Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dads on Wheels: James Munden, "Enjoy It While It Lasts"

Image: Meli of Bikes And The City

James Munden with Olive wearing her new green helmet!

A spin through NOPA on Fulton Street

One of the great things about biking in the neighborhood is how easily you can meet others and find fewer "degrees of separation" than you might expect. That happened for me when I met James Munden and his daughter Olive one morning while they were out for a ride. We chatted long enough to talk about this Dads on Wheels series. Later I learned that James had just started a new job with a good friend of mine who lives two blocks away.

How did you get started biking with Olive?
First of all, Bike or no bike, Olive loves wearing her new green bike helmet.

Up until a few months ago, Olive and I walked everywhere. We managed to purchase a second hand I-bert; a seat located between you and the handlebars, on C
raigslist. Not that we have biked many times (yet), but I find that our bike excursions are unique to us and a real bonding experience. It's an opportunity to spend personal time with my daughter. As it only happens once in their life time and yours – it makes me realize writing these words, ‘I need to get out on the bike with Olive more than I do’.

When did you start biking with her?
Olive and I have been biking since she was 19 months old.

How often do you bike with Olive?
We bike at least once a week, on Fridays or the weekend. Up until recently, I did not have a California drivers license so being able to cycle with Olive allowed us to travel further afield. As much as I like our local parks, its great to be able to visit other children play areas normally out of reach when on foot. However on that note, Olive is happiest on the bike journey and not when we arrive at our destination…it’s a tantrum I can relate too for sure.

What’s the best part of biking together?
The one-on-one time with each other. As all dads know, it takes time for the little ones to leave their mother's side, and so the bike experience gives us a unique experience that I will never forget and I hope Olive, albeit in the subconscious, will never forget too!

What do you say to people who think San Francisco streets are too risky for kids?
The streets are always going to be dangerous, but compared to other cities, like London, the awareness of cyclists in San Francisco is pretty high with more bike lanes being introduced and a large group of bike enthusiasts and supporters spreading the word. However, putting all that to one side, tourists driving on the wrong side of the road can be scary!

What makes a street OK for biking with Olive?
Kids playing on the street is often a good sign that a road is safe. Also, since San Francisco is so up and down, the rare flat straight road can be very appealing (to me) too.

Is it harder getting a kid ready for trips if you’re traveling by bike?
Olive really enjoys biking so the getting ready bit is easier than doing other trips. It’s a simple equation, she has more fun!

How often do you bike on your own?
Five days a week traveling to and from work.

Any advice for dads who might start biking with their kids?
The sooner you embrace the activity of biking in the NOPA area, the sooner you realize that you wish you had started earlier. Enjoy it while it lasts as there will come a time when your teenage daughter or son doesn’t want to hang off your handle bars anymore!


For previous BIKE NOPA posts in the Dads on Wheels series, check here. And find more dads on bikes at Bikes And The City.


  1. this is a very personal fun and positive post. well all of them have been, but you gotta love Olive with her bright pink tights and her favorite helmet. so cutee!!!
    thanks for sharing this with us James, very nice bikey dad perspective =)

  2. Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!
    Boyd Coddington Wheels