Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition


Teach kids safe biking, says John Pucher
You can still catch the Walk/Bike Forum
Bike commuter benefits signed by president
What California's Complete Streets Act means
October Coalition meeting topics
Bike!Bike! folk gather in San Francisco
Street Skills class in Spanish Nov 20-22
Bike-Surfliner commuting to work
2008 Commute Challenge
People Powered Ride another GVCC success
California ranks 7th out of 50 states
Bells are ringing
Bici Centro pedals on
Bike for a richer, healthier lifespan
Bike books for young children
Wet Willy Sez
UCSB bike group improves safety
We thank our active members

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Teach kids safe biking, says John Pucher
by Ralph Fertig

photo of Walk/Bike panel

From the left at our Walk/Bike Forum, John Pucher, Michael Chiacos, Grant House, and Janet Wolf. Photo by Ralph Fertig.

  • "What would you recommend we do first, what are the low-hanging fruit?" asked panelist Michael Chiacos to guest speaker Professor John Pucher at our Walk/Bike Forum. Pucher replied that most important is for us to implement a good, ongoing educational program to teach school children safe walking and bicycling behavior. Second in importance, he said, is to ensure that a complete, interconnected network of bikelanes, bikepaths, and sidewalks is created throughout our community.
  • Those were just a small part of two hours of statistics, reflections, personal stories, and invigorating ideas about what we can do to improve walking and bicycling locally.
  • While we hoped for an overflowing room at our October 18th Walk/Bike Forum, about 50 people did show up which is good for a sunny Saturday morning. We are especially thankful to panel members Grant House, Janet Wolf, and Michael Chiacos for their cogent observations and comments; to Don Lubach for moderating the panel and organizing the electronics for Prof. Pucher's presentation; to Eva Inbar who worked with me for three months to arrange and promote the Forum; and to our co-sponsors Santa Barbara Walks and the Coalition for Community Wellness.
    graph of activity vs obesity
  • Perhaps the most striking slide (above) in Prof Pucher's presentation plotted bicycling/walking/transit versus obesity for 15 different countries. While the implication that bicycling, walking and transit use cause healthy weight is impossible to avoid, Pucher was careful to point out that causality may be suggested, but it's not proved.
  • The health experts nevertheless point out that the second greatest cause of premature death in the US, after smoking, is inactivity. It's costing us $76 billion a year in health care now, and with increasing inactivity in the upcoming generation, the financial toll will increase substantially unless Americans alter their indolent ways.
  • On October 19th, I drove John Pucher to UCLA where he spoke at a transportation conference. He thanked us profusely for his two days in Santa Barbara. Pucher is considering leaving his job at Rutgers University in a few years, and moving elsewhere. I believe that Santa Barbara is now high on his list. My personal hope is to have him help us achieve better bicycling conditions here.
  • Overall, I'm totally pleased with how the Forum turned out. Afterwards, Lee Muldaver said that we should have a similar event every few months to enlighten others. Let's make it happen!

You can still catch the Walk/Bike Forum

  • Santa Barbara City TV channel 18 recorded our Walk/Bike Forum for later viewing. You can see it on their channel starting October 24th, just check the schedule on their website
  • If you miss their broadcasts, you can still watch the Forum on their website, go to Video Archive from their home page.
  • Further, if you want a copy for yourself or a gift, you can buy one in either DVD or VHS format for $17. Order it at, then pay when you pick it up at their offices in the City Hall basement, 735 Anacapa Street.
  • Finally, you can download a PDF version of Professor Pucher's presentation at

Bike commuter benefits signed by president

  • If you bike commute to work from home, and your employer agrees, you might get a tax-free fringe benefit up to $20 a month. For seven years, legislators in Congress have been trying to pass a Bicycle Commuter Act to provide tax fairness so employers could offer bicyclists benefits they already give to those commuting by car or bus. An opportunity arose when Congress rushed the Wall Street bailout package and senators sweetened it with energy initiatives that include the bicycle commuter legislation.
  • What this means is that you might be reimbursed by your employer for bike commuting expenses like the purchase of a commuter bicycle, bike lock, helmet, bike parking facilities, plus bike improvements and maintenance. Up to $20 a month tax-free could be reimbursed by your employer if they choose to offer it. What they gain is deductibility of the paid benefits from their IRS taxes, plus happier workers.
  • Guidelines are being written by the IRS, to be released before the program begins January 1, 2009. Employers will set up a process to administer the benefit—it might be reimbursements, monthly payments, or a voucher system. The $20 will be inadequate for many; for example, a $900 bike with a $300 lighting system would soak up five years of benefits. Legislators realize that, and hope to boost the amount in the future.
  • This is a very modest benefit that's only 0.02% as much as is currently going to motorists and bus commuters. However, it's finally a pedal stroke in the right direction.

