The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition on July 13th, 2016 in their blog profiled Nori Tong, a local Mom who lives in the Castro and uses one of those giant bikes to commute all over town with her two small children on the back. She uses the system of bike paths that link the different neighborhoods together in San Francisco.
The article is important because Nori is speaking for a special group of people we want to see flourish, young moms riding bikes. There are many young mothers doing the same thing. Their reasons are excellent but they are still in harms way and need the support of the larger community for this experiment in transportation to succeed.
It could be said that these women underestimate the danger of riding on the streets here in San Francisco where politicians talk about how bike friendly we are but do nothing to make it so in most of the neighborhoods. But the truth is these mothers are the future and we must join them and stop living in the past with our dangerous car-only roads and transit agencies and politicians.
The article was writen by Mara Mabugat and the following is an excerpt:
Some people might consider hauling two kids from the Castro to schools in the Haight and Outer Sunset daily a chore. Not so for Nori Yatsunami Tong.
“I feel less stressed — no finding parking. There’s freedom of movement. You’re not restricted,” Nori said. “There is more meeting other people.”
Nori Yatsunami Tong moved to San Francisco back in 2008 and has been riding a bike here since 2010. Born and raised in Tokyo, she brings that perspective to biking around SF.
“Biking is the norm there,” Nori said. “It’s how people get around. It’s what moms do.”
When Nori first started biking her children to school, however, there was a bit of an adjustment period.
“Before, I had one child in a seat on the bike, but I could only ride with one child at a time. It was even getting harder with one kid,” Nori said of her experience biking with growing children with her old family biking gear.
“It all changed when I got a longtail family bike last year when my son was in kindergarten. I saw others at the school with the longtail bike with electric pedal-assist,” Nori said. “It’s a game changer.”
Now Nori’s family gets to experience the joys of biking in the city together.
“We often overtake neighbors and friends driving to school and wave at them,” Nori said. “It’s a game for us. They may catch up, then we get ahead again, then they pass.”
Especially as a parent, Nori understands the importance of having safer, stronger biking infrastructure. Well-versed in the City’s bike routes, Nori only rides with her family in the bike lanes and is hopeful about a future SF where bike lanes criss-cross the entire city.
The problem is simple. If she bikes down 17th Street there is a very good chance that she will end up like this woman riding with her two children on 17th street. That occurred on May 19 and the conditions have not been corrected to this day. The crack that sent that woman with two children to the hospital is there right now, open for business.