Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 156 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine,one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. This story was written by Mara Mabugat.
Some people might consider hauling two kids from the Castro to schools in the Haight and Outer Sunset daily a chore. Not so for Nori Yatsunami Tong.
“I feel less stressed — no finding parking. There’s freedom of movement. You’re not restricted,” Nori said. “There is more meeting other people.”
Nori Yatsunami Tong moved to San Francisco back in 2008 and has been riding a bike here since 2010. Born and raised in Tokyo, she brings that perspective to biking around SF.
“Biking is the norm there,” Nori said. “It’s how people get around. It’s what moms do.”
When Nori first started biking her children to school, however, there was a bit of an adjustment period.
“Before, I had one child in a seat on the bike, but I could only ride with one child at a time. It was even getting harder with one kid,” Nori said of her experience biking with growing children with her old family biking gear.
“It all changed when I got a longtail family bike last year when my son was in kindergarten. I saw others at the school with the longtail bike with electric pedal-assist,” Nori said. “It’s a game changer.”
Now Nori’s family gets to experience the joys of biking in the city together.
“We often overtake neighbors and friends driving to school and wave at them,” Nori said. “It’s a game for us. They may catch up, then we get ahead again, then they pass.”
Especially as a parent, Nori understands the importance of having safer, stronger biking infrastructure. Well-versed in the City’s bike routes, Nori only rides with her family in the bike lanes and is hopeful about a future SF where bike lanes criss-cross the entire city.
“I see them improving every year,” said Nori.
Positive that others will enjoy it as much as she does, Nori encourages other families to try riding together.
“Try it and you’ll like it!,” she assured.
Nori and her family are a brilliant example that biking to school can be convenient and fun, and the bike lanes are a welcoming place for all ages and backgrounds. Want to get your family rolling? Check out sfbike.org/family for family biking workshops, guides and more.
The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.