We are happy to spotlight Tim Oey in the latest Member Spotlights series on our blog!
Tim is the President of the Board for The Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, a non-profit promoting pride in, improvement and enjoyment of the Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek Trails and Wildlife Corridors. A Sunnyvale resident, Tim calls himself a “soccer coach, environmentalist, bicyclist, free speech advocate, community organizer, and father of two.” We are proud to call him one of SVBC’s and the bicycle community’s most longstanding supporters, and one of our 150 Lifetime Members.
Are you an SVBC member, and wish to showcase your bike club’s work, events, and/or concerns? Contact us!
How did you get introduced to Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition?
After I moved to Sunnyvale from Boston in 1989 where I was VP of Rides for the Charles River Wheelmen and active with the Boston Area Bicycle Coalition, I looked up bicycle advocacy organizations here and discovered the Santa Clara Valley Bicycle Coalition under the leadership of Bill Michel at that time. Bill and I became good friends and I encouraged and helped him change the name of the organization to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.
What kind of activities and/or trips do you use your bicycle for?
I love bicycle touring! I’ve ridden across the US from Seattle to Boston (4300 miles), the coast of Maine, Boston to Malone NY (near Montreal), Switzerland, Loire Valley in France, the coast of Croatia, Bruges and Amsterdam, Sunnyvale/San Francisco/Santa Cruz/Sunnyvale, and County Cork in Ireland. This summer my family and I plan to bicycle through Sweden and Denmark.
I also love bicycle commuting. In Boston, bicycling was my primary mode of transportation. Silicon Valley is blessed with fantastic weather as well as smooth wide roads (compared to the roads in and around Boston). The bike I use most is a Gold Motobecane Grand Touring that I bought in 1978. It features “Don’t Pollute, Bike Commute” on its metal panniers.
How has SVBC assisted Friends of Stevens Creek Trail in its mission?
SVBC is one of the most important partners that the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail (FOSCT) has. SVBC helped us get the word out about public hearings during the development of the Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study that was completed in 2016 after about 3 years of work. Several years ago SVBC also helped FOSCT remove the misguided prohibition that Sunnyvale had put into its general plan. SVBC helped introduce me to FOSCT. I met Aaron Grossman, FOSCT’s executive director, after working at an SVBC bike parking corral. FOSCT had a booth next door. Aaron encouraged me to get involved and become a board member.
FOSCT promotes SVBC and SVBC promotes FOSCT. Our goals are well aligned. SVBC wants to get as many people as possible biking so we reduce energy use, promote health, and minimize air pollution and green house gases. FOSCT likewise wants to get people out on our local trail to exercise, get places, and have fun all at the same time. Plus our local trail system is a way for people in our neighborhoods to get closer to nature and to each other — right in our backyards rather than having to travel a long way. We need to promote “Yes in My Back Yard!” because it is good for us, our neighbors, and our planet. Be a YIMBY!
SVBC sometimes fields complaints from pedestrian trail users about poorly behaved bicyclists on the trails. What can SVBC members do to keep the peace between people on bike and people on foot in a trail environment?
The top things are:
1) Be polite to all trail users. They are your neighbors and allies for improving our local trails!
2) Get and use a bike bell (FOSCT gives them out for free at many events) or say “Hello!” and “On Your Left” well before you pass someone.
3) Keep your speed in check on the trail (15 MPH or less). The trail is for relaxed enjoyment, not high speed racing. The journey is the reward.
4) Stop and smell the wild flowers, admire wildlife, or help someone fix a flat :-)
Among your friends and people you know who don’t ride a bike, what do you think would help encourage them to get out there?
In a word: Friends! Walking and biking are great social activities, so please invite your friends to go for a ride. If they are shy about riding near cars, bring them out on a local trail. Just getting started is the biggest hurdle — once you get them on a roll they won’t want to stop.
What do you think needs to be done to achieve 10% of trips taken by bike by 2025 in Silicon Valley?
We must build better bicycling infrastructure as well as a greener/friendlier culture in Silicon Valley like they have in Europe — particularly Copenhagen and Amsterdam. We need to muster the political will to invest in the right types of development. Silicon Valley is a very attractive place to live and work. To make Silicon Valley more affordable, we need sustainable development as we grow. We are running out of space for cars and do not have the space to build more roads for cars. But we have plenty of road space to transport 10 times the number of people by bicycle and mass transit instead of cars. I particularly liked a graphic recently shared on Facebook that showed this:
To build the political will as well as culture, talk to your neighbors; city and county Bicycle and Pedestrian Commissioners; and city, county, state, and federal politicians to promote bicycling. Your voice has power, so use it! (editor’s note: attend a SVBC Local Team Meeting in your community!)
Share with us what a dream day on your bike looks like.
Eat to ride, ride to eat. A dream day for me is waking up to a big breakfast, riding along beautiful trails or roads, stopping at a Ben & Jerry’s or other ice cream eatery for lunch, riding some more, meeting people along the way, showering after the ride, and concluding the day with a gourmet dinner of local cuisine. This is why I love bicycle touring so much — you really get up close and personal with the people, culture, weather (!), and land you are biking through. Building connections to people and our earth is very rewarding.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a member of SVBC?
Just do it! It is one of the best investments around to help make our world a better place to bicycle and breathe. Donate money or volunteer time as you are able. I’ve been a member since 1989.
Will you join Tim and the other 2,000+ members of SVBC? Join today and support our work to make our streets and trails safe for all users, improve and expand bike infrastructure where you live and ride, and get more people riding!