Matt’s favorite walks & why he’s supporting Walk SF through ClimateRide
Walk SF Member Profile: Matt Biggar
As principal and founder of Connected to Place, Matt regularly writes and speaks about place-based systems and their critical role in advancing equity, reducing social division, and mitigating the biodiversity loss and climate crises. He recently wrote about the historic win to make the JFK Promenade permanent.
We caught up with Matt recently to learn more about his upcoming Climate Ride, favorite places to walk, and more.
How did you connect with Walk SF?
I facilitated strategic planning for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in 2017 and learned about different advocacy groups in San Francisco, including Walk SF, in the process. Seeing all the critical work that Walk SF was doing for Vision Zero and other change in the city, I became a member and continue to learn more about the organization’s work through the newsletter and conversations. I’m proud to be a member!
What does Walk SF’s work mean to you?
We wouldn’t be the same city without Walk SF’s advocacy in partnership with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and other groups over the years. I’m excited about the recent momentum that Walk SF has helped catalyze toward a more livable, walkable, and safe city. I wrote about this in my recent article, How the JFK Promenade was saved. I particularly appreciate Walk SF’s focus on equity and making sure all communities in San Francisco are involved and supported in making positive changes to their surroundings and local transportation infrastructure.
Can you tell us more about your sponsored rides? We heard you did a ride with your son…?
This will be my third Climate Ride and the second with my son Jack. It is an amazing experience of community, goodwill, and joy. It is so much fun! We go on beautiful long rides and enjoy meals with around a couple of hundred people all while raising money for important causes.
In 2021, I did my first Climate Ride – a 3-day ride covering 170 miles near San Luis Obispo. It was a real adventure coming out of the pandemic. I took the train there with my bike and backpack (we camped on the ride). The hardest part was biking ten miles into a headwind with my fully loaded backpack to the campsite. I won’t try that again 🙂
The second year, Jack I rode on the 2-day Northern California Green Fondo, covering 132 miles in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was extra special to do this with my son Jack, who was 14-years-old at the time.
This May, we are riding on the 2-day Northern California Green Fondo. We are challenging ourselves with 167 miles over those two days, including a century (or 100-miler) on the first day. Most importantly, we have formed Team SF to raise funds for Walk SF and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and possibly add other SF organizations (in future rides). Two of Jack’s friends and one of their dads have formed the initial team with Jack and I. We hope this is just the start and that we add many SF riders in future years.
What keeps you motivated on those last miles of any ride?
The sense of accomplishment when the ride is done! It can be painful towards the end, but riding with others is always motivating in those difficult stretches.
What are your favorite places to walk in SF?
I feel very privileged that I can walk out my front door and stroll or hike through beautiful neighborhoods and landscapes. My family and I can hike to the top of Twin Peaks and back in about an hour from our home. I love the connection to nature along the way from Kite Hill to the trail alongside Rooftop Elementary to the trail on Twin Peaks. Finding our way down on Pemberton Stairway brings much joy and tranquility.
I love the Crosstown Trail and particularly the southern segment through the Visitacion Valley Greenway with all the pockets of nature and gardening activity. It’s always wonderful to walk along the coast, especially Crissy Field and Land’s End. All the hikes around Mount Sutro are peaceful and nature-immersive, thanks to groups like Sutro Stewards.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
This year we are riding in honor of my dad: Richard D. Biggar (1939-2023). My dad was an avid lifelong adventurer. In his later years, he enjoyed walking the many public stairways in San Francisco when he and my mom visited. Our two beneficiaries – Walk SF and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – help make San Francisco a great place for local adventuring. I’m excited to see Walk SF’s spring walk event is the SF Stair Challenge. I will be sure to participate and remember my dad’s joy in climbing nearly every stairway in the city. I hope many people join me.
If you are able, we encourage you to support Matt on this year’s Climate Ride! The 2-day, 167-mile ride will benefit both Walk SF and the SF Bike Coalition. We’re very thankful to all those who donate any amount.
Photo Credits: Matt Biggar