Contra Costa and Alameda County 2010 Bike Commute Winners Go Green

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) announces Louis Sandoval of San Pablo as the 2010 Bike Commuter of the Year winner for Contra Costa County, and announces T.D. Fisher of Oakland as the 2010 Bike Commuter of the Year winner for Alameda County. The EBBC coordinates the Bike Commuter of the Year Awards to honor one resident from Alameda and Contra Costa County, who is committed to doing routine commutes by bike. The selection process, facilitated through peer nominations, targets avid cyclists who epitomize and actualize the health, environmental, social, and economic benefits of bicycling.

Alameda County

T.D. Fisher T.D. Fisher, an Oakland resident, works as an orthotist, assessing and designing orthopedic and prosthetic devices that encourage growth, rehabilitation and medical comfort. Her clients include children, youth and adults, with conditions like cerebral palsy, scoliosis and Spina bifida. After ten years of commuting to work by car, Fisher decided a year and a half ago to go green - biking instead driving - declaring that she could not drive to her job another day. Although her commute from home to office is short, she sometimes uses BART but often bikes 25 to 35 miles roundtrip on a single client visit. She frequents work sites in Oakley, Antioch, Lafayette and Oakland. Fisher recalls that the transition to biking was a challenge, because she had to determine how she would effectively haul the tools of her trade via bike. As an orthotist, she routinely carries quite a load along on client visits, including electric grinders, saws, braces, scissors, cutters and an occasional prosthetic limb. The problem was solved when a friend gave her a kids’ bike trailer to use in conjunction with her with her old mountain bike. This fix worked, all until her bike broke due to the heavy load. Then the Missing Link Bicycle Co-op in Berkeley set her up with a Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. Now she uses a combination of folding metal racks, duffle bags and panniers to carry all of her gear. “It works great! I bike to work routinely and I am so much happier since I stopped driving my car,” says Fisher. “People often notice and stop to talk to me about all the stuff I carry.” Fisher’s love of biking has led her to become a top fundraiser for the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), an organization that assists people with disabilities in riding bikes and doing other sports activities. Fisher also engages friends on occasional “bike toodles,” bike outings that focus on deterring fear, making bicycling seem less intimidating. “I have so many friends with bikes who are afraid to ride. So I take them on guided tours around town.” Fisher assures, “There is no place in the East Bay that cannot be accessed via a flat route.”

Contra Costa County

Louis Sandoval Louis Sandoval is a consummate bicyclist. He lives in San Pablo and commutes by bicycle to his part -time job as an adult education mathematics teacher for the West Contra Costa Unified School District. He commutes on his Bridgestone bicycle between two job locations in Richmond and San Pablo and has done so for more than 5 years. “My Bridgestone is a real beater,” Louis says. “It’s a tank of a bike, but has a real bike rack and a pannier, and does the job of carrying my books, groceries, everything, rain or shine.” His commutes also include jaunts into Hayward to visit his mother and to take classes at Cal State East Bay. “Even at 11pm at night you can find him on the street making his way home from Hayward, via Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond,” says Raul Ramirez, a principal at WCCUSD. When needed Louis utilizes BART to transport his trusty steed and himself around the Bay to appointments and classes. Louis says that it’s not the distance. And “it’s not the weather or the terrain. It’s the traffic that is sometimes the toughest part.” Louis has ridden bicycles since childhood. He participated in BMX races as a boy. He is absorbed by bicycling e.g. easily identifying bicycles and equipment at a glance, their engineering and history. He favors steel-frame bikes (doesn’t everyone?). And when he rides, Louis is a consummate rider. About nine years ago, Louis and a girlfriend of his had a “lover’s quarrel” and she drove off down to her brother’s in Santa Monica for a Thanksgiving celebration that Louis was supposed to attend with her. Not having a car, Louis rode over to the train station in Emeryville and took the train to Hanford. From there he rode to Santa Monica and arrived in time for leftovers and a reconciliation. Luckily his girlfriend drove him back home. He teaches mathematics to adults pursuing a GED diploma and is going back to San Jose State University this Fall to get his own degree in biomedical engineering. Louis dropped out of high school many years ago and realized in his twenties a need for education. He went back to school attending Contra Costa College and San Jose State University where he earned a degree in Engineering. During his studies at SJSU he participated in a short internship with bicycle legend “Phil Wood” and then did a much longer apprenticeship with custom bicycle frame builder Dale Saso in San Jose that really stoked the fire of Louis’ love for bicycles! “Dale was a great teacher and I learned a lot from him,” Louis says. Looking ahead, Louis says he is looking forward to riding south everyday to San Jose State along the Bay Trail past the Oakland Airport and across the new San Leandro Slough Bridge. From there, the Bay Trail extends down to Union City. The new San Leandro Slough Bridge is scheduled to open on Bike to Work Day this year.

File attachment: Image icon LouisSandoval_300.jpg Image icon LouisSandoval_200.jpg Image icon td_face_300.jpg Image icon td_bike1_300.jpg Image icon td_bike1_200.jpg