This week we spotlight SVBC member Thang Do! Read on to hear his story of how he got involved in the bicycling community.
- How did you get introduced to/involved with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition?
I am an architect and CEO of Aedis Architects. I also am the owner of SoFA Market and The Fountainhead Bar. I am very interested in improving the quality of our urban life and protecting our environment. I serve with Shiloh Ballard on the board of the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, and through her, I learned about SVBC. I strongly believe that bicycles are a key solution to our transportation challenges. In fact, I think it should be considered as one of the three legs supporting this stool that represents the future of mobility. The other two are cars and public transit. I think that we need to elevate the discussion about bicycles to a level of equal importance as those other two traditional solutions, as bikes fill the critical missing gap. Only bikes can cover the distances that are unserved by transit in our largely suburban cities.
- What kind of activities and trips do you use your bicycle for?
During the warmer season, I try to ride my bike to work once a week. I live in Saratoga and work in downtown San Jose. Riding from these two places is not exactly the most convenient route; besides, I often have off-site meetings and have to pick up my kids at the end of the day, so it’s usually not possible to ride to work. My kids are still small; I have four of them ranging from six to eleven. On weekends, I ride with them to parks and on short trips.
- 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?
Shame them perhaps (j/k). I am not sure. I think it’s a culture that is slow to change, but it seems to be changing and accelerating. Having more trails and trails that are pleasant and convenient; having an extensive network of safe bike lanes would convince people that riding is pleasant and safe. I think we need to figure out ways to make bike riding an integral part of everyday’s life, rather than as a weekend exercise thing, like it is in quite a few cultures around the world. At some point, gridlock will make riding an attractive option. An architect friend of mine told me that he can ride faster than driving from Saratoga to Sunnyvale near 101 (he has an electric bike with a pretty big motor, so he can zoom at over 20 mph).
- What do you think needs to be done to achieve 10% of trips taken by bike by 2025 in Silicon Valley?More trails that make convenient connections.
More safe bike lanes that form a connecting grid throughout the valley. This connecting grid should be more than just about bicycles. It needs to be a car-free, beautiful, pleasant connector of communities. Atlanta managed to build the Belt Line, on which you have restaurants and other activities that bring people together.
Employer program that encourages or even incentivizes bike riding.
Access to safe bike parking and storage.
Electric bikes: I recently purchased one, and it has made commuting so much more pleasant. I think that electric bikes are the perfect solution for most of us who aren’t hard-core bicyclists.
- Share with us what a dream day on your bike looks like.
Ideally? I think there should be an extensive network of Bike Shares, integrated with transit. I can hop on a bike share right outside my office (it already is), ride to a light rail, bus or train. When I get off, there is another bike share that I can take to where I need to go. I don’t need to worry about parking and locking my bike because I can check into a bike share station.
- What would you say to someone considering becoming a member of SVBC? And why do you support SVBC?
If you enjoy bicycling, if you are aware of the health benefits of bike riding, if you are concerned about the environment and the future of our cities, then you ought to join. Bicycle promoters remain a small minority and we need many, many voices working together and speaking up, advocating together. I believe in SVBC because I share the same belief, because I want to work together as part of a collective effort to improve our cities.