When Sarah Kelly was in preschool, she was already biking through downtown San Francisco — in a helmet and baby sling. Her dad, John, would bike through the city streets with her strapped to his chest.
John and his wife Shaheerah moved to San Francisco in 2002 and immediately got involved in the biking community. When their youngest daughter Charlotte was born, the Kelly family moved to the Sunset and found themselves relying on cramped buses with their two young children. Navigating crowded buses to get Sarah and Charlotte to school was often stressful for John. “I decided to gear up,” he recalls, “and start taking them to school on bikes.”
Shaheerah first learned how to ride a bike to take the kids to school with John. “Now that the kids are big and I don’t really need to be with them, I still ride my bike everyday to work,” she says.“It has just become part of my life now.”
Sarah, now a freshman in high school, loves the fresh air on her morning rides and arriving faster than she would by bus or car. Charlotte, a seventh grader, adds, “I feel free, like I can go anywhere. I can improvise my path to school.”
Sarah and Charlotte’s favorite part of their commute is riding through Golden Gate Park. Their dad agrees “[The park] looks so different from day to day, at different times of day and different seasons,” John says. “It is a great place to ride through on the weekends, especially just to see all the things that are going on.”
Biking is more than an easy commute for the Kelly family. It’s a way to stay healthy and do things together. Shaheerah says, “Biking helps us get out and stay active.”
Bike & Roll to School Week is April 15-19. Take the pledge to ride!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the spring issue of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Not a member? Join today.