UPDATE, APRIL 3, 2017: The deadline to register your kids’ schools for Bike & Roll to School Week is extended. Register today to see your kids and their classmates celebrated for biking and otherwise rolling to school later this month!
We’re gearing up for Bike & Roll to School Week the week of April 17-21, and so are biking parent Joel Murach and his two kids. Learn more how biking to school is a great way to start the day and sign up your school before April 1.
SF Bicycle Coalition: When did you start biking in San Francisco and how were things back then?
Joel: I started biking in San Francisco back in mid-1990s. Back then, there weren’t many bike lanes or marked bike routes. It was a little more dangerous, and there were not nearly as many people biking. So people driving weren’t as used to seeing bikes on the streets, which also made it a little more dangerous. Still, biking was a great way to get around the city.
There weren’t any bike racks on the streets back then, but since there weren’t many people biking, there was almost always a parking meter or street sign that you could lock your bike to right in front of your destination.
How has biking played a role in your family’s ability to continue living in San Francisco?
I think we would still be able to live in San Francisco even if we didn’t bike everywhere, but it wouldn’t be nearly as pleasant. These days, I dread getting in the car. Traffic is often bad, and it’s usually hard to park. On our bikes, we breeze past traffic jams and can usually park (lock up) right in front of our destination.
How did you start riding your kids to school?
My wife used to ride my son to preschool on a trailer behind her bike. Then, a few years ago, we decided to have him ride his bike to kindergarten. Back then, he still had training wheels, so we would ride slowly with him riding on the sidewalk. He seemed to like it, and it was usually a nice way to start the day.
These days, I ride with my son, who is in third grade now, and I have my 3-year-old daughter in a bike seat behind me so I can take her to preschool. For the most part, they both seem to enjoy being outside and feeling the wind in their hair. I feel like it calms them both down. On the way home, we have to go up a big hill. My son often complains, but I think it’s a great exercise for him and I’m proud of him for being able to ride up that hill.
What advice would you give to a parent interested in biking their kids to school?
I would say to give it a try. It’s easier than you would think and a really nice way to start the day. Take it slow and figure out an approach that works for you. Once you do it a few times, a pattern emerges. After that, a habit may form — a good habit!
Celebrate healthy and fun ways to go to school by participating in San Francisco’s Bike & Roll to School Week. Register your child’s school before the deadline on April 1 and have fun!