Meet Women Bike SF Member Heidi Siegenthaler

Heidi Siegenthaler

Heidi has been exploring San Francisco (and the world!) by bicycle for decades. We interviewed Heidi about the local and international communities she is a part of who focus on the bicycle as a method of movement for adventures big and small.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: When did you start bicycling in San Francisco?

Heidi: I’ve been biking in SF since I moved here in 1984. At first it was just weekend jaunts to Marin County, but as I experienced biking tours in other countries, especially Northern Europe and Scandinavia, I noticed people riding bikes with street clothes on, just going about their regular errands, like shopping, taking kids to school, commuting to the office and for recreation too. It looked very appealing to me, and I wondered why I didn’t do that at home. Of course, the infrastructure was much more accommodating in some other places, but I think San Francisco is making good progress with its biking infrastructure, and now I commute to the office and run errands on my bike too.

What’s your favorite thing about biking in the city?

One of my favorite things about biking in the city is not having to find a place to park a car when I arrive at my destination. I also enjoy feeling the wind on my cheeks and being outside.

What prompted you to become a member of the SF Bicycle Coalition?

My husband has been an SF Bicycle Coalition member for many years and he signed me up. I’m glad he did. So far I’ve participated in the Women Bike SF Coffee Club a few times and have enjoyed meeting the other women who always have interesting things to say. It’s a great way to learn about what’s going on.

At a recent Coffee Club you told us about hosting people who bike through Warm Showers. What is Warm Showers and how has your experience as a host been? is a worldwide hospitality exchange system, much like Couchsurfing, but for bike tourists only.

In the past seven years my husband and I have hosted about 400 people who bike, many of whom are from other countries. It gives us a chance to meet new people, hear stories of their adventures, see various types of equipment (like a tandem bike frame made entirely of bamboo) and get new ideas. Our guests have ranged from new high school graduates taking a big trip before college, to retired couples and singles — the oldest being 72 years old and wrapping up his around-the-world tour. We’ve also hosted some families touring with small children. Most of the time we share meals with our guests and they often reciprocate by making dinner for us the next evening.

Want to build community like Heidi and chat over coffee with other women, trans* and femme-identified folks who bike in the city? Join us at the next Women Bike SF Coffee Club!

Become a member and you'll improve your commute and get discounts at shops across the city.