Two generations of bicycle stalwarts earn 2011 Bike Commuter of the Year Awards: Berkeley 6th grader, Brentwood distance rider

bike commuter of the year award winners photoThe East Bay Bicycle Coalition announces Al Lim of Brentwood as the 2011 Bike Commuter of the Year for Contra Costa County, and announces Jason Hollick of Berkeley as the 2011 Alameda County Bike Commuter of the Year Our award winners, Al Lim of Brentwood and Jason Hollick of Berkeley, will receive their awards and ‘fabulous’ prizes at the Bike Away from Work Party, 5:30-8:30pm in Old Oakland on Bike to Work Day. Join us for the celebration and to honor Al and Jason.

Contra Costa County: Al Lim

Contra Costa County Bike Commuter of the Year Al Lim of Brentwood/

Contra Costa County Bike Commuter of the Year Al Lim “Our man Al commutes on his bikes, including fixed gears, in all weather conditions and against many challenges - including darkness, strong head winds and several difficult intersections,” says Michael Thomas, Al’s cycling companion and the person who nominated Al for Contra Costa Bike Commuter of the Year. “Humility is true about everything Al does and because of this he is an inspiration to all who know him,” Mr. Thomas adds. Every day, Al’s commute takes him from his home in Brentwood on the far east side of the State Route 4 Bypass, eastward along the Delta De Anza Trail, to the west side of Bay Point where Al works as the General Manager of Criterion Catalysts & Technologies, making products that allow petroleum products and fuels to be cleaner. An employee at the plant, who now regularly bicycles to work, had told Al that at his previous employer, bicycle commuting would not have been considered acceptable.  But since the boss was now doing it every day, it legitimized bicycle commuting at Criterion. “When our staff saw that their boss bicycled to work, it showed them that it was OK to do,” says Al. “When I started work at Criterion, I was the only one who biked. Now, several of our staff have regularly bicycled to work, from homes in Oakley, San Ramon and Oakland.” Al takes a lot of pride in the fact that Eastern Contra Costa is more bikeable every year. When friends from out of state visit, Al always seems to fit in a bike ride and he delights when his out of town guests marvel at the Bay Area’s great weather and the many bike lanes and bike trails in the East Bay. Al makes a point to ride to work dressed in normal attire, because “that’s what bicyclists do” but Al is also inspired by how colleagues at Criterion’s European affiliates view and utilize bicycles. They think of their bikes quite differently. “Here, bicycling is a pastime and a bike is a possession that you take care of. In Europe, everyone rides a bike to get where they are going and it would be a joke to wash your bike. It would be like washing your hammer-a bike is tool.” And there are more bike facilities in Europe on which to commute to work. On that note, Al is looking forward to the re-connection of the Mokelumne Trail at the State Route 4 Bypass, which severed the bike trail several years ago. “Before the bypass, it was much better and safer to bicycle down Lone Tree Way,” Al recalls. “Now, Lone Tree is a dangerous street. The re-connected bike trail would open up the shopping centers to the residential neighborhoods for short trips to places like Trader Joe’s, and get more people biking to work.” Al and his wife Mai have three kids, all of whom bicycle. His teenage sons, Zack and Max run track & field and sometimes cross train on their bikes, while his 12-year old daughter Sydney rides the most.  “My cycling sets a good example to my kids for their good health,” emphasizes Al. Al also runs an orphaned bike garage, accepting all bikes that his friends have abandoned over the years. He fixes many up and has given several away to friends in need of a bike. Al is also a regular guitar entertainer at the Delta Pedalers annual holiday party. Because of his commitment to bicycling and his inspiration to co-workers, friends and family, Al Lim is our Bike Commuter of the Year in Contra Costa County. Alameda County: Jason Hollick

Alameda County Bike Commuter of the Year Jason Hollick and his younger brother Justin, of Berkeley

