From Two Feet to Two Wheels

For the majority of his life, Christopher didn’t know how to ride a bike. Two years ago, everything changed when he signed up for our free Adult Learn to Ride class. Now, SF Bicycle Coalition member Christopher enjoys bicycling in San Francisco and beyond. Read on to learn why he signed up for our class and where he rides now.

SF Bicycle Coalition: Why did you decide to take Adult Learn to Ride?
Christopher: Due to growing up in a dangerous neighborhood and coming from a poorer family, I never learned to ride a bike. I always felt embarrassed and left out as an adult when friends wanted to do bike-related activities. As a new-ish San Francisco transplant, I wanted to take advantage of living a life that allowed for more outdoor social activities, and was also influenced by the “you can do it” mentality this city offers. In a season of overcoming my fears, I decided I wanted to learn to ride. I wanted to have a skill that is useful in many areas of life and that opens doors not only to social circles but to everyday life tasks.

I specifically looked for an adult learner’s course when it came to learning how to ride a bike. The idea of learning as an adult was scary enough, and having to do it in a class aimed for kids was not helpful to my self-esteem or ability to learn.

Have your biking habits changed since taking the class?
Before taking the Adult Learn to Ride class through the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, I was both terrified and embarrassed to get on a bike. I did not know how to ride – end of story. Since taking the class, and several of the Practice Rides (with Juli) I have felt confident enough to ride solo and with friends. I have been on rides at Sunday Streets, with out-of-town friends, when I travel to other cities, and I even participated in Bike to Worship week with my church (Mission Bay Community Church) last spring. I don’t own a bike, so I don’t get out as often as I would like. Still, it’s so easy to rent a bike here that when the opportunity to ride appears, I take it.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to say that I am so incredibly appreciative of the instructors of the course who treated us all with dignity and respect, understanding our fears, and giving us insightful (and calm) instruction. Most of my fellow classmates passed the course that very day, and I firmly believe it was due to the positive environment that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition created for us.

Want to help others like Christopher experience the joys of riding a bike? Join or renew your membership to support our work, including free classes like this one. Interested in taking our Adult Learn to Ride class or joining on one of our Practice Rides? Check out our schedule for upcoming events!

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