A Potential New Bike to Work Day Role for SVBC

A Potential New Bike to Work Day Role for SVBC

This update on SVBC’s role in Bike Month was authored by our executive director Shiloh Ballard. Having come from the world of policy advocacy, many of my friends ask how the new job is going and whether I miss advocacy. Yes and no. It’s easy for me to gravitate towards the work of our policy team – working with Caltrain to increase bike capacity, figuring out the next phase of bike share on the Peninsula, or coordinating with Santa Clara County leaders on a potential new transportation sales tax. But instead I’m focused on what many might characterize as the more mundane but necessarily elements of the Bike Coalition: reviewing contracts, raising money, and playing a support role to a great team. One project that is on my plate is something that you don’t often hear of in the nonprofit world but is rampant in the for-profit sector – a merger and acquisition. In this case, the intent isn’t to gobble up competition, but rather to leverage SVBC’s strengths to improve how a regional program is run. Bike coalitions are often best known for their Bike to Work programs. This is certainly true in the Bay Area, where Bike to Work Day and Bike Month (in May) gets tens of thousands of people on their bikes. Financial backing for Bike Month comes from two main sources, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and corporate sponsorships. Currently, MTC contracts directly with the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition (BABC) to run the program for the nine-county Bay Area. BABC was formed years ago for several reasons, one of which was to oversee Bike...
A First-Time Bike to Work Rider’s Experience + Resources

A First-Time Bike to Work Rider’s Experience + Resources

A new SVBC employee and bike rider; Stevens Creek Trail; a King along Monterey Road (photo credit: Lost San Jose) Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and National Bike Month have transformed me from a reluctant, nervous rider of bikes in urban streets to a bike lover, rider, and advocate. I am proud to have recently joined the staff here at SVBC, and ironically, am also eager to learn more about bicycling. Yes, I owned a bike for years, a nice vintage Schwinn cruiser, but I only used it in rare occasions. I was afraid of riding out on the streets and getting hit, that I’d get a flat tire and not know what to do, or was nervous I wouldn’t know the rules of the road and get laughed at by other bicyclists. Would I sweat in my work clothes and smell all day? I wasn’t the only one; many people feel the same way. Only 7% of the population rides their bike more than once a month. In just four weeks, I have had a total transformation. The first day going to work, yeesh was it both terrifying and thrilling! Riding along a buffered bike lane along Monterey Road in San Jose, I still felt like I’d get clipped from a car’s side window, but with every quarter-mile I rode the less I worried about it. Riding along Third Street, a street that is without a bike lane for what seemed like miles, was tough the first day, and still is. I can see how many potential riders get discouraged the minute they encounter a street without bike lanes....