What California’s Complete Streets Act means

Santa Barbara's State Street is a fine example of a "complete street" that safely accommodates pedestrians, bicyclists, bus passengers and motorists. Photo by Ralph Fertig.

  • On September 30, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 1358, the California Complete Streets Act. Authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno, it was supported by our Bicycle Coalition with several letters urging legislators to vote for it and the governor to sign it.
  • The new law requires cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their general plans so that streets, roads and highways are designed to safely accommodate all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, seniors, motorists, and disabled people, as well as movers of commercial goods.
  • We won't be seeing any changes soon. The law first requires the state Office of Planning and Research to prepare guidelines for jurisdictions to adopt. They will craft those guidelines between 2009 and 2014. Then the cities and counties must include them in the next substantive iterations of circulation elements in their general plans, although jurisdictions can certainly incorporate good complete streets practices earlier.
  • Assemblyman Leno remarked, "Streets aren't just for cars, they're for people and with the Complete Streets Act local governments will plan for and build roadways that are safe and convenient for everyone—young or old, riding a bike or on foot, in a car or on a bus. Getting people out of their cars and riding bicycles or the bus improves public health, air quality, eases congestion and reduces greenhouse emissions."
  • California is the first state to adopt a complete streets policy, although many cities, counties, and state departments of transportation have. Caltrans in October just adopted Deputy Directive 64-R1 that essentially requires complete streets consideration in all planning, programming, design, construction, operations, and maintenance activities on our state highways. This policy doesn't have to wait years for adoption, it is effective now. It says, "The Department views all transportation improvements as opportunities to improve safety, access, and mobility for all travelers in California."
  • These progressive developments are making bicycling safer and more accessible than in our prior decades of automobile transportation priorities.

October Coalition meeting topics

  • Our October 7th monthly Bicycle Coalition meeting was held at Cody's Cafe on Hollister Avenue, where 10 people dined and talked about these topics:
  • Ralph Fertig described California's new Complete Streets Act, and the Federal bike commuter reimbursement program.
  • Dave Bourgeois reported on community bike programs' Bike!Bike! Conference that he, his wife Christine, Ed France and about 200 others attended.
  • A possible "Jorge's Bike Shop" catering to Hispanics was discussed.
  • Ralph Fertig described the comment period extension for Lake Cachuma bike trails.
  • Everybody was encouraged to attend Prof. John Pucher's October 18th presentation at the Walk/Bike Forum. Other travels around town with him were described.
  • Wilson Hubbell continues to distribute bike bells to needy workers on the Obern Trail.
  • The necessity of passing Measure A was emphasized.
  • Planning for the November Street Skills class in Spanish, taught by Robert Caiza, was discussed.

Bike!Bike! folk gather in San Francisco
by Dave Bourgeois

photo of Dave and Ed.

Ed France, left, and Dave Bourgeois charge up before their presentation. Photo by Christine Bourgeois.

  • Five Bici Centro volunteers—Ed France, Dave Bourgeois, Christine Bourgeois, Clay Hartmann, and Jonathan Rodriguez—attended Bike!Bike!, the fifth annual community bike shop conference held in San Francisco last September 25-28th. The Bici team presented well-received workshops on adult education (Ed and Christine) and business administration (Ed and Dave). Other workshops were held on such diverse topics as wheel building, website building, bike advocacy, bike sharing programs, and touring for social change.
  • Our representatives collected and shared ideas with an estimated 200 attendees representing dozens of shops across the USA and Canada. Young collectives struggle to find volunteers and space to fix up bikes. More established shops, some over twenty years old, offer compelling educational programs and support paid staff. At eighteen months, Bici Centro has made commendable progress.
  • The conference was held at multiple locations. Attendees moved between sites easily by bike, many provided by conference organizers San Francisco Bike Kitchen and Santa Cruz Bike Church. When not attending workshops, Bike!Bike! people were treated to fun rides, bike films, and vegan meals. A great time was had by all! We are already looking forward to Bike!Bike! 2009 in Minneapolis.
  • By sponsoring Bici Centro, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition supports a broader movement. See and for community bike programs. Bici Centro is at

