“I learned to ride out of necessity,” SF Bicycle Coalition member Wei-min Wang said. “I had signed my six-year-old up for bike camp in the summer, and I figured I would be no match for him if I had to chase him around on foot.”
Before 2015, Wei-min’s only experience biking was as a child, riding around his basement on a bike with training wheels that he never removed.
“Honestly, it felt like quite an accomplishment and long overdue,” Wei-min told your SF Bicycle Coalition staff. “It seems like everyone knows how to ride a bike, but it took me more than 40 years to get around to it. I grew up in San Francisco, and neither of my parents knew how to ride, so I didn’t have any teachers.”
Until last year, that is, when Wei-min took learning to bike into his own hands.
“I searched online for a class and was pleased to learn about the SF Bicycle Coalition’s free Adult Learn to Ride classes,” Wei-min said. “Then, in addition to the Learn to Ride class, I also took the Intro to Urban Bicycling workshop.”
Now, Wei-min is more than just someone who knows how to bike. He supports our advocacy and education efforts as a member and bikes regularly. Wei-min told us that he logged over 2,000 miles in the saddle in the past year.
“I ride three-to-four times a week on average. It’s mostly for fitness and mental health, but I’ve biked to work a few times, used my bike to run errands and even taken my four-year-old to school once by bike,” Wei-min said. “She’s been bugging me to do that again.”
Embracing biking has changed how Wei-min thinks about navigating his hometown.
“I’d say the best parts are the freedom of movement and the fresh air,” Wei-min said. “You can get places fast, but you can also take your time and enjoy how beautiful the city is without the stress of traffic jams or being cooped up behind the wheel.”
Thinking back on his experience in the Adult Learn to Ride Class, Wei-min recalls how his instructors quickly put the class at ease.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the wide age range of the students and felt right at home,” Wei-min said. “The instructors knew their stuff and made it easy to learn. They were confident that we’d all be riding within two-to-three hours and they were right.”
Now Wei-min is an evangelist for biking, encouraging others who – like him – never learned to ride in childhood:
“Go for it. It’s fun, it’s good for your health and great for the environment. The network of bike routes around town is extensive and getting better each year. So getting around is easy.
“Yes, there are hills,” Wei-min acknowledged, “but those, too, get easier with practice.”
Wei-min is an inspiring example of how it’s never too late to learn to bike. If there’s someone in your life who could use a little support and encouragement to get rolling, please let them know that we are here to help. Details about our free bicycle education classes are available at sfbike.org/edu.
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