If you go to public school in San Francisco, then today is the first day of school! My kids are public school all the way, and this morning, they each decided to start the year with a bicycle commute.
Declan decided quite a while ago that he wanted to emulate his older brother and ride to school (he is in Kindergarten this year). It is only two blocks away, but the lure of a morning ride and his very own bike lock was too much to deny.
It was really nice to see a lot more people walking to school than in years prior. There were still a number of people in cars, but the morning traffic tangle was nothing like I have seen it in the past.
The school has a bicycle rack, but it has still not been bolted into the ground (almost a year after receiving it!) so we used one of the polls outside the school. It works out fine and as I had to pass this spot a few times today, it was nice to see Declan's bicycle parked out there waiting for him.
This year, Úna starts Middle School as she is the 6th grade. New school, new friends, new commute. Her school is only a mile and a half from home, but it is on the other side of the hill. She decided to take the long way around through a rather busy business district instead of climb the hill so I went with her, following behind to see how she handled the streets.
She had to pass between City College of San Francisco (the largest community college and the second largest learning institute of any type in the United States) and Riordan High School which was a tangled mess of traffic and random jay walking pedestrians. It was so busy I couldn't take pictures of her riding through it like it was nothing (just like how people in India don't seem to notice the traffic and crowds there). She was fantastic and did everything right.
Once we got past the college mess, it was a short trip through a business district she is very familiar with. There was construction all over it, but after a short stint on the sidewalk, she got around it with no problem and made it to school on time with no stress (unlike the 5 blocks of tangled car traffic around the school building!!!! What kind of madness is this?).
I was uncomfortable with the amount of traffic on her chosen route. It will calm down in a couple of weeks, like it does every year, but until then I am going to make sure she goes over the hill instead. She had no problem negotiating the craziness this morning, but I would not feel comfortable letting her go on her own and the whole point is for her to do this by herself. Next time, we'll try the hill route which is much less busy and crazy.
Over all, a good day. All three of the kids got to where they were going under their own power. They all took the next steps in the process of growing up. I love it!