This series is produced by The Bike Campaign to inspire more people to ride. For more information about biking and other ways to reduce driving, contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 753-1125.
The Cycling Lifestyle-Wesley Yates
Wesley Yates, 91, is going strong. An avid skier and cyclist, and a lifelong outdoorsman, Yates recently purchased an electric road bicycle, or e-bike, from Freewheeler Bicycle Center in Davis. He rides with the Over the Hill Gang, a group in the Davis Bike Club. “I noticed that the others were getting a little faster,” said Yates. After 26 years of road cycling and unwilling to give up riding with the group, he looked into an electric assist bicycle, which requires pedaling, but assists the rider as much or as little as he wishes. “Riding the aerodynamic e-bike is like having a constant tailwind; and you get to decide how strong a tailwind you want; you select the levels of assist you want, from low to high,” said Yates. “The ride is so smooth and going up hills is great. The e-bike has opened a whole new window for me; it allows me to do a lot more riding than I normally would be able to do.”
In 1970, Yates joined the volunteer ski patrol at Sierra-at-Tahoe, and spent everyweekend during ski season on the ski patrol for the following 19 years. When a friend told him that the best way to prepare for ski season was road biking, Yates borrowed a road bicycle from a friend and joined the Davis Bike Club. When Yates first joined the Davis Bike Club, his role model was an older longtime member of the club, Doc Wright, who was then 94 years old.
Yates has held only one job his entire life—39 years in the Agricultural Engineering Department at UC Davis. Receiving his BS from Iowa State University, Wesley came to UCD in 1949 as a grad student. Once he received his Masters degree in 1951, he advanced through the ranks to Professor of Agricultural Engineering. “I never did drive a car to work. I commuted on my Schwinn 3-speed.”
Yates, who resides at the University Retirement Community (URC), focuses on his skiing all winter through early spring, and cycles during the warmer months. He goes on 3 rides each week—Woodland, Winters, and Dixon. His advice to other seniors? “Keep active.”
Drive a little less—Loretta Moore
Growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, British Columbia, Moore always had a bicycle. Her favorite was a purple banana-seat bike that, incidentally, her dad ran over twice with his pickup truck—mainly because she usually left her bike in front of his truck. Then she took up mountain biking. She loved the downhill rush of fast, technical riding. Her 12thgrade class trip was a 450 kilometer road ride from Jasper to Lake Louise and onto Radium Hot Springs.
Here in Davis, Loretta Moore pours her heart and soul into her job as the Program Coordinator for the City of Davis’ “Street Smarts/Safe Routes to School” program. Moore is a certified League Cycling Instructor (LCI); the LCI’s role is to help people feel more secure about getting on a bike, to create the mindset that bikes should be treated as vehicles, and to make sure that people know how to ride their bikes safely and legally. Her programs are creative, integrative and collaborative.
Moore commutes to work most days. Her family of four—husband Jason Wingo and sons Mile (14) and Nolan (10)—has a truck and 11 bicycles. “Most kids are thrown in a car and passengered around,” Moore said. “Cycling or walking to school gives your child travel independence—navigating, being more aware of surroundings, even using public transportation, and understanding maps—which ends up helping them a lot when they leave home; navigating their way in new places isn’t as stressful.”
Moore coordinates the “active4.me” opt-in barcode scanning program, developed by Davisite Tim Starbuck, for kindergarteners through sixth graders, and implemented by Volunteer Champions at each school site. Each child has a barcode tag that a Champion scans when the student arrives at school. The parents then receive a text or email confirming their child arrived safely. Kids that participate in the scanning program also get prizes for their efforts. Additionally, Moore is hoping to implement a student-run active4.me program for junior high and high school students.
May 9 marked Bike to School Day, created by Moore, with prizes awarded to the school with the most students scanned. The winner was Willett Elementary; and the prize was a Fat Face popsicle party, with Fat Face providing their cool confections at cost.
“We’re so fortunate to live in Davis, a community designed for people to bike to school. It’s a great opportunity. There’s no better place to live! Biking to school is so easy. If you can’t bike to school, you can park two blocks from school and walk. The point is to drive a little less and, by doing so, keep the roads safer for our kids.”
Mele Echiburu and the Cycling Lifestyle
In the 2016-2017 school year, Emerson Junior High School teacher Mele Echiburu cycled to and from work 179 out of 180 days…rain or shine. And the only reason she missed one day of cycling was that it was her turn to drive on a field trip. This school year, she’s shooting for a perfect record. One of her co-teachers, Jenn Wolfe, took on the challenge, as well, to bike to school every day regardless of weather and other factors. “We egg each other on,” said Mele.
Now in her 24th year of teaching, Mele exemplifies the healthy, cycling lifestyle. Davis is an ideal place for commuting à la bicyclette. Mele said that driving to work takes 9 minutes; cycling takes 11 minutes. Sure, there are “little challenges,” when it gets hot or it’s raining, but she has a system. And, she said, “Cycling is a nice way to debrief after work.”
