2013 Bike Commuter of the Year Winners
Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) award recipients are recognized for their dedication to riding their bike for everyday transportation. They are a testament to the many benefits of bicycle commuting: from improving their health to bringing families together. Nominations were accepted, evaluated and awarded by each county’s Bike to Work Day representative. Here are the 2013 winners of the Bike Commuter of the Year Award. Many of the Awards will be presented at an event on Bike to Work Day. In addition to an award, 2013 winners will receive a set of Revolights to light them on their commute. Check your local Bicycle Coalition for events.
Congratulations to all the Bike Commuter of the Year winners!
Bike Commuters of the Year by County
Janie Pinterits started biking five years ago in North Dakota when she got so frustrated with the price of gasoline that she thought, “okay, I can be part of the problem, or I can start bicycling.” It didn’t start out well though: “I hated it, and I never thought I would enjoy it. But I’m so obstinate that I kept on going and going until it was minus 20 degrees out and I was still biking to work every day.”
Now, Janie lives in Berkeley and works in San Francisco. She takes her bike on the transbay bus every day, and is a strong advocate and positive role model for those around her.
“She is a passionate warrior for the environment and her love of all things bike is infectious” wrote co-worked Tiffany O‘Shaughnessy, and “her example has helped me be a more consistent and committed bike commuter.” Sometimes it is about more than setting an example; Janie works at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, where they used to have in-adequate bicycle parking. “We needed more space, and they were doing some renovations. I was on the committee and I insisted that they put in indoor parking for over 20 bikes.” Even further, Janie insisted on a guarantee that racks that everyone could use would be installed, not just wall-mounted racks onto which you have to lift your bike.
Her next project? Janie will be growing wheat grass in old socks fitted on her bike tires. “I love the parklet idea in urban areas, and I happened upon directions online on how to green your bicycle. I wanted to have it ready for Bike to Work Day.”
Steve Kersevan rides every day from his home in the Brentwood hills to the City Hall in downtown Brentwood, 10 miles roundtrip. “In the last two years,” Kersevan said, “I may have missed biking to work 5 times, usually because I needed a car for another reason or it’s absolutely pouring outside.”
In addition to being a regular commuter Steve plays an important role as the Brentwood Traffic Manager and staff representative on the Brentwood Bicycle Advisory Committee, making sure other Brentwood residents can bike safely. “Steve uses his position to help develop bicycling resources for the citizens of Brentwood” wrote Dave Stoeffler with the Delta Pedalers, a local riding club. “It is to his credit that Brentwood has achieved Bicycle Friendly Community status with the League of American Bicyclists, and he continues to work with the Advisory Committee to reach the silver status. Steve responds to each and every suggestion or complaint related to cycling in his city and is skillful in obtaining funding for projects. Steve is not only works to improve cycling in his community, he sets a great example by cycling to work everyday.”
Steve rides an old Nishiki that he’s had for the 13 years that he’s been riding. “Any avid bicyclist is going to laugh when they see it, it belongs in a museum,” he said, “but it gets me where I need to go.”
Tom started commuting daily from Greenbrae to the San Francisco, approximately 6 years ago, he had no idea he would end up coordinating a growing commuter group (36 in total) for the daily Monday - Friday commute.
It did not take long for Tom to meet other riders on the same route. Eventually the group simply grew exponentially. Tom said “we all know bike commuting builds core endurance, reduces stress and helps the environment, but I never suspected I would spend my mornings and afternoons surrounded by a great group of friends that encompass each other with motivation, conversation and a lot of laughter.”
Here are a couple of comments from Tom’s cycling partners:
“Tom is the perpetual motivator, ride leader, pace driver and dependable riding partner.”
“Tom consistently uses his bike for pleasure and work which is the best combination. He also helps others to get organized so that they can ride their bike to work. Tom is a great motivator to get out and ride your bike for any purpose!”
Napa County : Kyle Heartt and Doug Johnson
This year Napa County had an impressive array of excellent nominees for Bicycle Commuter of the year. Two people stood-out for very different reasons, so the Napa BCOY for 2013 is a tie!
Our first BCOY, Kyle Heartt, demonstrates how bicycling can work as family transportation to his friends, co-workers and neighbors on a daily basis. Kyle and his 9 year old son, Tristan, commute to school and work ever day, rain or shine, through what passes for rush-hour traffic in Napa. Most mornings you can see Tristan and Kyle riding to school over the First Street Bridge crossing Highway 29, sometimes with sibling, 1 year old Zephyr riding along in the Burley. After Kyle drops Tristan off at school, he might come home for a spell before riding to work, then bikes Tristan home again in the afternoon. Kyle and Tristan's commitment to bike commuting is an inspiration to everyone who sees them.
Our second winner, Doug Johnson, regularly commutes from Napa to his job in Vallejo, a 24-mile round trip. When asked if he's riding on any given day, he always replies, "Of course!" He isn't deterred by weather conditions or the heavy traffic on Highway 29 that is the major part of his commute. Many car commuters along the route have told us he is a familiar sight on his well-lit recumbent bike.
Doug loves cycling for many reasons including health benefits, saving money on gas, the joy of the ride, and vacations (he enjoys long-distance touring)! Doug's commitment makes it clear to those who know him that if you don't ride to work it for some reason, that reason is very likely just an excuse.
