Each year it’s incredibly difficult to narrow down all the wonderful submissions we get to just one Bike Commuter of the Year–so we have honorable mentions, and when there’s an especially cool kid, a youth shout out! This year we were lucky enough to have not just one, but two honorable mentions and a youth shout out! What a stellar year for bike commuting!

Click here to read more about Marc Graci, our Bike Commuter of the Year.

Youth Shout Out

Our youth shout out is Arman Eslami, a 12-year-old Santa Clara County resident. He was nominated by an adult who says Arman inspires kids and adults alike to ride their bikes. Here’s what he has to say about bike commuting:

“I ride my bike because I like to feel the wind on my face and the joy of riding in the early morning to school and back in the afternoon sun. I ride rain or shine. Dark or Day. Everywhere. When I was younger I would see kids biking to school and back and I would think, Man, I wanna be that cool. But now, I am that cool. When I ride my bike I feel accomplished. I feel like I am on top of the world. It is such a sensational feeling. I see other people that bike to school and back, to after school classes and back, and to just have fun. I do that too. It is too fun to miss out on. It’s a great way to rethink and recharge. It refreshes me. It feels too good to miss out on.”

Awesome job, Arman! Keep up the good work, and thank you for inspiring your neighborhood to hop on their bikes!

Honorable Mentions

Deepa Bhatt

I have been bike commuting for the past 3 years. There are many reasons to bike commute- it’s economical, it’s good for both mental and physical wellbeing and it’s also good for the environment. But I just bike because it makes me happy.  It’s also a great way to blow off some steam after a long day at work. Over the past couple years, biking has become more than just my commute, it’s also my hobby and my exercise.

I want to see more people out biking on the roads. However the current infrastructure in many cities does not support bike commuting- many roads don’t have a bike lane and the ones that do often have garbage/ broken glass/ trash cans or illegally parked cars making it unsafe for biking, forcing the biker to go on the road with the car traffic. I hope this changes – with the current population growth in cities, traffic is only going to increase. Bike commuting and public transport seem to be the logical step forward. Even if people don’t find bike commute to fit their lifestyles, they should support and urge their city to make the roads more bike friendly.

See you on the road and keep the shiny side up :-)

Nara Baker

Nara’s obsession and passion for biking to work started the day she moved from New York to San Jose (5 years ago). After hearing horror stories about Bay Area traffic, she was relieved to live close enough that she could commute via bicycle every day – which she joyfully and energetically does daily.

Coming from a family with a long history of bicycling really clicked for Nara when she got to San Jose. Her grandmother lead bike tours across Europe and through the Rockies of the US and Canada in the late 1940’s – through early 1950’s. Her parents lived in Japan in the mid-late 80’s where they also commuted via bicycle daily. Her dad told her on the phone “Luckily, we lived in a place that was warm enough to bike every day.” Nara has now realized that it is family tradition to move away from home, ditch the car and commute via bike.

The rush of energy and excitement for life that she feels during the morning ride is like no other feeling. She is grateful for her body and the ability to bike, for constantly improving bike lanes across San Jose and for her supportive coworkers and friends who share a passion for utilizing bikes as their primary mode of transportation.  Working at an environmental non profit (Our City Forest) Nara is continuously motivated by the environmentally conscious, nature loving, dirt-under-fingernails plant nerds around her. Nara has found San Jose to be such an accessible city to experience via bike. Living just outside of downtown, everything she loves and needs is within a quick ride. The perspective from a bike is like nothing else – the trees are more significant, you notice little details about neighborhoods that cars can’t see, and you just feel more connected to the community.

As David Byrne says “Cycling is a joy and faster than many other modes of transport, depending on the time of day. It clears the head.