From now through May 31, get $100 off your fundraising minimum!
If you've been on the ride before, you've probably noticed that we have a brand new California Dream Ride site. The registration and fundraising are up and running, but still may have a couple of kinks to work out -- so please share your feedback with us about the registration process so that we can tweak the site as necessary.
Looking forward to the ride!
Our Director of Media Relations Melissa Balmer interviewed Brian Addison, the recipient of the 2015 Bicycle Dreamer Award:
MB: What is your favorite childhood bicycle memory?
BA: To be honest, it’s a rather bittersweet one from when I was 11 years old. Every other week, I would take my mountain bike—my pride, my joy—over to my favorite teacher’s home. I had naïvely dropped it behind their SUV in the driveway while chatting and a craaaackle sounds off. I go outside to stand on the porch and there is her husband, holding up my mangled bike frame with its equally distorted front wheel. I was devastated, because that was how I explored; my escape-mania was only cured by my bike, which provided me these often wondrous adventures where the forest became an entirely different world. When that man was holding up my mutilated bike, it was like my world of imagination has shrunk a little to let the ever creeping dark side of reality set in.
During your time as both the Associate and then Executive Editor of the Long Beach Post, and then as the Editor of Longbeachize, you've been a passionate voice for the rights and opportunities for bicycling. When did this interest and passion start?
Bittersweetness seems to be the theme of my answers… While getting my MFA, I decided to sell my car. The alteration in my life was beyond significant: I began walking, and the experience of the human scale forever altered for me what it meant to get around. My bike—the same Specialized I ride to this day—came after that. These two things, walking and biking, made me love my city more than I already did. It made me pause, it made me examine things differently.
I once said that there is a mutual understanding that urban, dense environments are going to provide discomforts—parking constraints, occasional noise interruptions to your quiet living room, traffic—but that the vibrancy of the urban ballet, as long as it is safe and ripe with human activity, far outweighs those concerns. Part of that ballet is just being human—and I mean that in its physical sense: using your two feet and walking or biking.
Brian Addison will be awarded the Bicycle Dream Award on November 2nd at MADE in Long Beach (image via Pedal Love)Read more
Dorothy Wong is one of the talented new California Bicycle Coalition board members and bike-entrepreneurs who'll be joining the California Dream Ride this October. We caught up with Dorothy right after she returned from Interbike this week.
CB: What's your favorite childhood memory of riding a bike?
DW: Wheelie contest on my BMX with neighborhood boys!
CB: As Director of the Team, SoCal Cross Prestige series and a member of the California Bicycle Coalition's board, what do you think is the most important thing you want Californians to understand about why safer, more connected, convenient bicycling is good for all of us - and why the California Dream Ride matters for raising funds and awareness about this?
DW: We must all, no matter what form of transportation we use, work together to make the streets safer for everyone. So much work is needed to help make our streets better for bicycling so that we can get more people riding bicycles—and taking advantage of all the benefits of bicycling.
The California Dream Ride is a great opportunity to raise awareness about what the California Bicycle Coalition does, and how we can help. I'm excited to be a part of the California Dream Ride for so many reasons. I'm looking forward to the wind on my face, meeting new people, and riding together for the common cause.
CB: Your professional focus is now on bicycling events aimed at growing female participation. Why is this such a passion of yours?
DW: Getting more women riding brings a balance to the game. The bicycle is empowering and gives anyone who rides it a sense of confidence, community and independence. Women need all of those things. The growing movement of promoting women on bicycles is already making a huge difference: our pre-season clinics have a stronger representation of women every year. Once 10-15%, this season with women focused promotion we expect 30%, with lots of younger women and families. We must continue to promote bicycling with women, though. It's happening, but there is more work to do.
CB: You began your career as a typewriter script girl, which took you to script supervisor, then production supervisor, then associate director including a stint with the very popular MAD TV. What aspects of that career are you using now in your bike work, and what aspects of that haven't you yet but would like to?
DW: Hollywood taught me strong organizational skills and also how to operate in the heat of the moment. Problem-solving. But also realizing the value of entertainment, and really building up the fun-factor. Cyclocross is fun to begin with, and teams have learned to build up the fun too. The Spooky Cross Night race is a great example, with a pumpkin carving contest for the kids, and the Spooky Cross Costume Race, complete with smashing pumpkins as a tradition. Silly fun, with everyone dressed up in costumes. The creativity is unreal.
CB: Is it true you'll be taking video of this year's Dream Ride? What are you most excited about capturing?
DW: The plan is to be a part of the ride and also film the ride for those who can't be there, to capture the interaction and the beauty. I'm excited about it all! Through it all we'll learn about the world of bicycling, and highlight the beauty of the ride.
Time is running out to sign up for the California Dream Ride! Are you following the build up to the fun yet with our #CADreamRide hashtag?
One thing we've been excited to see this year is the number of women signing up - about 50% of the riders are women! These women are passionate about making California's streets more comfortable and convenient for bicycling. So let's meet three of the dynamic women who've decided to help us dream big for California.
Maria Contreras Tebutt at left. Image courtesy of the Davis Enterprise.