Growing up near Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa, Mele mountain-biked as a kid. In 1986, when Mele was in eleventh grade, she formed a bike club. “It was a big deal,” she said, “our motto was ‘Canada or Bust.’” The club was planning to ride to the World Expo in Canada, but the members dwindled down to 2 people, Mele and her friend Sean Parsons. She and Sean had planned everything, including the route, miles per day, food and rest stops. But with just two of them, Melanie’s dad stepped in and offered to ride with them. They rode 70-100 miles per day and camped out at night. “Riding my bicycle from one country to another was amazing.”
To put it in perspective, Mele said, “A good bike costs around $600. That seemed like a lot until I realized that I pay $600 without blinking an eye to get my car fixed.” She added, “Always wear your helmet and don’t worry about your hair. Lock up your bike. And, understand that, here in Davis, a bike is often faster and easier than a car. “
Mele’s joy, commitment and unwavering enthusiasm are contagious. “I just hope that people realize how easy the cycling lifestyle is, especially in Davis.”
Maria Contreras Tebbutt
As the founder of The Bike Campaign and Director for the Bike Garage, people often ask when I developed such a passion for bicycles. As a Davis resident, I’ve been riding a 2-wheeler since the age of 6, riding by myself to school by the 2nd grade. This was right about the time that Davis was experimenting with the installation of the first bike lanes in the U.S. Then about 15 years ago I saw a photo of a family on the front page of the Davis Enterprise who had made the commitment to be car free. This family inspired me to ride my bike more often and as it turns out, Robb Davis the person that the story was about became Davis’ Mayor.
I met Tim Bustos, Davis’ first Ped/Bike Coordinator, who introduced me to a book entitled “Divorce Your Car”. This book ignited in me a curiosity to see what it would be like to reduce my family’s car dependence, reducing from two cars to one. Our daughter, who is 27 years old to this day still does not own a driver’s license and she is part of a very large tribe of millennials who eschew driving. At first my husband fretted about what would happen if we both needed to use the car at the same time, so we signed up at a local car rental so that we would have a car at our disposal if needed. As it turned out, our neighbors noticed what we were doing and generously offered the use of their spare car which we have used very rarely over the past 7 years.
Michael Conrad Viray
I remember riding a bike at the age of 4, the neighbor boys taught me using their BMX bikes which didn’t have training wheels. This was both an exhilarating and terrifying experience as I hadn’t been exposed to a bike until that point. I moved to Davis this year as a transfer student from Foothill Community College. I know that Davis is a really big bike campus and I realized that walking everywhere wasn’t really the best/ fastest way to get around. Having biked all throughout the Bay Area, it’s Davis which is the most accommodating towards bike riders and commuters who use alternative modes of transportation. Previously attending UC Santa Cruz before my year at community college, it was impossible to bike with such steep hills and taking the bus was pretty much the only option to get to campus. Now that I’m at a UCD, biking as a mode of transportation is the best way to get around.
With the single geared bike that was donated to me by The Bike Campaign, one of the most exciting things about riding it is the constant pedaling that a fixed gear requires. Previously working and commuting in San Francisco and San Jose, a fixed gear was perfect for my commute as it was lighter and there is more control and maintenance is much simpler. The last fixed gear I had before it was stolen allowed me to keep pushing at speeds up to 15-20 miles an hour while still allowing me perfect control to stop at a moment’s notice. It’s really the cool to feel the wind in your face that feels so good especially after a long day of work.
Jennifer Ann Gordon
I had a great Valentine’s Day this year, thanks to The Bike Garage. My bicycle, Petals, had been stolen and I wanted to get another not-fancy, tooling-around-town bicycle. (I don’t own a car.) A friend of mine connected me with Maria Contreras Tebbutt, founder of The Bike Garage, a nonprofit based in Woodland with activities throughout Yolo.
When I first arrived at The Bike Garage, my impression was that of a thriving beehive. Volunteers were helping customers with repairs, restoring old bicycles to soundness and safety, and supporting one another with generosity and grace. As I listened to the staff educate customers, their dedication to safety impressed me. I watched people of all ages, shapes, and sizes stop by to ask questions, talk about the rides they’ve been on, or get help with a pedal that wasn’t working.
Maria was there to greet me. She had thoughtfully chosen two bikes she thought might be perfect for me. I took them for test rides. Within a half-hour, I had a “new” Vintage 3-speed made in Austria. It fits me perfectly and rides like a dream. (I’m still deciding on a name—Lulu? Ella? Ruby? Louie? Hmm.) I also came away with a quality lock for my bike for far less than I’d pay retail. And Maria gave me tips and tricks for locking my bicycle up, too.
Hearty and homegrown, TheBike Garage was a happy, hospitable, generous experience from beginning to end…love-in-action, even—love for the environment … love for community … love for Yolo …love for healthy living … and love for cycling.
Ahh, love and bicycles … the perfect combination! Yolo County is fortunate to have The Bike Garage. I heartily recommend supporting it by donating and shopping there.