A real biking smile Photo: Youth Mountain Biking Adventures
Cheryl with husband, Adam Photo: Youth Mountain Bike Adventures
Cheryl with one of the kids from Youth Mountain Biking Adventures
Women Who Bike is a collaborative effort by BIKE NOPA and Bikes And The City that features San Francisco women and their bikes. Each Monday and Wednesday check both blogs for the experiences, stories, and ideas that women who bike the city want to share with you. Today's profile features a woman who bikes in Berkeley and the East Bay.
When did you start biking?
I lived in San Francisco as a pre-schooler and grew up in Kentfield in Marin. I got my first bike on Christmas when I was six, and I lost my front teeth in a crash flipping over my handlebars. After First Grade, I rode my bike the mile to school and back. Later, I convinced my parents to buy me one of the first production mountain bikes when I was in high school because the brakes were so much better that I could ride safely in the rain (so they wouldn't have to drive me). My parents even ended up getting bikes for themselves!
How much is bicycling part of your life now?
I have always commuted by public transportation, biking and walking. I don't have a car, although my husband has a light truck. He is the one who got me back out on the trails. He's a long-time wrench like my friend Aurelia's* sweetie. We both love camping and have done it with our bikes as well. My husband, Adam, and I are also involved with a great group, the Youth Mountain Bike Adventures.
You live in Berkeley. Do you bike in San Francisco much?
I do bike in San Francisco, but not that often because I've never worked further than a 40 minute walk from transit so it was almost never worth the bike-on-BART hassle. But one of my favorite routes is to ride along the shore from the Ferry Building through Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason, the Presidio, and then out to the Golden Gate Bridge. I suggest that route to out-of-towners. For myself, I like turning south from the Presidio to ride past the beaches and the Cliff House and then to turn into Golden Gate Park.
How is biking in Berkeley?
San Francisco has more things to see and do than Berkeley, but Berkeley has a greater number of bike lanes for its size than anywhere I've ever lived. While my street is not a bike lane, the parallel streets on either side of us are and so is one of the cross streets. I've seen an incredible number of parents biking their kids to school in trailers and tag-along bikes. The number of commuters has also increased. The best thing though is the number of parents riding with children on the weekends on the (flat) Ohlone and bayside trails. For the intrepid, Wildcat Canyon has great riding on roads and trails.
What's difficult about biking in Berkeley?
Unlike San Francisco, there are no real sources of rental bikes so I think all the tourists are only here from a short distance away. Berkeley has almost no exposed railroad or streetcar tracks, so that eliminates one danger. We do have some incredibly steep hills, but at least most of those are residential. Ashby Street, aka Highway 13, is probably the nastiest street to ride.
Any tips for cyclists on either side of the Bay?
I've found that having streamers on my bike causes drivers to give me more room on the road.
* Cheryl's good friend Aurelia d'Andrea was profiled earlier in this series.
Check here for previous posts in this series and stop by Bikes And The City every Monday and Wednesday for even more Women Who Bike.