gardens, stare at Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers in the Cal Academy of Science, catch live music, dream of Boba Guys being closer to my home, admire the gardening club activities at Kipp High School Garden, listen for bird calls, water the New Liberation Community Garden, play with my son, make smoothies with Divisadero Farmer’s Market finds and take siestas.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with Test Ride a Family Bike?
Don’t even think about it. The SF Bicycle Coalition family e-bike is mine. *wink* Nah! Just try. “Give it a go!” as they say in Australia.
I feel as though I should be paying the SF Bicycle Coalition to ride the family e-bike! Volunteering to showcase the bike is absolutely one of the best family- and wallet-friendly thrills west of the Mississippi. Plus, it’s easy and gives you a mini workout while spending quality time with your li’l one outdoors. Church of two!
Interested in volunteering for our Family Bike Gear Demo like Fennel and Fabricio? Check out these upcoming Family Biking Volunteer opportunities today.