[Sept. 29, 2017] Bike East Bay is seeking candidates to join our board of directors in 2018. Check out the board application to learn more about how you can contribute as part of Bike East Bay’s leadership team.
By Ginger Jui, Communications Director
For board member Jessica de Jesus, recovering from knee surgery was the first step to discovering her love for road cycling.
“Part of rehab was trying to ride a stationary bicycle and I could not even do a full rotation on the pedals without excruciating pain,” Jessica said.
Still, Jessica followed her physical therapist’s advice to keep riding and fell in love with the open road. Her favorite rides in the East Bay include going up Mount Hamilton and Mount Diablo, which are some of the steepest climbs and most scenic routes around.
Board members always bring their particular strengths to the organization. In addition to being a tough hill-climber, Jessica is a professional fundraiser and event planner who has built her career with social justice organizations working to remove barriers to opportunity for people of color, including poverty, incarceration, and access to higher education. As a woman of color, she brings this perspective to the cycling world as well.
“I do notice there are not as many people of color in [cycling] as an athletic event. I’m so hyper-aware of when I see a black person in a kit who’s clearly on a ride, like they are out there training for something. I want to be like, “YEA, YOU GO!” because it’s just so rare!”
Jessica joined the board of directors in January 2015, when she lived in Emeryville and regularly commuted by bike to work in Oakland.
“Because I’m a commuter, I see the value of promoting safe cycling and seeing more people on bikes.” Jessica said. “You want other cyclists to feel safe. Anything to inspire people to ride bicycles and get out of their cars seemed like a good idea to me.”
As a board member, Jessica took part in helping craft our Statement of Values for Equity and Social Justice, which was released in January 2017.
“I feel really proud that [Bike East Bay] is tackling the issues of race and equity, because those are conversations that are so hard to have. It’s easy to dismiss those conversations at an organization focused on biking…I’m proud that [Bike East Bay] is keeping that on the forefront,” Jessica said.
Jessica’s advice for anyone interested in joining the board?
“Be ready to roll your sleeves up and be part of the team. And prepare to be inspired and energized by the people who make this organization go.”