2008 & 2009 Bike Commuters of the Year
These Bike Commuters of the Year have been recognized for their dedication to riding their bike for every day transportation. Their inspiring stories are testaments to the many benefits of bicycle commuting from improving their health to bringing families together. Remember that you too can reap the rewards of bicycling, even if you ride just a few times a week. Give it at try. You'll soon find yourself riding more and more.
Laura McCamy bike commutes from Emeryville to San Francisco using BART’s new eLockers to securely lock her bike at MacArthur BART. She works for the law firm of Severson & Werson, a short walk from Embarcadero BART.
“I've known Laura as a neighbor at Emeryville's Doyle Street Cohousing for 5 years and during that time she has been one of my bike Divas and role models as she has no car and does all her errands using a 100+lb capacity bike trailer, including Saturday trips to the farmer’s market,” says Adam Eigner, a neighbor of Laura.
Laura recently married April Atencio last October and now organizes regular bike outings for their community with kids and adults, including organizing several teams for the Team Bike Challenge and a kids team called the “awesome otters.” And when Laura and April got married at their home last year, they had a post-nuptial bike parade of guests, wearing their wedding dresses, of course.
"Three years ago and 45 pounds heavier, my husband decided he wanted to live a more full and healthier life," says Dave's wife, Margi. "He has since adopted the bike mentality and lives the bike lifestyle to its fullest. He is responsible for getting our four year old to pre-school: he takes her on his bike and trailer along with our baby. When he commutes to the South Bay from Alameda for work, it is never by car – he bikes to BART and then rides from Fremont to Milpitas. He likes the adventure and freedom of getting to work by bicycle. He is never in a car – he pedals to get groceries and bikes to the ferry when he needs to go to San Francisco. He sets a great example for our kids and we bike as a family all around Alameda."
Jeff Kent bike commutes from Lafayette to Pleasanton over 20 miles each way. He often rides an old Japanese made bike, complete with rack, panniers, fenders and generator hubs for biking at night. He rides San Ramon Valley Blvd to the Iron Horse Trail, down into Pleasanton to the Hacienda Business Park.
“2009 marks my husband’s 30th year of Bicycling to Work. He loves to ride his bike and finds biking to work one of the easiest ways to keep in shape. It allows him to indulge his passion for cycling and save gas and money,” says Jeff’s wife Tanya Ericson. In 2008, Jeff set another personal best of 146 commute days by bike, totaling about 6300 miles. In the spring and summer months, his 42 mile round trip to work is often supplemented with a detour over Mount Diablo. Jeff works is in the IT department of Robert Half International in Pleasanton. RHI encourages its employees to ride to work, providing showers and lockers right on site, and allows employees to bring their bikes into their buildings for safe keeping.
In his many years of riding the Iron Horse trail to and from work, he has developed a network of friends in the other bike commuters he routinely sees on the trail. Riding his bike to work is such a regular part of his daily routine, he doesn’t even give it a second thought. When he gets up in the morning and dresses for work, instead of deciding what tie to wear, he has to pick out which jersey to wear from his extensive collection.
Patricia is a middle school teacher at Antioch Middle School and a dedicated bicycle commuter. Rain, shine, wind or dark, biking has become her default mode of transit. Every day she parks her bike in her classroom, exposing her 140 plus students to the possibilities of cycling. She continues to encourage and inspire her students and co-workers to give bicycle commuting a try. Her example spread to her husband and onto his co-workers, creating an even larger community of cycling commuters.
Clay Kaufmann, a third grader at Dixie School in Lucas Valley, has been selected as the Marin County Bike Commuter of the Year. Other bike commuters may log more daily miles, but this feisty ten-year-old is gutsy and determined. Clay and his father Mark are often seen riding their bikes in the neighborhood. Early in the school year when it became apparent that Clay and Mark had not missed a single day riding the one and a half miles to school, Kel Harris, who spearheads the Safe Routes to School effort in the school district, issued a challenge to Clay: if Clay could ride his bike to school every day through the end of school, Clay would receive a special prize. Clay has met that challenge, through good days and bad, including rain and foul weather. Every day, Clay meets the challenge with a smile on his face, standing for the final sprint along the rolling hills to the school, as though he were on the final stage of the Tour.
