Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflections of a (Very) Successful Bike Month

Councilmember Todd Gloria speaks at ribbon cutting for City's first bike coral
during Bike Month 2012

A reporter recently called to follow up on an earlier story on National Bike Month. She asked if I felt that Bike Month had been successful here in San Diego. Without hesitation and with great enthusiasm, I replied, "Incredibly Successful!" A record breaking bike to work day with over 7,000+ (up from the previous year of 6,000), a new bike parking coral (with more to come soon), lots of media coverage and interest in the bicycling "story"and so much more took place during a whirlwind month of May. It's exciting to see growth year over year on Bike to Work Day which should also translate into more people pedaling to work on a daily basis in the future. So lets continue to build on this momentum and get more people riding; for our health, for our environment and for our neighborhoods and business who benefit from all of us riding.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is excited to announce the recent adoption of a 5-year strategic plan with a new mission, vision and goals that will lead to 1) a growing membership that will 2) make our voice stronger and our advocacy more effective and 3) grow our organization to service our members better. Help us fulfill our mission: To advocate for, and protect the rights of, all people who ride bicycles. Learn more about our new strategic plan on our web site

Thanks for a great Bike Month San Diego, lets keep it rolling!

Andy Hanshaw
Executive Director

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Record Breaking Bike to Work Day in San Diego County!

A Record Breaking Bike to Work Day in San Diego County!
Helmets off to all who participated in the biggest Bike to Work Day ever in San Diego County! According to initial estimates, more than 8,000 people participated and stopped at official "Pit Stops" located throughout the County on May 18th. Way to go! I personally visited several Pit Stops and saw happy faces everywhere. Bicycling does that and it's contagious. So keep it rolling folks and stick with it. You'll feel healthier, happier and you're doing you're world good by keeping that car in the garage. And a huge shout out to all of the volunteers who passed out the goodies that morning and kept those riders rolling that rule!

Keep it Rolling San Diego!

Andy Hanshaw, San Diego County Bicycle Coaltion

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why I Like Bike To Work Day

This Bike to Work Day I’ve been reminiscing. After a decade or so of participating in the event, I’m sometimes worried I’ve become jaded. Sure, sometimes it seems like a silly exercise for those of us who bike to work fairly regularly (or not so regularly...). One day of the year where the non-bike riders try it out, fill up the buses and bike lanes, and get in the way of  “real” bike commuters
Then I come to my senses. Bike to Work Day is an opportunity to celebrate something so healthy, so good, so FUN, that I can’t resist sharing it! And to share a conversation and maybe a ride with people who don’t ride regularly. And maybe get a t-shirt and some free snacks. I’m failing to see a downside here.
As the years go by, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity Bike to Work Day gives us to talk to our friends and co-workers about bicycling. Not just about biking to work, but about biking for fun, about bikes, about family, about joy. Already this year the discussions about Bike to Work Day have spurred some of my co-workers to ride. Maybe they aren’t commuting to work, but they’re starting (or restarting) to ride around their neighborhood – to the park, the store, the library. I’m very excited that so many people at work are talking about biking, about getting their bikes tuned up and getting out to ride.
That’s enough of a reason for me to rejoice in Bike to Work Day in all its craziness. So hopefully, this Friday (and many other Fridays to come) I’ll see you on the road!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Get Ready for Bike to Work Day!

Bike Parking and Pancakes!Bike Month Rolls On!

Wow, what a weekend! The SDCBC was very busy supporting the Tune Up Time event at Balboa Park and getting riders ready to roll for Bike to Work Day on May 18th. Lots of activity including free bike maintenance checks provided by Anywhere Bicycle Repair, a kids bike obstacle course and free bike safety seminars provided your San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. At the same time, our bike parking coordinator Corey was very busy helping out at the ITU Triathlon Championships at Mission Bay. Hundreds of bikes were valet parked while spectators watched world class athletes compete for their spot on the US Olympic Team.  

Both of these activities could not have happened without the support of our dedicated volunteers for which we are very grateful. The SDCBC relies on their help at events all throughout the year  and we really appreciate everything they do to support us and local bicycling. THANK YOU!

National Bike to Work Week is officially here and so is the city’s first bike parking coral! San Diego’s first Bike Corral was officially unveiled this morning in Hillcrest at 5th and University with a ribbon cutting by Councilmember Todd Gloria and a pancake fund raiser by nearby restaurant Snooze. What once was a parking space for 1 car is now a permanent place for 12 bikes to park in the business district! This marks the first of dozens of corals that are anticipated to in place throughout the city in the coming months and it’s a great cause for bicyclists to celebrate. The Bike Coral is a strong recognition that bikes can and should be accommodated in our neighborhood business districts. It makes great sense. Less traffic congestion, less pollution and it’s just plain good for business. Small businesses in the area will surely benefit by now having 12 potential customers who arrived by bike rather than one car parked in the same space. The SDCBC has also partnered recently with the San Diego Business Improvement District Council to create several “Bike Friendly Business Districts” that will feature increased bike parking accommodation, special events and more.

 So bike local, shop local, eat pancakes (at Snooze) and keep on riding!

 Andy Hanshaw – Executive Director


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Begin Your Bicycle Story During Bike Month

My favorite bicycling outfit.
Like a six-year-old at Christmas, I can't wait for Bike to Work Month in San Diego. It's my favorite holiday and the one time of year that my non-biking friends will give thought to trying a bicycle commute.

