Meet Jean Kao, a longtime SF Bicycle Coalition member and volunteer. You may have encountered Jean checking your ID and banding your wrist at Tour de Fat, pouring you a beer at Winterfest or selling you a ticket to Love on Wheels. Behind the scenes, she’s recently been hugely helpful as a pro-bono consultant while we develop our new website – yes, the very website you are now enjoying! In addition to all of that, she’s already signed on to volunteer at Bike to Work Day again this year. We caught up with Jean to discuss her many years as a Bike to Work Day volunteer and Captain:
How did you get involved with Bike to Work Day? What motivated you to start volunteering?
My first Bike to Work Day in 2007 was so much fun – bagels and coffee and happy volunteers – that next year I decided I wanted to return the favor and help cheer on those cyclists myself.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer at Bike to Work Day year after year?
The volunteers at this event are so great to work with. Everyone pitching in is excited to talk to passing cyclists. It’s also a lot of fun to step aside and watch the commute from the sidelines. As someone who’s usually in the scrum you don’t really get to see the big picture. It’s really amazing to see just how many cyclists are commuting to work now, and the variety of bikes and styles is incredible. Also, the cyclists themselves are so happy to get the snacks and goodies. It’s nice to bring a smile to someone’s face.
What do you do when you’re not donating your time to the SF Bicycle Coalition?
My other major hobby also happens to be bike related (no surprise). I’m one of the organizers of the Norcal Bicycle Touring and Camping meetup. We’re just a group of people who love touring by bike and organize trips to explore the local area – or even further.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with us on Bike to Work Day?
It’s fun! It’s easy! The captains will assign you a task so you don’t need to worry about anything ahead of time. Everyone is super mellow. Think of it more like a social where you can hang out with other cyclists with a tiny bit of “work.” One piece of real advice is dress in layers. I usually work the evening shift and it gets cold as the sun goes down.
Volunteer like Jean: It takes hundreds of volunteers to make Bike to Work Day a success. Sign up to help make this year the best yet!