Kirk has pedaled from his home in Marin to his work in San Francisco everyday for more than eight years. Why? "He says it keeps him healthy, wealthy, and wise", says his son, Benjamin. "My dad gets his exercise, saves lots of money on gas, tolls and parking…and those two things alone seem wise!" Kirk is a great example for his kids and all who encounter him.
Justin was a cyclist even before he helped found and then teach in the Waldorf charter school in Napa. Over the last nine years, he has continued to bike to school - even when the school moved to a new location four times farther away. His job requires him to stay with the same class of children from 1st grade through 8th grade. As the curriculum became more complicated, and his hours and materials increased accordingly, an "extra-cycle" appeared on his bike, as a way of transporting all the extra "stuff" he needed to take to school and home. He found that the only thing he couldn't haul on the extra-cycle was a bale of hay, but he did try. Justin is a master teacher and provides a natural and very genuine example of the benefits of cycling. As his students matured, more and more of them copied his example and rode to school. On Bike to Work Day last year, a few of them challenged themselves to ride to school in Napa from Sonoma, where a few of the students lived. Justin, who has cycled down to teach first grade again, will continue to have a positive effect on his new young charges.
Dr. Wilson is an avid cyclist who bike commutes his kids to school and then to work where he is a family medicine doctor at a community health clinic. Dr. Wilson says he encourages his patients to live healthy, active lifestyles and often points to his bike as an example. He cares deeply about his community and attends City Council meetings to speak up about local issues that affect the safety and accessibility of bicyclists. Dr. Wilson definitely pedals what he preaches!
The 2009 Bike Commuter of the Year for San Francisco County is Dr. Shirley Johnson. Leader and Founder of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Bikes ONboard campaign, Dr. Johnson has successfully led the way to getting more dedicated bike space on Caltrain cars, and thus has encouraged and aided hundreds of bike commuters from three different counties to keep pedaling! Dr. Johnson’s dedication to living by the bike goes beyond commuting, she also runs errands and enjoys vacations by bike. Not even bears in the road can stop her- literally- she rode right past them on a bike tour from Alaska back to the Bay Area! Photo by: Dusty Jensen.
Kathleen pedals everywhere including to one of her jobs at the top of Twin Peaks. She has endured rain, traffic and a bad accident, but has never given up her commitment to the zero pollute commute. She is passionate about reducing auto use and turned down a job because it required that she get a car! "She would rather ride her bike than sit with me and have a nice conversation in the car," says her boyfriend.
Dennis has been working for the City of South San Francisco for about 20 years, where he is currently a City Engineer. He pedals his way to work from his home in Foster City at least four to five times a week. He has inspired other co-workers to choose biking to work as an option and is willing to assist them with finding the best bike route or even locating a local bike shop for last minute repairs. As one colleague puts it, "Dennis is one strong, quiet commuter - dedicated and polite. He deserves this award for perseverance and fortitude. Go Dennis!"
Mark is a woodshop teacher at Menlo-Atherton High in Atherton. For more than 12 years, Mr. Leaper or "Leapdog" lovingly known by his students, pedals his way to work from his home in San Carlos. Often seen wearing a t-shirt with the message One Less Car on the back, he has inspired countless co-workers and students to choose the zero pollute commute on Bike to Work Day and every day. As one colleague put it, "Mark absolutely, 100% epitomizes all that is good about being socially conscious and turning that consciousness into action…He is the green "pied piper" of Menlo Atherton."
