On Saturday we headed to the annual Rosa Parks PTA Fall BBQ. We have been there before, but this was the best year ever, because this was the first year there was a bike rodeo and a bike parade. Attendance exceeded previous records, and so many people came by bike that they had to create overflow parking. We are a mighty bike community.
My husband says that bikes are to schools as lesbians are to property values: a marker of great things happening. I have been taking photos like crazy on school mornings because the amazing new kindergarten class at Rosa Parks is simply packed with family bike commuters—4 Yuba Mundos, a bike with a Trail-Gator, a bike with a trailer, and so on. Plus the families I wrote about last year keep on keeping on. Not only were many of these families there on Saturday, there was a new bike on the yard, a real-live Madsen. I didn’t meet the family riding it but was told that they recently moved to San Francisco from Japan. I assume that they must live close by because this was an unassisted Madsen.
Kids on their own bikes were out in full force on the lower yard, and before and after the parade (which was led by the principal). Not every kid who wanted to ride had a bike so they began loading each other up on their bikes to make sure everyone got a spin. I had to laugh thinking about how much angst we’d had over child bicycle seats. With kids old enough to sit up, you can simply seat them right on the top tube. It worked in My Neighbor Totoro, it works for a dad at school still hauling his now-1st grader to school that way, and it definitely worked for the kids. Sure, a spare saddle or a foam pad is a nice addition, but it doesn’t seem to be necessary. And the weight distribution is very good, right between the wheels and probably better for the bike than a rear seat. When they couldn’t fit two kids on the top tube in front of a rider, they improvised, and put one kid on the top tube while the other stood on the back. I had no idea you could fit three kids on a such a little bike. And these kids went fast once they loaded up.
I’ve written before about how much I love our son’s school, which not only is a wonderful community for our son but provides me with endless entertainment, including camping with friends from school and digging up tombstones at kids’ birthday parties. It just keeps getting better. The other morning my son and I met two families coming up Webster Street on the way to school and formed an impromptu bike train up to the school yard. This morning I rode and chatted with one of the Yuba moms on the way from school to work; she took that bike, with her preschooler on the deck, up the heinous Post Street hill. They went slowly but never faltered. I never dreamed that I could have so much fun commuting. Fortune smiled when the San Francisco school lottery sent us to Rosa Parks.