Longtime SF Bicycle Coalition Member Cat Steele has been biking in and around San Francisco for many years. Whether you have can match the longevity of Cat’s dedication to biking in SF or not, become a member like Cat today, and elevate all of our members’ voices for bike lanes that feel safe and welcoming for people of all ages and backgrounds.
SF Bicycle Coalition: How did you first get into biking in San Francisco?
Cat: As older teenagers, my girlfriend and I started riding our bicycles into San Francisco from Marin County, where we grew up. Approaching from the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge back then, you had to dismount and carry your bike down some metal stairs, walk across a metal walk way and up the stairs on the other side. For protection, you were enclosed in a heavy duty metal cage, and you heard the constant rumble of the cars overhead.
Where are your favorite recreational riding routes these days?
I like riding through Golden Gate Park, pushing hard then cooling down along the beach in the breezy fog. I loved riding recently to the Presidio. The Wiggle streets make me giggle. I love the clearly marked bicycle-green dedicated lanes. I appreciate riding on the parallel streets that are marked with huge bicycle emblems while the cars run at full speed on their parallel streets.
What is one of your fondest memories from riding in SF?
When I was a girl, one time I left my parents’ home in Sausalito very early in the morning, crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge and rode through the city streets when all was quiet and dark. All appeared to be sleeping, except the garbage truck operators. I rode to the Great Highway and by the time the sun was rising I was on my way to Half Moon Bay enjoying a long invigorating descent down the old Highway One.
What is it about our work that’s kept you renewing your membership year after year?
I am a cancer patient. I was first diagnosed in March 2008 and went into surgery in May of that year. The surgery was on the heel of the bottom of my right foot, and the surgeon told me that I would probably be riding my bike before walking. I never adjusted to crutches or walkers: both of these mobility devices made my body feel lopsided, so I chose a wheelchair that I maneuvered with my arms. By November I transitioned to the bicycle. So I consider my bicycle an assistive mobility device.
Want to become a member like Cat Steele? It’s easy! Sign up here for cool discounts, free bicycle workshops and fun events.