Image by Meli of Bikes And The City
Jason and Phoebe tooling around the park Photo: Jason Beers
Photo: Jason Beers
Trying out the wheels Photo: Jason Beers
Jason Beers and his wife, Jane Catherine Zimmerman, are active with Nopa Little Ones, a playgroup for neighborhood families with children newborn to five years old. Say hello to Jason and Phoebe if you see them on the way to school or in the park.
When did you start biking with Phoebe?
She was 15 months old.
How often do you bike with her now and where are favorite rides for you both?
Once a day to school and some weekends to Golden Gate Park. Our favorites are the park, Crissy Field, and anywhere ice cream is served.
How did you start biking with Phoebe?
When she was small, we used a front-of-the bike seat. By the time she was 3 we moved to a seat on the back of the bike as that fits a bigger kid well. She's really getting into the balance bike now too at 3 and a half.
What’s the best thing about biking together?
Using the front seat, she would chat up a storm with me. I put on handlebar extensions so that we'd each have a place to hold onto. We could talk about everything we saw, and I could even hear her. Now she still talks about everything, but she's in the back so there's a lot of "huh"!
What do you say to relatives or friends who think our city streets aren't safe for kids to bike?
You have to pick and choose your streets, but there are a lot to choose from.
What makes a street OK for you and your daughter to bike?
Not having to compete for pavement space with the cars. Bike lanes, low traffic streets, closeout of streets like in Golden Gate Park. When there are cars on the street, I bike cautiously and signal my intentions clearly.
How difficult is it getting kids ready for trips if you’re traveling by bike?
Bike riding is a treat and treats are an incentive for the little mind. Getting the helmet on is the main obstacle, but at least they're *slightly* easier than when I was a kid.
How often do you bike on your own?
I bike every day to work -- a 20 minute commute to the financial district -- and to run errands. I used to ride a lot for pleasure back when I had free time. Now I get pleasure from riding while I do chores.
Any advice for dads who are thinking about biking on their own or with their kids?
Try it - start with a manageable route. Consider a forward mount seat when they're young like the ibert (bright green seat, not to be confused with qbert - the scratcher you may have seen back when you had free time).
BIKE NOPA and Bikes And The City: every Tuesday, more Dads on Wheels.
For previous posts in the Dads on Wheels series, check here.
Dads, moms, kids: save the date. Sunday, September 19th, 10 am to 3pm, Sunday Streets travels through NOPA and the Western Addition. YBIKE will host a kids' bike rodeo for practicing the best street maneuvers and the SF Bicycle Coalition will lay out its popular Freedom from Training Wheels course -- both on Grove at Baker. Nearby on the Sunday Streets route, members of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church will set up kids' games, face painting, and prizes.