Alameda County Bike Commuter of the Year Jason Hollick and his younger brother Justin/><br />
Meet Jason Hollick, a Berkeley resident and 6th grade student at Longfellow Middle School in West Berkeley. Possibly the youngest nominee ever for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s Bicycle Commuter of the Year Award, Jason’s accomplishments are an inspiration to cyclists of all ages! </p>
<p>Four years ago when Jason was in the 2nd grade at Berkwood Hedge School he participated in Bike to School Day and was so excited about his ride to school that he began a persistent and passionate household campaign to turn his family into bicycle commuters.  </p>
<p>At first, Jason’s parents, Sharon and Jay, doubted that they could get their family, including Jason’s then 4-year old brother, Justin, safely from their Grizzly Peak neighborhood down the hill to work and school, and then back up again at the end of the day.  But Jason’s desire to ride bikes, breathe fresh air, and help out the environment just didn’t go away.  After a year of non-stop campaigning Sharon and Jay made the commitment to overcome the physical and geographical challenges that bicycle commuting presented for their family.  Today the Hollicks ride together as a family in the morning to drop off Justin (now 8-years-old) at Berkwood Hedge School, and then ride to drop off Jason at Longfellow Middle School.  Finally Jason’s parents arrive at UC Berkeley where they are both professors in the Biology Department.  Collectively, the family commutes daily anywhere from 4-8 miles round trip. Because of Jason's activism and his parents’ support, the Hollicks continue to commute by bicycle nearly everyday to work and school.  Jason is an inspiring model of how youth have the power to help their families and communities recognize how bicycling can be a fun way for a family to spend time together being healthy and helping the environment in the midst of their busy lives. <img  data-cke-saved-src= Outside of the typical school-and-work routes, the Hollicks find other opportunities to ride together. During the summer they bike to the boys’ summer camp locations—John Nikel Park, Tilden, or Clark Kerr Campus. They also find time to bike recreationally to other prime bike-riding locations in the East Bay such as Lake Anza, Inspiration Point, or Berkeley Parks. Such outings extend even past the East Bay, for the family sometimes utilizes BART’s many options for cyclists by loading their bikes on the rail to bike through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Hollicks continue to find creative ways to utilize their bikes in junction with public transportation and eliminate the need for using their car. Sharon notes that they also reap the many rewards of biking by getting more exercise, being more aware of their surroundings in their neighborhood, saving money on gas and parking, and having extra family time. In addition, the family is able to receive a discount on their car insurance because they no longer use their automobile for commuting. For many folks, commuting on bike rather than in a car can be a daunting effort, especially as a family with young children and multiple stops. However, this challenge did not seem to phase the Hollick family. Once seeing other families riding together along their respective paths to school and work, the community effort motivated the Hollicks to continue on with their commitment to the daily bicycle commute. And Jason simply posed the question to his family, “if [they] can do it, why can’t we? The family also encourages new cyclists to not be intimated by the lifestyle change because it does not have to be “all or nothing,” says Sharon. Small steps and adjustments along the way will make a great impact, and the family also advises that purchasing some necessary bicycle equipment (i.e. helmets, bike lights, brightly colored vests) will ease the nerves when riding alongside car traffic. When not riding, the Hollicks are actively engaged in the Berkeley bicycle culture through their support and advocacy for cyclists. The family joined a local group at UC Berkeley to petition the University for the right to bring their bikes on campus shuttles to honor rider safety. Jason also continues to help out Berkwood Hedge School at their energizer station on BTWD, and often is one of the first volunteers to arrive! Jason and his family have now participated in four Bike to Work Days since he first developed a passionate interest in eliminating “carbon emissions destroying [the] planet” as an 8-year-old. This month you can guarantee that the foursome will be out on Berkeley’s streets on Thursday, May 12th, proud and excited to conquer the challenging Grizzly Peak hillside along with other East Bay bicyclists. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is proud to award Jason the Alameda County Bicycle Commuter of the Year award.

File attachment: Image icon alLimCoCoBCOY.jpg Image icon justin_and_jason_hollick_small.jpg Image icon BCOYWinnersPhotos.jpg Image icon hollickFamilyAtBerkwood2.jpg