Felipe is fiercely enthusiastic about cycling. Period. Born in Atlanta, growing up in Madrid, Felipe used to sneak out of his house as a kid just to ride his bike. In attempt to fund an education in photography, Felipe was a bike messenger until he was inured on the job. A true survivor, Felipe is now a professional photographer for Metro, Silicon Valley’s weekly newspaper. If you’ve ever read the Metro, you’ve certainly seen his photographs. The amazing thing is, Felipe commutes via bicycle. He's able to take all of Metro’s cover story photos, news article story photos and weekly photos of people out and about town, commuting via bicycle. Felipe accomplishes all of this while still meeting his deadlines.
Jenn is an inspiration to many commuters who witness her make her 11.5 mile trek from Santa Clara to Palo Alto. Bike commuting since 1994, in order to build endurance for weekend rides with the local bike club, Jenn is dedicated to educating others of the benefits of cycling. "In general, bicycling is not just good for your physical health," she says, "but because it's so easy to do it's great for your emotional health as well. Jenn says her employer, Roche Palo Alto, LLC, is supportive of bicycling, providing bicycle lockers, showers, and even emergency rides home if needed. Her employer's support of bike commuting continues to encourage Jenn and her colleagues to take the zero pollute commute!
Craig Snider works at the US Forest Service on Mare Island, Vallejo. Craig faithfully rides the 20-mile round trip from Benicia to work every day, rain or shine. He began riding to work every day after moving to the area in 2003 and realized that by riding to work, he could skip his former post-work running regimen and save his knees in the process. The US Forest Service supports physical fitness and offers a flexible work schedule, so Craig uses the Doppler radar system on his computer to time his rides to miss heavy cloud-bursts on stormy days and keep on biking. The riding keeps him in shape for forest fires in the summer. He is also active in the Benicia Bicycle Club. Craig has promoted bicycle commuting with his coworkers and helped them with safety issues regarding traffic, bridge crossings, and railroad tracks.
David is a Vacaville letter carrier. He consistently uses his bike to get to work, no matter what the forecast is for the day and he avidly follows the rules of the road. David also uses his bike to contribute to the community. He is involved in many fundraisers for different causes his favorite being the "Tour de Cure" for the American Diabetes Association. He is a huge fan of Lance Armstrong and is proud to wear is his bright yellow post office logo jersey. David's biking habit contributes to his healthy body and mind. He is truly an inspiration to those around him.
For the ten years that he has lived in Sonoma County, Jeffrey has commuted to work every day from his home in Santa Rosa to his job as a Spanish professor and chair of the languages department at Sonoma State University. Rain, cold, heat, and even hail haven't kept him from the 20-mile round trip. He says that compared to bike commuting in the stifling heat as he did when living in Texas or in the humidity and rain of southern Japan, Sonoma County is an ideal place to ride. Not only is cycling good exercise, good for the environment, and enjoyable, he finds that commuting to work clears his head and gives him the opportunity for some focused thinking. Although he would be honored to be named Bike Commuter of the Year, he would rather see the day when bike commuting were such a common and natural action that an award would seem odd (can you imagine an award for "Car commuter of the year"?). To this end, he encourages and helps his students and colleagues become bike commuters also!
Click here for an interview with Jeffrey.
Tom is the epitome of a true bicycle commuter. Each morning Tom mounts a baby seat to the front of his bike and rides his 12 month-old son 2.5 miles to day-care. After he drops off his son, he rides the additional two miles to work. However, it is not only the daily 9-mile round-trip rain-or-shine bike commute that makes Tom deserving of the Bike Commuter of the Year award. Tom empowers fellow staff to ride to work as well. He is a great teacher and resource when it comes to bicycle maintenance. In January, he organized a workshop for fellow staff during lunch on how to patch a flat tire. Tom coordinates the Santa Rosa Free Ride Program at his job and, through his encouragement, a third of the staff earned incentives for using alternative transportation to commute to work last month. Plus, Tom coordinates Bike to Work Day for staff each year and generously offers to tune up his coworkers' bikes so that they can participate.