Kash: Parking bikes and easing minds By Linda Atkins

Name Kash
Age "Slightly older than my teeth"
Occupation SFBC bike parking coordinator
Neighborhood Sunset
Member since Kash is one of the founders of the SFBC
Who are some of the most surprising people you've seen bike to a Giants game? There's a tendency for good lefties to think that everything's all one big ball of wax, and that if you're a bicyclist, you're also an environmentalist, and you're also a vegetarian. But bicycling is a politically neutral issue, and the most interesting people I've parked have been Republicans. If the Republicans stayed true to their avowed goals, the bicycle would be the ideal Republican vehicle because it requires no subsidies.

Do people ever say, "I wouldn't have ridden my bike to the game if you weren't here"? Absolutely. I park twenty-dollar bikes and thousand-dollar bikes, and at both ends of the spectrum people say the same thing. Because the guy with the $20 bike can't afford another one, and he's going to ride to work on it tomorrow, so I watch them all the same.

The bike parking program has been around for seven or eight years. Would you say it's a success? It could be more successful, but everything could be more successful. But yes, it's working. It's proved that it works. We just need to expand the program to the point where it's expected that a public event has bike parking.

We hear you get around entirely by bicycle with your two little girls (Iris, 8, and Zoe, 4). How do you do that? At some point you start to realize that you've shaped your life so that it would be harder to own an automobile, not easier. Many people forget that when they get caught up in the excitement of having children. They automatically assume because the cultural norm is to own a mini-van with a child seat that they have to go out and buy one, and they do so. But a car costs somewhere upwards of $8,000 a year, and that's money better spent on the children themselves. It buys scooters, it buys bicycles, it buys the trike-all these things replace the car. And it buys a lot of bus rides, and a lot of taxicab rides for when that's necessary.

We use a wide spectrum of what's appropriate. Zoe soloed on a bicycle when she was three. She rides on the front of my push scooter; Iris rides hers; we take those on the bus. We always get off on the uphill stop and roll down to wherever we're going, so in San Francisco it's the ideal choice.

Did you say "trike"? The kids got too big and too heavy to continue taking on the bicycle. I had a seat mounted on the front and a seat mounted on the back and was towing them around, but the heavy physical labor was getting me really depressed, so I bought a trike and then I realized that I could get a draft animal to pull it, so we got a dog, and the dog helps out a considerable bit.

Do you get a lot of amazed looks as you go by? Americans aren't the most astute individuals when it comes to how things can be done. Christ, having an advertisement painted on the side of your car gets amazed looks. Of course I do.

Do you think things have gotten better for cyclists over your time with the SFBC? Yeah, there are a lot more bicyclists on the street. When we first went to the Department of Parking and Traffic to ask them to give us something very minor, they were not aware that anyone but messengers rode in San Francisco. One of the DPT's commissioners, and I quote, said, "You mean people ride bikes in the city? Oh, we couldn't promote that. That's too dangerous." Since Critical Mass-and Critical Mass is kind of like the two-by-four you hit the mule in the head with to get his attention-they don't say things like that anymore. And that can only be good.