Need some inspiration to get you on your bike and pedaling to work? Want to understand more on how biking can make a difference to your health, the environment and the world at large? Then celebrate this year’s Bike Commuters of the Year! Below is a brief overview of the winners, and much more about them can be found here!
- Alameda County: Carol Lahti has been bike commuting in the Bay Area for 23 years – first in Hercules and now in Albany, but she’s been riding since childhood. You’ll see her biking early in the morning to catch the ferry to work at Genentech in South San Francisco and late at night on her ride home. To Carol, her commute feels like vacation every day.
- Contra Costa County: John Cunningham, a longtime cyclist and principal planner for Contra Costa County’s Transportation Planning Division, literally pedals the talk to help make infrastructure improvements for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the county. But it’s not all about work for him. “By riding my bike to work I save money, stay healthy, and reduce my stress levels at the same time!” says John.
- Marin County: Brian Lehman has been bike commuting to work for 15 years. His 15-mile round trip commute from his home in Santa Venetia to his job as publications manager for the California Film Institute in downtown San Rafael is his way of making an impact on the According to Brian, “I have not used a car to commute since late 2004 and have not owned a car since 2013!”
- Napa County: Aileen Carroll fell in love with bike commuting while at college in San Louis Obispo, and made a conscious choice to live within biking distance of her job at Van Winden’s Garden Center. Her two-mile commute is often the best part of her morning, and always a good way to unwind after the workday. And Dave Kearney Brown, a Napa native and 3rd grade teacher at Napa Valley Language Academy fondly recalls his first bike – a blue Sting Ray with a banana seat and butterfly handlebars. He rode that bike everywhere, and still rides everywhere, proudly noting that he recently went three months using just a single tank of gas in his car.
- San Francisco County: Ricky Ramos moved to San Francisco in 2011 as an SFSU student and he’s been biking all over the Bay Area ever since. For first time commuters, Ricky says, “You don’t have to be an avid biker to start biking to work – the joy of riding on two wheels starts with just one day!”
- San Mateo County: Avana Andrade’swork on San Mateo County’s Climate Action Plan has given her a keen awareness that transportation is one of the county’s largest sources of emissions. She practices what she preaches and shares her love of bike commuting – even during this year’s fierce winter storms – with people who say that the joy she exudes is infectious and inspiring.
- Santa Clara County: Marc Graci committed to riding his bike eight miles round trip from Campbell to his job as a math teacher at Discovery Charter School in San Jose for the whole 2018-19 school year. Winter rains didn’t stop him and his goal is now in sight. He’s even incorporated biking into some of his lessons!
- Solano County: Paul Meltzer traded in his car for a mutli-modal commute by bike and train – 44 miles round trip – from his home in Fairfield to his job at the Shell Oil Refinery in Martinez – a true commitment to lowering his carbon foot print and making a difference for the environment and getting a workout. “Biking to work is a great way to get exercise, and I’ve even persuaded some of my colleagues to give it a try.
- Sonoma County: Sergeant Dave Thompson, a 27-year veteran of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has s been making the 16-mile round-trip commute from his home in Windsor to the Sheriff’s Office in Santa Rosa since 2014. “While coworkers may arrive in the office grumbling that they need coffee to get going, I just rode eight miles in the fresh air – that’s MY coffee!”