San Francisco County : Robert Pablo
Robert Pablo embodies the Bike to Work Day spirt. He is an avid bike rider and commutes from Oakland to the Portola district of San Francisco where he teaches Math at Burton High School. He can often be found riding the streets of San Francisco on his way to soccer practice, hitting up a Giant’s game or running errands.
Robert is also eager to share his belief in biking. He started the Burton High School Bike Club where he teaches the students how to ride, fix their bikes and takes them on weekly rides throughout San Francisco. This is an important tool for exposing our youth to alternative means of transportation, job skills and showing them the beauty of their city. He has taken students to SF Rec and Park riding events, partnered with the SF Bike Kitchen for workshops and brought students to volunteer at the SF Bicycle Coalition's Family Day. Robert also worked with Y-Bike to use a bike-powered smoothie maker to help educate students about the foods that they put in their bodies and know about the many uses of bicycles and alternative energy. Robert is a great biking role model to his students and community.
San Mateo County : Brandon Tyler
Brandon Tyler works for the City of Belmont. Brandon is passionate about bicycling, whether at work or in his personal life. He commutes to/from work every day via bicycle (rain or shine), approximately 25 miles, round trip. He is a true bicycle enthusiast who in addition to commuting to work on his bicycle, also rides for fun, at least 40 miles each day on the weekends. Brandon trains daily and is a member of the Pen/Velo Bicycle Club. He also takes his son, Cameron bike riding as well. In fact he just won a race this past weekend at the Sea Otter Classic 2013 at the Mazda Raceway in Monterey!
He also has encouraged three other City employees-- two supervisors and a coworker(Tim, Rick and Sam to start riding their bikes in the past month). As a result, two additional employees--Tim and Sam have been bicycling to work on average about three days a week. That's less vehicle traffic on our streets; less air pollution helping the environment; economically better--less gas; helps in team building--socially rewarding; and great exercise (consistent with the County and City's effort on improving employee and community wellness)!
Brandon's commitment to this effort has a direct positive effect on the community. He definitely epitomizes and actualizes the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of bicylcling.
For the past few years, Brandon has graciously helped the City of Belmont along with our friends from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition at the annual Bike to Work Day Energizer Station at the Belmont CalTrain Station. He joined some City folks and SVBC representatives to greet bicyclists, offer refreshments and giveaways; Brandon's usual role was to count the many bicyclists who came by the energizer station.
Santa Clara County : Jill Quindiagan
Jill Quindiagan was not a frequent bike rider until she partook in a century ride in 2011. She completed the ride, despite the fact that she had only “trained” by joining a few monthly social rides. She realized that if she could ride 100 miles on her bike, she had the confidence to ride wherever she wanted or needed to around Silicon Valley. She was further inspired to embrace the bicycle for everyday use when she found blogs such as Cycle Chic, which showed her that she could enjoy riding and still wear her normal clothes. As a result, Jill is known for often wearing a skirt and heels while commuting by bike. As a coworker of hers puts it, “Jill Quindiagan is proof that being an everyday bicycle commuter isn't limited to spandex-clad men riding exotic machinery.”
This casual approach to bicycle commuting has positioned Jill as a role model for her coworkers and friends. They take inspiration from her and turn to her for advice. Meanwhile, she works to create more opportunities for people to get familiar with the fun of riding a bike. She volunteers with San José Bike Party, putting her art background to work on multiple ride posters. Jill has also organized other casual weekend rides with her friends and officemates, several of who have purchased bikes and taken up riding as well. Organizing fun rides is a valuable way that Jill helps instill her friends, family, and coworkers with confidence on a bike. She says, “Riding to convenient spots for food, the park, and on small errands that may just be a few streets away from home or work, and doing it often, is a good start.”
A friend of Jill’s may have summed her up best when writing, “Jill breaks the stereotypes associated with bicycle commuting. She is a role model for myself and other riders of how one can be an active cyclist every day, and make it look really cool.”
Solano County : Don Lopez
When Don Lopez was asked to take a photo with his ‘best friend’ for a Vacaville High School publication, he posed with his bicycle! Don, who has taught at Vacaville High for 27 years, has been cycling since the 1970’s when he attended University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In 2000, Don decided to see if he could ride his bike to work every day from the beginning of the school year to Christmas. After he met that goal, he continued through the school year. Thirteen years later, Don is still biking and feels it is the most intelligent way to travel. What started as a personal protest against the oil industry, biking to work keeps him fit and decreases his carbon footprint. An avid traveler who loves scuba diving, Don plans to ship a second bike to Belize this summer so he can use it while on vacation. Based on the enthusiastic praise of his students, Don is a compelling role model for all his students, their families, and community.
Sonoma County : Owen Tuttle
Owen Tuttle is the art teacher at Sonoma Valley High School and has been commuting to work by bike for the last 9 years. What started as a pursuit of fitness soon turned into a full-blown appreciation for everything that bike commuting has to offer. “The physical fitness part is still there,” says Tuttle, “but the ‘right brain’ response to an early bike ride is intense.” The fact that he gets to commute by bike in some of the most beautiful scenery our state has to offer does not hurt. He makes his daily commute on a self-proclaimed “very hip” hybrid Trek 7.7 FX and passes by old wineries, train depots, General Vallejo’s home, frogs, birds, deer, skunks, raccoons, owls, and foxes. Owen plans on assembling a plein air set to take along with him on this summer’s rides so he can draw and paint Sonoma Valley. He believes that is it important to promote the mental health benefits and right brain stimulation in whole child development that riding a bike can achieve and not just the physical benefits.
Past BCOY Winners