During this month, especially leading up to Bike to Work Day on May 18, my friends ask me questions about bicycle commuting and request tips on how to start doing it. While bicycling to work is a routine that I do regularly now, it took me a few years to figure out. And this month provides plenty of opportunities to reflect on that path. When I started, I could barely ride ten miles and now I have bicycle/camped 1,400 miles down the Pacific Coast and rode 600 miles across Turkey.

For better or worse, here are ten milestones from my bicycle commute:
  1. In 2004, I cried every day after work for a week at my first job in San Diego. I didn't own a car--a new decision at the time--so I arrived every day in spandex, parked my bike in the back office and tried to hide the grease marks on my leg and hands. It sounds silly now, but at the time I shared office space with girls who wore clothes created by people whose names I can't pronounce. They didn't look at bikes, let alone ride them. I felt different. I felt dirty. I felt lame.
  2. One of my first clients was a high-end hotel in downtown San Diego. I would arrive 15 minutes early to each meeting so that I could lock my bike and change into professional attire. I'll never forget the day my client "caught" me in spandex. Our conversations changed from agenda-driven dialogue to conversations about bikes. My commuting was something he wished he could do. And something he admired.
  3. In 2005, one of my coworkers asked me to teach her to ride to work. New to biking, she wanted to bicycle commute, but didn't feel comfortable on the road. She also wanted to tips on how to transport her professional clothes as she'd always been impressed with my ability to pull it off.
  4. 2006--The year I realized that I wore a size 6. I went from a size 12 in Oregon to a size 6 in San Diego because of my 30-minute ride to work and a downhill 30-minute ride home.
  5. In 2007, I got control of my scheduling so that I could incorporate bicycling commuting into my work day, not just my commute to/from work. I felt empowered by my transportation choice and started carrying my helmet like a badge of honor.
  6. One hot summer day, I came to understand that baby wipes are freaking phenomenal. A few smell-good disposable wipes can tackle those "problem areas" and help me be fresh as a daisy (or baby powder, depending on the scent you buy) for important meetings.
  7. In 2009, on my ride down the Pacific Coast with my husband, I met a guy who fashioned a cane holder onto his mountain bike so he could ride from Washington to Arizona. If a dude who can barely walk can ride his bike that far, I think it's OK for able-bodied humans to ride once a week or maybe even a few times a month. Like Nike says--Just Do It.
  8. On that same ride, in Huntington Beach, I saw a family of six riding bikes to the beach with baby trailer in tow, surfboard / boogie board trailer in tow and one child double riding with the other child. I now had evidence that people with kids bicycle commute, too.
  9. In 2011, I bought my first pair of black stretchy climbing pants that double as business pants. I learned to dress in fabrics in which I can ride and conduct business.
  10. In 2012, I rode my bike across Turkey with a girlfriend from Portland. I had hours each day to contemplate the time when I couldn't ride ten miles to work. And to remember the first time I rode 100 miles. And now Turkey. Who woulda thunk?
My journey started in 2004 with a one-year commitment to riding my bike because I sold my car. One year came and went. I'm still riding that same yellow and blue, slightly bent, kinda rusted Specialized bicycle that I bought for $175 from a guy who owned a surf shop in PB.

How will your bicycle story begin this Bike Month?

Jamie Ortiz volunteers with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. You can learn more about her at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bike Month in High Gear

As me and my Electra Bicycle were pedaling into work today as part of my “Every day in May” personal pledge, I was thinking of how fortunate we are to live where we CAN ride every day.

Our Chamber of Commerce weather is only a part of the story. There’s so much happening to help make our region safer and more accessible for people who ride. And the SDCBC is excited to play a strong role in the development of a growing bikeway network that will serve us all. But we also need more of us riding every day.

As I recently read in “Pedaling Revolution” by Jeff Mapes, cities that have become so well known for their bike friendliness including Amsterdam, Portland, OR and others are encouraging more people to drive less and ride more. They’ve created safer streets in part due to getting more people to ride.

San Diego is the perfect place to ride and while we are working hard to improve our network, we need to do a better job of getting our message out to folks to ride more. No better time than National Bike Month and the flurry of activity leading up to Bike to Work Day on May 18.

So join us! Grab a co-worker and ride in to work with them or host a Bike to Work Pit Stop. Your San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is here to help.

We’ve also got a great Bike Month membership drive taking place with annual memberships for only $20. Your membership helps us in our mission to advocate for and protect the rights of all people who ride bicycles.

Keep on riding!
Andy Hanshaw
Executive Director

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Bike Month 2012!

Happy Bike Month!

Our friends at Electra Bicycle Company.
It's our favorite time of year at the offices of your bicycle coalition.

Today, together with County Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego City Councilmembers Todd Gloria and David Alvarez and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Chair Jerome Stocks, we officially declared May 2012 as “Bike Month” in San Diego.

The event, which was well attended by local bicycle commuters and covered by local media , highlighted the importance and benefits of bicycling as a form of transportation and recreation here in San Diego County. An eclectic display of designer lifestyle bikes and accessories were also on hand from locally based Electra Bicycle Company and all of the distinguished guests tested out the bikes during a ceremonial kickoff ride at the conclusion of the event.

The SDCBC is excited for the month ahead and encourages all to get out and “Join the Ride” all throughout the month of May.  There are dozens of activities and events taking place during Bike Month and information can be found on our calendar.

Happy Bike Month!

Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition

Getting ready for a ride. Safety first.
Talking Bike to Work Month in San Diego.