Street Skills class in Spanish Nov 20-22

  • For the first time, we're offering our Street Skills for Cyclists class in Spanish, taught by LCI instructor Robert Caiza. Spread the word. Participants will learn how to save gas money and to bike confidently in traffic.
  • Street Skills for Cyclists in Spanish
    Thursday, November 20, 5:30-8:30 PM
    Saturday, November 22, 8:30 AM-3:30 PM
    Granada Garage, Santa Barbara
  • The class is for anybody over 15 years of age, or younger with supervision. It costs $30, however ask about scholarships. Details at Direct questions to Erika Lindemann at 252-1469.

Bike-Surfliner commuting to work

Photo of Jason Osborne.

Jason Osborne awaits the Surfliner to take him and his road bike home. The train was on time. Photo by Ralph Fertig.

  • For years, Jason Osborne has lived in Lompoc and driven to his job at Veeco in Goleta. He used to drive with his wife, however she recently started working out of their home, so he was left driving alone. Being an avid cyclist, he realized that he could bike to the Surf Amtrak station and get off at the Goleta station nearly at the Veeco entrance. So in early October, he started his "Great Transportation Experiment." This is what he wrote:
  • "I'm riding from my house about nine miles to the train station at Surf, then taking the train to the Goleta station. Then back again to Lompoc in the afternoon and riding to my house. Last week [October 6th] was the first full week of the experiment. I'm taking advantage of the flat rate, monthly ride ticket for unlimited rides between Surf/Goleta.
  • Monday, first day, on the way home they had one Surfliner car and all racks were full. I had to put my bike in the baggage car. It wasn't a problem as the car was essentially empty of luggage. I just lay the bike down on the floor of the car. The conductors are very friendly and have no issues with helping me navigate to the best place to load the bike, so far. Two days last week there was luggage in the bike rack area. I just pushed it aside and thought that ‘If you are willing to put your luggage here, you are willing to get some chain lube on the bag.' I hung my bike and sat down.
  • In general I'm so happy with the service and the reduction in stress/carbon footprint of my commute that I'm embarrassed it's taken me so long to try this. If it continues to go as well as last week, I may never drive to Santa Barbara again. I feel really lucky to be able to have a job and commute that is flexible enough to take advantage of the train, and am now really paranoid Amtrak will change the schedule."
  • As this goes to press, Osborne is into his third week of multi-modal commuting. He says that the 75-minute Surfliner ride gives him time to catch up on reading. plus two nine-mile bike rides each day gives him a good workout. There is little traffic on Ocean Avenue, and the roadway shoulder gives him biking space. His "experiment" is proving so successful, there seems to be no reason to do anything else.

2008 Commute Challenge

  • Traffic Solutions ran a team-based competition in August and September where awards were given to 5-person teams with the most trips by bike, foot, bus, carpool, vanpool, or by telecommuting instead or driving.
  • There were 1572 participants on 360 teams who logged 43,145 trips that were not by single-occupant motorized vehicles. Winning teams in five different categories were Ryerson, Master and Associates, Community Environmental Council, Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, Yardi Systems, and the City of Santa Barbara.
  • Out of the six different categories of alternatives, bicycling was the dominant mode of travel. Yea, team cyclists!

People Powered Ride another GVCC success

Ride coordinator Hildy Hoffman, left, sits at the registration table with GVCC president Doris Phinney. Photo by Frank Newton.

  • Goleta Valley Cycling Club put on a memorable 2008 People Powered Ride on October 12th in Los Olivos. Over 200 cyclists enjoyed a stunning day with the expected winds never blowing participants off their 30, 70, and 100-mile courses. Except for inconvenient flat tires, no road mishaps occurred. The array of food was highly praise, keeping the PPR's award-winning tradition.

California ranks 7th out of 50 states

  • The league of American Bicyclists has just published an assessment of the bicycle-friendliness of all 50 states. Four Western states are in the top seven—Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. The other three are Wisconsin, Minnesota and Maine.
  • The ranking is based on numerous criteria like protection of bicyclists' rights, new places to ride, education for bicyclists and motorists, and encouragement. You can read about it and other League enterprises at

Bells are ringing

Photo of Wilson Hubbell.

Wilson Hubbell at his bell station at popular Goleta bikepaths' junction.

