Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2 Adults, 2 Kids, 10 Bikes: A San Francisco Bicycling Family

Another retrieval from BIKE NOPA's early months: this post from September 2009. Last week I had the chance to chat with Sarah Crockett outside Pacific Primary School. I remember how much I enjoyed meeting her family and organizing with her NOPA's BIKE THE BLOCK party a year ago. Her family had a great biking-in-the-city story then; they still do.

Most days Sarah Crockett bikes her two-year-old son, Eben, to and from school.

It’s two of her favorite times of the day. “I love Eben on the front, we can talk and he signals with me. It’s really neat having him there with me; it’s part of the bike ride.” Sarah says Eben has taken to the ride every bit as much. “He loves getting on the bike; he calls it ‘our bike,’ and he rides in a “wee ride” front seat.” In between school trips, Sarah teaches at the Urban School.

Sandy Crockett commutes by bike for his job as an attorney with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District office in the Civic Center. “My first instinct is to go everywhere by bike,” he says. When they need to use the car, Sarah is the one to drive. She adds, “He resists driving so much that he refers to the car as “your car.”

Last school year Sandy and Sarah, with Eben in the front bike seat, accompanied their other son, five and a half year old Andrew, on his ride to Pacific Primary school in NOPA. He’s been riding his own bike since he was four. This year Andrew attends Friends School on Valencia Street, and the Crocketts have yet to settle on an easy way to bike there. “It’s significantly further away from home,” Sarah explains, “and the ride involves the Wiggle and dealing with Fell Street as well as more intersections and an uphill ride on the way back. Andrew is still riding his little one-speed so it’s a challenge.” For now, they take Andrew on Muni to get to school. But their oldest son loves biking and he’s now racing and doing bike tricks.

Bicycling defines the Crockett family, as much as any one pursuit reflects engaged, complicated lives in San Francisco. When Sandy and Sarah moved to San Francisco nine years ago, they looked for a home on a level street in a central neighborhood. And they searched by bike. “I drove across the country from Washington, D.C. for the move,” Sarah recalls. “Sandy was already here. I arrived on a Friday night, and Saturday morning we rode all over the city to find a place to live. Being on a bike and looking for a home that way made us think about what we needed.” They found their home in Cole Valley.

Sarah and Sandy mention that other parents sometimes question them about biking or riding with their young children. “We sometimes get off-hand comments like they wouldn’t want to do it because of safety or their kids are too lazy, but mostly we get lots of positive comments,” Sarah says. “Some people have a mindset that biking is a dangerous activity,” Sandy adds, “but I don’t worry about biking with the kids any more than I worry when we’re in a car on the freeway.”

The one place where Sarah worries about biking is the Panhandle Path, the relatively narrow, paved lane that becomes more risky when roadie cyclists use it for racing. “Riding with Andrew along the Panhandle has been the scariest thing,” Sarah says.

Although Sarah claims that Sandy is the more avid cyclist, he refers to her 1800 mile bike ride across West Africa in 1998 with three Peace Corp friends. She had mentioned that epic trip through Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Ghana earlier as a ride not much more remarkable than a vigorous spin to Ocean Beach. “It got me biking,” she explained.

And the ten bikes for the Crockett household? Sarah’s new Jamis Aurora touring bike, her old Bianchi mountain bike, and a “sleek little Miata road bike”; Sandy’s Univega road bike, an old mountain bike, and his unicycle; Andrew’s two tricycles,his one-speed and a trail-a-bike. Add Eben’s front bike seat and there’s eleven.

Look for Sarah and Sandy, Andrew and Eben this Sunday at NOPA’s BIKE THE BLOCK party. They’ll be sharing tips about travelling with kids and showing their trailers and front kid seat. Maybe Andrew will do a few bike tricks.

No comments:

Post a Comment