Tracy Weiss is an SF Bicycle Coalition member-volunteer, an active participant in Women Bike SF and also runs the Women, Trans* and Femme (WTF) Night at the SF Bike Kitchen. Want to find out how she does it all? We caught up with her recently to find out.
SF Bicycle Coalition: How did you first start biking in San Francisco?
Tracy: When I first moved to San Francisco in 2000, I was so happy to be free of owning and driving a car. I was so amazed at the accessibility of public transit here compared to Cleveland, where I moved from. After a few years of living here, I got tired of how long it took to get places by bus or walking. A friend from work had a bike she never rode and was willing to trade it for my sewing skills, so I made her a custom bag and she gave me her Bianchi bike. We were both pretty happy with that trade.
Biking gave me freedom: I no longer had to rely on the public transit schedules, I could leave whenever I wanted to and I could actually attend multiple events in different parts of the city in one night!
What prompted you to become a member of the SF Bicycle Coalition?
I first joined on Bike to Work Day in 2009. After that introduction to the SF Bicycle Coalition, I saw just how hard the staff works at representing people biking to our City government, making sure we’re seen as a valued part of the community that deserves to be safe. Now I volunteer at different SF Bicycle Coalition events. You meet some great people volunteering for the SF Bicycle Coalition.
(Want to become a member like Tracy? Join today!)
What has been your favorite Women Bike SF experience?
I really enjoyed the recent Women Biking and the Law event, in which lawyer Shaana Rahman went over the laws for people biking and driving, what type of crashes are most common between cars and bikes (right hooks being the most common), what to do if you’re in a crash and what steps to take the following days after a collision. Also, if you are not injured in the crash (or no ambulance has been called), the police won’t come to the scene. You have to go to the police station to file your report.
Shaana also went over the rise in ridership among women due to the increase of protected bike lanes. Women are often more sensitive to the safety of the experience and are more willing to go out of their way to ride on a street with the protected lane compared to other streets. Overall, it was a great talk, and I’d love to see it given again.
Tell us about the Bike Kitchen and your WTF program.
The San Francisco Bike Kitchen is a non-profit shop that teaches people how to fix their bikes. The easiest way to become part of it is to drop by during our open hours and work on your bike.
Our Women/Trans*/Femme (WTF) night happens every second and fourth Monday of the month from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. This night offers a safe and supportive atmosphere for WTF folks to work on their bikes and learn from our WTF staff and volunteers. We often offer mini-classes on different common bike fixes, such as changing and patching a flat, adjusting your shifters or changing your brake pads. Alternatively, you can just come by and ask us how to perform a fix. Bike Kitchen’s goal is to empower you through teaching you how to fix your bike and our hope is you will take what you learn and pass it on to others. WTF night provides a safe space for what is usually a cis-male dominated field. You can learn more about WTF night here or join our meetup group for the most updated WTF events. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions about our WTF night.
Also, The Bike Kitchen is a “do-ocracy”, run completely by volunteers. We always need more dedicated volunteers and staff (especially for our WTF night) to help keep the kitchen running and open. If you want to get involved, just mention that you want to volunteer, or email us if you have a specific skillset you’d like to volunteer.