The big world outside the office

Things have been pretty exciting here at SVBC Global Headquarters lately. We're fast approaching the Fourth Annual Dinner, which I'm very glad to not be in charge of. My colleagues are doing a fantastic job and I have the luxury of just working on the communications for the event, editing copy, and helping figure out creative places to store items for the auction. Each year, our big fancy benefit dinner gets bigger and fancier, yet somehow we pull it off without debacle and decide to step it up the following year. Like I said: it's good to have other, better qualified, people putting it all together.

Meanwhile, I was given a few opportunities to unchain myself from this typing machine and go visit the communities we serve. Last Wednesday, as Corinne has mentioned, she and I paid a visit to San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. We wanted to say hi, fill her in on what we've been up to, and share with her the platform that the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition has developed regarding Plan Bay Area. Now, I'm a pretty capable talker; but when I'm giving a presentation or meeting a person of importance for the first time, I become a mess of nerves. Fortunately, Corinne had my back as she calmly and expertly engaged Supervisor Tissier and they swapped thoughts on the pressing bike issues of the day, including Complete Streets, the Grand Boulevard Initiative, and bicycle use data collection in the Bay Area. Long story short: I kept my mouth (mostly) shut and watched two very sharp people do the dance of local politics. It was educational.

My next case of nerves came Tuesday night, as I represented the League of American Bicyclists and presented the City Council of Los Altos with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award. In this case, I had talking points that had been prepared and vetted ahead of time. Still, speaking to a City Council is a special challenge. There's no applause, no chuckles, and your back is turned to the majority of the people in the room. Add to that the world's shortest podium and a navel-level microphone that read “Speak 12-18 inches from microphone” and you get a nervous, slouching speaker doing his best to address everyone in the room and still be picked up by the pint-sized PA. I don't actually think I messed up too much. Mayor Packard seemed quite happy with the acknowledgement and I was happy to honor the town for its good work and encourage more to come.

Perhaps my most enjoyable venture out of the office came last Friday, when I went to Palo Alto to conduct a Bicycle Friendly Workplace inspection. I got off Caltrain in Mountain View and biked a few miles to my destination. Wow, is the mid-Peninsula cycling scene ever a welcome relief from my cross-town San José commute! I counted about 30 other cyclists riding to work or school along just a few blocks. There were bike lanes everywhere, and my fellow pedalers seemed to be following the rules of the road – riding visibly and predictably. Now, I don't want to speak ill of my hometown or its cyclists, but there definitely is a connection between the lack of a cohesive east-west bike route in San José and the dearth of cyclists traversing the town. The cyclists that I do see on my way to work seem to make up their own rules, as they do their best to avoid cars and get from point A to B. The City has some great plans its working on. I'm eager to see them come to fruition.

And that was my big week out! I'm back at my desk now, working on the SVBC weekly email bulletin, plotting my next escape into the outdoors. See you there!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>