Now in its eighth year, the Bike Commuter of the Year award recognizes individuals who inspire bicycling in their communities through their commitment and actions.

Today we spotlight Beverly Thames and Isaac DeLeal, the awardees for 2016 Bicycle Commuter of the Year in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Both will receive their awards tomorrow, on Bike to Work Day; Beverly at the Bike Away from Work Bash in Redwood City, and Isaac at the Bike Away from Work Bash in San Jose. We hope to see you there to congratulate them in person!

2016 San Mateo County Bicyclist Commuter of the Year: Beverly Thames, Redwood City

Beverly 1Beverly Thames commutes to work by bike, at least four days per week from her home in Redwood City to her workplace in San Carlos. Beverly has been a steadfast bike commuter for the past five years first using a practical bright-orange cargo bike with European-style carry-bags. Her commute used to be about 2.5 miles each way, until 2015, when her workplace changed locations. Rather than be daunted by double the distance, she upgraded to a faster, lighter bicycle and continues to commute the 5.3 miles one-way distance at least 4 days per week .

Ms. Thames is head of her department and provides a positive role model in a workplace with relatively low rates of bicycle commuting. As a woman bicycle commuter, she represents a strong role model for other women, wearing attractive work clothes and demonstrating that bicycling is convenient and saves a lot of time looking for parking.

“Bicycling to work saves a lot of time looking for parking. It’s a lot easier than most people think. I recommend getting a comfortable bike with a decent kickstand and a rack with baskets. The kickstand makes it easy to park the bike and do some shopping, and the baskets make it easy to carry supplies and do errands.”

2016 Santa Clara County Bicyclist Commuter of the Year: Isaac DeLeal, San Jose

Isaac Deleal PhotoIsaac grew up with bicycling in his family, as his father collected and built cruiser bikes for his family, but it’s only been a year since Isaac began riding regularly. His interest was renewed thanks to Good Karma Bikes in San Jose, where he now works.

Isaac rides to work, to school, and to run errands, and he enjoys how it has become a great form of exercise – he has lost close to 100 pounds since he began riding! He gets to take in all the sights of San Jose and see things he wouldn’t otherwise see if he was driving. What he enjoys the best about bicycling? The community! Isaac expected the community to be exclusive, but learned you don’t need anything fancy to enjoy biking.

He inspires others by fixing his friends’ bikes and, in the process, teaching them how to work on their own bikes. His hope is that, in turn, his friends will pass that knowledge onto the next person.

Jim Gardner, Founder and CEO of Good Karma Bikes, is proud to have him on the team. “Isaac inspires me.  He is one of the most thoughtful young people I have ever known.  What a gift that he utilizes a bicycle to extend the humanity from his heart to more people than would be possible in a car.”

Isaac encourages everyone to have fun biking. “You just need to ride for the joy and thrill…this is what brought me back, that feeling of euphoria and nostalgia is what worked.”

Congratulations Beverly and Isaac! See the rest of the Bay Area Bike Commuters of the Year here.