Elsa regularly bikes to school with her kids. She’s part of a growing number of families discovering the joys of biking together. We checked in with her to see her new commute was working out.
How long have you been biking to school?
We started biking to school 2 days per week last year, when my daughter was in first grade, and had enough bicycling skills and confidence to go downhill and ride in traffic. Two other days, we often jog home from school, or I jog and she rides.
Why did you start biking to school?
Because I don’t like driving, and as a working parent with a sedentary job, I am always looking for efficient ways to squeeze some exercise into my day. I would love to do it every day – I grew up in Europe, where biking is not just a sport, but an everyday means of transport for short distances. But, even though the distance is not large, with drop-off in two different locations for my kids and a hilly route, it doesn’t work with my work schedule every day. (Additional motivation to keep doing it is that the Presidio, where we live, eliminated free parking everywhere around where I need to take the bus downtown, to get to work.)
What’s one fun story from your biking to school?
Nothing stands out in particular, but there’s often small things to enjoy, like how I always ask my son to push the (imaginary) ‘ turbo button’ right before we tackle our major uphill. Or we make music with our squeaky brakes on a wet day, or watch a heron on a lawn in the Presidio for a while. Or, when we set a new record time running home.
What advice would you give to other parents interested in finding active ways to get to school?
Be creative. Maybe only a few days a week work, or even a few days one-way, like in our case. That meant we had to get a (vehicle) bike rack to get my daughter’s bike back home from school, but we decided that was worth it. Teaming up with other families might work as well. Also, don’t underestimate your kids’ physical abilities—and love for movement.