Bike to Wherever Day is coming up on May 16, and every year we highlight a member of our community that embodies the joy of biking and helps make their community better for biking. Meet Peter Belden, SF Bike member and our 2024 Bike Champion of the Year. Read more about Peter’s bike journey and how he’s helping make SF more bike-friendly for everyone.

1. Tell us about yourself and how biking is part of your life here in the Bay.

I had never ridden a bike in SF before 2019 because I was too scared of getting hit by a car. Then during a family trip to Copenhagen I finally experienced how wonderful it is to bike around for everyday transportation. It’s fun. It’s healthy. It’s better for the planet and you get to experience the city and see things you’d normally miss. So when I returned home, I took a SF Bike class on urban riding and went out to explore. I found that although there were some routes, particularly in SOMA, that felt safe, there were too many gaps in the bike network. I knew I wanted to help make a difference there. Now I bike for everyday transportation, but advocating for better biking infrastructure is an even bigger part of my life. 

2. What does bike joy mean to you?

Bike joy to me is when I am riding on one of those precious few places in SF where the biking infrastructure is truly safe and carefree like Car Free JFK, the Great Highway Park and the concrete protected bike lanes on the Embarcadero. There is a sense of relief, fun, and ease. And of course, bike buses and all the fun I’ve had organizing them with Luke Bornheimer, Molly Hayden, Deep Jawa and Charlotte Mooney. It’s hard to beat the joy of riding through SF with music, bubbles and dozens of kids riding to school. 

3. How do you help make your community a better place to bike?

I ride on 17th St in Potrero Hill almost every day, including going to and from the gym with my kids. 17th St is the main east-west route on a bike and it’s a critical connection. The bike lanes on 17th are unprotected painted lanes. We started advocating for a physical separation that prevents cars from entering the bike lane and with lots of help from another volunteer, Kieran Farr, created We did outreach to people using the bike lanes, through the local neighborhood associations. We quickly grew to about a dozen engaged volunteers plus several hundred supporters. We also coordinated with other organizations including the SF Bike Coalition, KidSafeSF, the Sierra Club and more. Ultimately we convinced SFMTA to formally approve a safer design for the bike lanes which will be installed by the end of spring, and we want to make the design even better – we’re still concerned about the lack of protected intersections and will continue to advocate for those

Following this success, our current focus is for Safer Illinois Street. Myself and another SF Bike member, Donovan Lacy have been helping member Kate Blumberg, who is leading Safer Illinois. We’ve been talking to merchants, creating materials, distributing posters and doing other outreach to decision makers. 

4. What advice do you have for people who want to get involved in making our streets better for biking?

Reach out to someone who is involved. That way they can loop you into an existing campaign and share lessons learned. It really is true that an organized group of just a few people can really change things. That’s how we made Safer 17th happen and you can do something similar in your neighborhood. I also encourage everyone to get involved with their local neighborhood association. Neighborhood associations in SF have outsized influence and we need that influence to be in support of biking. 

Want to reach out to Peter and get involved with neighborhood street advocacy? Email him at

Get ready for Bike to Wherever Day with us – check out this year’s energizer stations, pledge to ride, and stay tuned for more info on group rides!

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