We are happy to spotlight Bruce Akizuki in the latest Member Spotlights series on our blog!

Bruce is a San Jose native, whose family has deep roots in the Japantown neighborhood. He is one of San Jose Bike Clinic’s regular volunteers, and is also a photographer and blogger of contemporary Japanese music. He’s been a supporter of SVBC since we were known as the Santa Clara Valley Bicycle Coalition, and has been involved with the Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC), and the American Youth Hostel (AYH), Santa Clara Valley chapter since the 1970’s. He is a veteran of many century rides and overnight rides with ACTC and the AYH.

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How did you get introduced to Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition?

I joined and was part of the predecessor organization of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, called Santa Clara Valley Bicycle Coalition, in the late 70’s to early 80’s.

What kind of activities and/or trips do you use your bicycle for?

My main mode of transportation is my bicycle, except when going to work, since I work over one hour away. I go shopping, do errands, get exercise, and utilize my bicycle when photographing.

Why do you volunteer for San Jose Bike Clinic, and what are ways that people can support their efforts?

I volunteer for the San Jose Bike Clinic (SJBC) because it encourages bicyclists to be self sufficient and independent towards building a stronger bicycle community.

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?

Well the main reason that many people don’t ride is our country’s transportation system is dominated by the automobile industry and oil corporations. As a result, the bicycle is relegated to lower status and influence. Because of our lower status, bicyclists and drivers often have an antagonistic relationship on the roads which discourages and prevents people from riding a bicycle. There needs to be more organizations who will fight for and advocate for the rights of bicyclists which will bring more bicyclists on the road. But we can bridge the gap.

My ideas to increase bicycle ridership:
1. We need to teach the skills to safely navigate the roads.
2. Teach bicycle riders the skills to fix their bicycle.
3. We need to educate people to have the proper equipment or clothing to ride day and night and in the different seasons and road conditions.
4. Bicyclists need institutional or organizational support to have the confidence and encouragement to ride their bicycle.

Just like bicyclists, the arts community works hard to create a healthy, vibrant community. What are ways you incorporate your artistic skills with the bicycling community, or ideas to strengthen the relationship between the two?

I believe artists role in society is to entertain, educate, and inspire people. Bicyclists can also play the same role with the proper vision, organization, and leadership.

What do you think needs to be done to achieve 10% of trips taken by bike by 2025 in Silicon Valley?

See my answer above on how to encourage more people to ride. We need to reduce the adversarial relationship between cars and bicyclists, as a result of our society being a culture of automobiles and bicyclists almost having little influence and power. Education, advocacy, and support by bicycle organizations and institutions are the key.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a member of SVBC?

I think it’s important to join and support the SVBC to elevate the status and recognition of bicyclists and to improve the safety and accessibility for all riders.

Will you join Bruce 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!