Peter Colijn is a long-time SF Bicycle Coalition member and Software Engineer at Google who commutes regularly from San Francisco to the south bay. He’s also one of the organizers of the SF2G group rides, a loosely organized and tightly knit group of cyclists in the Bay area that commutes 20-50 miles every week from San Francisco down the Peninsula to Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and all parts in-between.
Their website boasts: “an hour in traffic and an hour at the gym. Everyday. We’ve got something more fun in mind.” Why not a social bike ride instead? They offer easy, intermediate, and challenging routes to suit all types of bicyclists, and are hoping to have a whopping 600+ people joining them tomorrow, May 8, for the Bike to Work Day ride to the south bay. An inviting group, they declare that “membership is granted by showing up. Satisfaction is granted by the mile.”
Colijn is one of the riders that make this group welcoming and accessible to anyone interested. We recently caught up with him to ask a few questions:
When and why did you start biking as transportation?
I got into the routine of commuting by bike when I was about 12 and my family lived in the Netherlands. There, everybody bikes to get around, and I really got to enjoy riding to school. After that we moved back to Canada but I kept riding to school, even in the winter (though the salty slush really does do a number on your drive train!) As an adult, I continue to bike as my main form of transportation. I love the convenience, low expense, and healthy aspects of cycling.
You’ve inspired hundreds of people to make this 20-50 mile commute for the SF2G rides. How many and what kind of people join in?
SF2G’s First Friday Friendly Frolic (FFFF) routinely get 60 or more riders, though I certainly can’t take credit for all of those! But I have encouraged a lot of people to try it for the first time.
How do you encourage people to participate?
My strategy is to remove excuses until none remain Broken bike? I fix it. No helmet? I lend them mine. Worried about carrying clothes? I carry them on their behalf. I also bribe them with baked goods, often made by my lovely wife, Christine.
You have been a long-time generous donor. Why do you continue to support the SF Bicycle Coalition?
I love the SF Bicycle Coalition for its track record of getting things done, and persistence in pursuing its goals. SFBC doesn’t give up, and will pursue projects for years to make sure they happen.