  • Thanks to a generous grant from the Goleta Valley Cycling Club, we have been able to buy and give away bike bells to needy workers who depend on their bicycles. Wilson Hubbell has stationed himself several afternoons at the junction of the Obern and Maria Ygnacio Trails, passing out bells to surprised and grateful bikers.

Bici Centro pedals on

  • Our Bici Centro of Santa Barbara program is expanding its activities for all bicyclists. Two eight-week programs have started, the Earn-a-Bike program for young people, and the Learn-Your-Bike classes that teach basic bicycle mechanics to adults. Five Bici Centro people just got recharged by attending the Bike!Bike! gathering in San Francisco, returning with inspiration, contacts, and lots of practical ideas.
  • Outside of classes, Bici Centro has open shop hours for those wishing to check out the scene or work on their bikes:
  • Thursdays 4:00-8:00 PM
  • Saturdays 1:00-7:00 PM.
  • It's at 601 E. Montecito Street, Santa Barbara.

Bike for a richer, healthier lifespan

  • People think that they're wasting valuable time when they bike instead of drive. It's not true. For each hour that people bicycle, the physical activity adds more than an hour of extended rich life onto their lifespan. — Prof. John Pucher

Bike books for young children

Book cover with Mike.

  • Looking for a holiday gift for an upcoming young biker? Here are suggestions that get 4.5 or 5 star ratings on, recommended for children aged 4-8.
  • Mike and the Bike, by Michael Ward, Lance Armstrong, Bob Thomson and Phil Liggett. Cookie Jar Publishing. Mike's pride and joy is his bike. The tale's about Mike, his best friend, and an adventurous relationship.
  • Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon. Scholastic Inc. It's the story of a duck who decides to try riding a bike and loves it. Soon all the farm animals are riding bikes.

Wet Willy Sez
by Wilson Hubbell

  • Dear Wet Willy: How come some cyclists are draped in lycra and Spandex with advertising for whatever, and colors that look like an explosion in a paint factory? Is this some kind of weird fashion statement or what? — Friends don't let friends wear neon.
  • Dear Friends etc: There are several explanations for cyclists wearing bright clothing, the most important being that it is more visible to motorists. Think of it like this: Cyclists wear neon for the same reason that Caltrans workers wear neon; it reduces the chances of not being seen.
  • Spandex and lycra—and padded bike shorts—are way more comfortable on long rides than many other fabrics. They can also be more readily designed for the types of experiences that cyclists will encounter on the road or trail. Bicycling burns calories, generates heat and can make you sweat. A bike ride can be very warm in the summer, cold in the winter, wet in the rain and spooky in the dark. Bicycle clothing is available to address all these possibilities and make the cycling experience safer and more enjoyable.
  • Also, cycling is one of the few sports where you can acquire the exact clothing and equipment of your favorite professional—and then wear it and use it in public. All it takes is cash and a willingness to shave your legs.

UCSB bike group improves safety

Photo of bikepaths on campus.

Looking east, this shows the crash-prone bikepath junction that will be improved this fall. Photo by Ralph Fertig.

  • After a summer off, the Associated Students' BIKES committee is back in action. It consists of students who care about safe accommodation for the 14,000 bicyclists on campus each school day. They're funded by a student-voted assessment that provides $90,000 a year for bicycling improvements.
  • Recent meeting have involved identification and prioritization of needed campus projects. The first to be done, probably over Thanksgiving break, is replacing the triangular planter with a painted bike roundabout and striped safety zones at the bikepath junction just south of the Mesa Parking garage (see photo).
  • The AS BIKES committee, chaired by Nathan Pfaff with advisor Scott Bull, is offering Tuesday 12:00 noon general meetings and campus bike rides to assess project sites. Anybody is welcome, check the schedule at their website

We thank our active members

  • Please thank and support the following Bicycle Coalition business members:
  • Bicycle Bob's, Santa Barbara
  • Nett & Champion Insurance Services, Santa Barbara
  • Open Air Bicycles, Santa Barbara
  • Pedal Power Bicycles, Santa Maria
  • Chris King Precision Components, Portland, Oregon
  • Run Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara
  • Hazard's Cyclesport, Santa Barbara
  • Dr J's Bicycle Shop, Solvang
  • In addition, we welcome our new member: David King. And we greatly appreciate those who renewed their memberships: Peter Glatz, Adrianne Davis, and Robert Goettler.

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