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Pedaling through the Pandemic

In a relatively short amount of time, COVID-19 forced many families to find alternative ways to have fun and be active together outdoors. At the Y, we see this as an opportunity to get more people on bicycles – for recreation, for exercise, for fresh air, and for safe transportation – cycling is a great way to get out, get where you need to be, connect with others and have fun. 

Y Bike offers engaging solutions to get kids active outside while building community through biking. Through bike education, that promotes safety and fun, Y Bike helps youth and families develop skills to confidently ride in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. 



Learning Biking Basics

Daniela and Natasha, two sisters from Marina Middle School, were part of the Earn-a-Bike  program before COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. While in the program, they met once a week for two hours over the course of a semester. And then schools shut down – but the Y did not! Y Bike delivered bicycles to Earn-A-Bike participants throughout the summer and continued to connect with students and families like Daniela and Natasha. 

“[Daniela and Natasha were] Very happy and shocked. She [Daniela]didn’t really think that she was able to have a foldable bike.”-Yuliya (Daniela & Natasha’s mother) 

Daniela explains that there is a lot to learn in Earn-A-Bike – and it’s all important for safe riding. “I learned hand signals and the ABCQ check: check Air (A), brakes (B), chain (C), and quick release (Q).” The ABCQ check happens before any Earn-A-Bike student takes a ride outside of the school and onto the streets with a Y Bike program leader. Watch video here. 

After her bike delivery, Daniela began riding around with her father through San Francisco’s #safestreets and to her favorite spots around Golden Gate Park. 

Daniela and her family continue to bike ride through the city – on the bike she earned through the Y Bike program. Check out some of their journeys featured on Y Bike’s Instagram. Click image below


Y Bike – Helping Youth Grow, Explore and Build Community 

Distance Learning during the pandemic is challenging conventional education and hindering many recreational activities for youth. Y Bike programs are changing that!  

In Earn-A-Bike, participants learn about bike maintenance, riding safety and navigation while working on a donated bike. The best part of this program is that youth get to keep the bike they worked and learned on – the bike is now theirs forever! 


“It’s great to see more families outside doing bike rides. Biking is a fun and mobile activity to do with your family, you save the environment, and it has a lower carbon footprint. It’s also mentally and physically good for you. It’s great!” 

- Corinne Ng, Y Bike Instructor for Earn-A-Bike  



Since shelter-in-place, the Earn-A-Bike program has evolved and grown. Y Bike now has youth and parent/guardian Earn-A-Bike programs so that youth will have a family member to ride with during the pandemic. Taking family bike rides are a fun way to spend quality time together - and get some exercise in the process. Together, with help from Y Bike, families are building lasting memories they’ll cherish forever.