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It was a gap year in the Netherlands after high school that opened Joan Cardellino’s eyes to the romance and utility of the bicycle. “The Netherlands is the biking capital of the world, right? They’ve got the whole bike infrastructure – separated bike paths or bike lanes, and bike [traffic] lights – and their drivers understand bicyclists’ place on the road. When I was a kid growing up near San Jose, a bike ride was a 10-minute ride around the neighborhood. In the Netherlands a bike ride was a whole day. I did some long bike rides with my Dutch friends. We rode into Germany and back. That’s where I really learned to ride a bike.”

Back at home studying at UC Berkeley as an undergrad and grad student (and riding a used Schwinn), her experience in Holland continued to reverberate. She ended up studying geography, with a focus on urban life. “I’m really fascinated by urban environments. Transit-oriented development, livable cities, sustainable growth are what excite me. I love the super-urban challenges.”

Support Joan’s Climate Ride fundraising efforts for EBBC

In 1986, Joan joined the staff of the Coastal Conservancy in downtown Oakland, working first on issues related to urban waterfronts in southern California and now as a supervisor in an organization deeply affected by climate change.

“We’re grappling with how to deal with climate change in every aspect of our work,” Joan says. “It’s a topic I’m really familiar with and think a lot about. So when I got the email from EBBC about the Climate Ride in northern California – I think I read it on July 4th – I thought, Wow! I want to go. I really want to go! And just on an impulse I signed up!”

This will be the first long-distance, multiday ride for Joan. After Oakland, with EBBC’s nudging, opened the bike lane along Grand Avenue in 2001, Joan became a regular bicycle commuter from her home in the Dimond District, where she lives with her husband and 12-year-old daughter, to downtown Oakland, roughly a 7-mile round trip. Now you can see her regularly on Skyline Boulevard and Joaquin MIller riding her 2005 Novarro (the first new bicycle she has ever owned), training for the Climate Ride. “It smells like summertime up there,” she says.

Joan wants to see EBBC use some of the funds she raises to continue to push for improvements for bicycle commuting along Oakland’s 14th Street, part of her regular route.

“Bicycling should be as accessible as possible, and that means reorienting ourselves, as travelers, away from the car, and as drivers, being more sensitive and aware of the needs of cyclists….I’d be very happy if my participation in the Climate Ride helps that happen.”

The five-day, 327-mile California Climate Ride promotes awareness about Climate Change and raises funds for organizations like the East Bay Bicycle Coalition that offer viable ways to combat climate change. Riders need to raise a minimum of $2400 to participate.

Learn more about Team EBBC and the Climate Ride 2012

“I still have about a thousand dollars to raise,” Joan acknowledges. To reach her fundraising goal, she has tapped her network of friends and family. Her colleagues at the Coastal Conservancy have been very supportive, too. “Everybody is excited that I’m doing it, and a bunch of people want to do it next year.”

Still, with less than three weeks left, the fundraising clock is ticking loudly for Joan and other Team EBBC Climate Riders. We ask you to support Joan’s Climate Ride fundraising efforts for EBBC. Your donations will help us make the East Bay a great place to bike. Joan and all our Climate Riders appreciate your support.

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