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.
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
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.