Ana Vasudeo started as our Interim Program Director in August 2016. Recently hired as long term, Ana is excited to see our programs grow in 2017. We caught up with her to learn more about the job and why she dedicates her time to our mission.
SF Bicycle Coalition: Why did you join the staff of the SF Bicycle Coalition?
Ana: I joined the team because I’ve always admired the SF Bicycle Coalition’s efforts to push things through the political process in San Francisco. As the former director for the Blue Greenway, I made sure that I partnered with the SF Bicycle Coalition in addressing transportation equity issues facing our southeastern waterfront.
I was also really impressed by the SF Bicycle Coalition’s programmatic work. The Programs team is in many ways the entry point for our movement to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation. I am impressed by our bicycle education work and how we have adapted our curriculum for diverse audiences. Our Safe Routes to School program works with families to make sure children can bike safely to schools. As an environmental planner and a San Francisco native, I’m excited to work at an organization that takes climate change mitigation seriously and that is dedicated to addressing transportation equity in our city.
Can you describe your role as a program director and how that connects to the SF Bicycle Coalition’s mission of promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation?
Our Programs team makes it easy for everyday residents to feel like they can be a part of our growing movement through inclusive bicycle education. Similarly, through our Community Bike Builds, we’re supporting low-income residents by distributing bikes and providing an affordable transportation alternative. My job is to ensure the financial stability of our programs, expand our base of community partners and to support our talented programs staff at executing their work.
In your brief time on staff, have you had any unforgettable experiences with people who bike that inspired or surprised you?
Yes! I’ve had many. My most memorable experience came at my first Community Bike Build at Northridge Cooperative Housing. For this bike build, we had a handful of new bikes from a special donation. We typically only distribute reclaimed bicycles from City agencies at these bike builds, but I was excited that we had a couple of new ones to share. One of the recipients of a new bike was a woman who had recently undergone surgery for breast cancer. She wanted to start cycling more and to live a healthier life.
At the end of the bike build, a teenage boy about her same height arrived and discovered that there were no more bikes left in his size. He was about to leave when the woman who had received the new bike decided to give her bicycle to the boy. The boy was so happy that he was beaming. There are so many examples of selfless acts during our bike builds, and I’m excited to work more closely with our partners to grow this program.
What is it about the SF Bicycle Coalition’s work that resonates with you?
The fact that we lower the barriers for cycling resonates with my personal belief that to change behavior about our transportation choices, we have to make it easy for people to ride their bicycles. I’m relatively new to biking myself and I’m a mom to two beautiful little boys. Working here has empowered me to ride my bike more with my family. My five-year-old loves when we ride in the street. I use our bicycle education curriculum every day when I teach my own children about bicycle safety. I’m excited that we’re working hard so that all San Franciscans feel empowered to commute by bike.
Are you excited about our programmatic work making biking easier and more accessible for more San Franciscans? We have an array of volunteer opportunities for you to directly support this work and get more people enjoying the fun and freedom of biking in our city.