Maria Contreras Tebutt of Davis California is the Founder and Director of the Bike Campaign for Yolo County. Maria has a passion for teaching people, especially women who've never been on a bike before, how to ride confidently. Her program is housed on the campus of a middle school, where she and a group of passionate and talented volunteers not only teach people to ride, but get them set up with the right bike for them.
For this ride, Maria will be sponsored to ride the new Tern Verge X18 folding road bike. She wants to demonstrate how easy and convenient it can be to ride a bike, but travel with it as well. She'll be riding the train down from Davis to Santa Barbara for the beginning of the ride.
"I've always wanted to be a part of a big bike tour with a purpose. What a great opportunity to get to know the people who support making California a better place to ride," says Maria. "My hope is that someday everyone in California will have a safe, fun route to ride a bicycle wherever they need to go. Together, we're making California a cleaner, healthier, friendlier, more prosperous place through bicycling."
Love learning about the growth of bicycling in California but need to learn on the go? We've got you covered! This past week I interviewed Maria for a special audio podcast for the CA Dream Ride. Listen to our interview here. Maria is new to Twitter - show her some love by following her!
Simone Wojtaszek of Oakland is an old hand at bike advocacy. In 2008, while a student at the University of Virginia she co-founded UVA Bikes, which has now grown into the largest university bike share in the country. Now traveling frequently for her work, Simone often finds it difficult to be "hands on" with a local organization but still wants to make a positive impact. Enter the CA Dream Ride:
"I loved the idea that this ride would help make my commute safer for me personally and for everyone else who rides," says Simone. "I bike because I care about my body and the world. I want to make California a better place to bicycle, so that more people will join me in my commute to work." Learn more about Simone by following her on Twitter.
Another dream rider, Sarah Bartlett of Marina Del Rey, is a recent convert to bicycling.
"I recently discovered cycling as a form of exercise and transportation, but my motivation quickly became something much more than burning a few hundred calories," she says. "It has become my sanctuary from life/work stress, my motivation to get out of bed before the sunrise, my companion in a new city, and my freedom!"
Sarah now regularly commutes by bike to her job in commercial real estate in Santa Monica. Her round trip is 8-10 miles, and she's also now doing errands by bike, as well as using her bike to meet friends for drinks and dinner. Learn more about Sarah by following her on Twitter.
Sarah loves the challenge and the rewards of bicycling.
"The huge California hills nearly kill me - but the view from the top is breathtaking," she says. "The springs are exhausting - but the payoff is exhilarating. I can't wait to see what the California Dream Ride has in store for me."
Ready to ride?
On the last day we had to hit the road early so that we could be at the Old Town San Diego train station by 2 pm. Some people were taking the train back to Santa Barbara. This year, we'll still have that option but most people will spend the night in San Diego, conveniently, on the first day of the Bicycle Tourism Conference.
This day included the most beautiful coastal riding of the trip. This picture by Robert Neiuber shows a typical view we had as we pedaled south toward San Diego. Wow!
We enjoyed a yummy breakfast on board the Queen Mary before assembling in the parking lot for pushoff while the morning was still young. (This year, our day starts with a special treat: Charlie Gandy (CalBike's Vice President) is giving us his own personalized tour of the protected bike lanes and other routes that have made Long Beach a leader among bicycle-friendly cities in California. Thanks to Frank Peters for this photo of Charlie giving another tour. Dude is famous!
Last year we started Day 3 of the Dream Ride with a delicious homemade breakfast at the hostel. We pedaled down the coast and around Palos Verdes to Long Beach. The natural and human scenery (sexy surfers!) were gorgeous, but we didn't really see Los Angeles.
This year we will see Los Angeles, and it will be my favorite day of the trip. I love urban rides, and Debbie is putting together an amazing route through the heart of Los Angeles. I've gotten to know Los Angeles by bike in the last few years and I've been amazed at how bike-able this car-choked city can be. I've always known about the beach bike path, but now I know quiet roads, riverside bike paths, and a real bike culture are emerging in Los Angeles. We'll get to see it up close with a bike tour that leads to Los Angeles' revived downtown where we'll have lunch at renovated Grand Park, steps from City Hall.Read more
Even though I didn't get a chance to soak my legs in hotel's
whirlpool, I still felt pretty good pulling out of the parking lot Sunday morning. The first part of the ride was unattractive suburbia, but very quickly we found a bike path and started pedaling along the beautiful coastline. We passed an interesting little outdoor museum of naval missiles. This photo by Clinton Steeds shows the view:Read more
This is the first of a series of reflections on last year's awesome bike ride, looking ahead to this year's California Dream Ride. Here goes Day One:
It's easy to look cheerful at the *beginning* of the ride, as these riders look! But truthfully, we remained enthusiastic throughout.
This year's ride starts with a tour of BiciCentro, perhaps the state’s best community bike shop. It gives participating youth bicycles and job skills, and provides great quality refurbished bikes to the Santa Barbara community. It delivers heavy proceeds to the local advocacy organization, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, earning it CalBike’s “best business model” award for 2014. Below is what the shop looks like.