By Whitney Ericson
“Overcoming my fear of biking in the streets, going for long rides, biking downhill — these all have been barriers to urban biking for me. Taking classes through the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has helped me overcome some, if not all, of these barriers,” says Radhika Modi, a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member and an enthusiastic student at various Bike Education classes.
In the last 8 months, Radhika and her husband, Dilip, have dived into urban biking and have attended, respectively, seven and eight of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s free bike education workshops and recreational rides. But Radhika and Dilip were not always avid urban bicyclists. They only recently discovered the joy of biking in the Bay Area despite living here for decades.
Dilip first learned of the SF Bicycle Coalition’s education program when searching the internet for beginner bike classes. They first attended the Traffic Skills 101: Classroom workshop, a two-hour course covering all the basics of riding comfortably and safely in the city. Then they attended the Traffic Skills 101: On-Road workshop, an on-bicycle class, which eases students from the classroom to practicing in a car-free area, before moving onto city streets.
“I think the 101 classes were some of the best classes I have taken. They have given me needed confidence to ride. I have come a long way,” Radhika says. “It’s impressive to see how the instructors take an interest in making us better.” Dilip similarly credits these bike education classes to their exploration of the city by bike. “Taking the classes has increased our confidence to ride in the city. Without these classes and group rides, we would never imagine riding a bicycle in San Francisco,” Dilip says.
“Bicycling provides exercise for the body and mind,” Dilip enthuses. “ Exploring the city’s many scenic routes is not possible if one drives around, so we do not use a car on the weekends and instead use bicycles as much as possible. Driving to a restaurant is a chore, but biking to the restaurant is a fun adventure.”
Like most of the Bike Education classes offered by your SF Bicycle Coalition, classes such as the Traffic Skills 101 sequence and Adult Learn to Ride are funded by the SFMTA and the SF County Transportation Authority, through a grant of Prop K funds. This funding allows San Francisco residents like Dilip and Radhika to ride our streets more safely and confidently.
Like many Bay Area residents who love exploring the city by bike, Dilip and Radhika hope to see city-wide changes to make urban biking in San Francisco safer and more accessible. Dilip voices some of their concerns: “Even though we both know and understand safety rules for urban biking, I want there to be mandatory classes for all people who drive — including Uber and Lyft — more protected bike lanes, and improvements to Google maps to show less hilly, bike-friendly roads.” As active San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members, Radhika and Dilip are supporting all of these initiatives to make them a reality.
Thank you Radhika and Dilip for your involvement in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s work. We look forward to next riding with you both!
If you want to know when and where all upcoming Bike Ed classes will be, sign up for our Bike Ed Newsletter by clicking here, and then clicking “GET CLASS UPDATES”.