Folks for Polk Founder Madeleine Savit

Madeleine Savit is a former architect, academic medical research manager, and home-schooling mother currently living in San Francisco, CA.

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Madeleine Savit is a former architect, academic medical research manager, and home-schooling mother currently living in San Francisco, CA. She has lived and traveled all over the world. While working at the University of Sydney, Savit’s global literature review of urban infrastructure and how it affects public health found that active transportation tops the list. In March 2013, Savit founded Folks for Polk.

Q HOW DO YOU USE YOUR BIKE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?

I go all over San Francisco and beyond. And I recently brought a folding bike on a 3-month trip to Europe. It was Heaven!

Q WHEN DID YOU START USING YOUR BIKE TO GET AROUND?

I was cycling in my 20s, in Boston and Philly, but took a long digression into suburban life when I had my kids. In every other way it was a charmed time, but I loathed spending hours in a car. When I recently relocated to the US from Australia, I intentionally lived where I wouldn’t need a car every day. Now, I just use car share when I need to drive.

Q HOW HAS YOUR BIKE TRANSFORMED YOUR DAILY LIFE?

I have conquered a fear. I was terrified of bicycling here and would walk my old beater on the sidewalk just to get used to the idea. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) cycling classes were essential in helping me gain confidence. I also founded Folks for Polk advocating for smart cycling infrastructure on Polk Street as well as changing the civic process for major urban projects in San Francisco.

Q WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS LIKE YOU WHO WANT TO GET STARTED?

Take city cycling classes, ride with others initially, stay hydrated, and just do it.

Q WHAT BIKES AND BIKE GEAR COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

Lights are a bit of a fetish of mine. I look like an errant Christmas display at night. And, of course, a German workhorse lock.

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