Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – doing serious advocacy work with serious style

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Maria Sipin was nominated by her sister Andrea for maintaining an impeccable standard of style on her 10-mile bicycle commute to and from the Metrolink station every day — “Not only does she ride in her chambray dress and ballet flats with ease, but she makes helmet hair disappear instantly,” Andrea told us.

We’ve always been impressed by Maria’s ability to integrate her passion for bicycling — she is a certified League Cycling Instructor and a bicycle advocate with the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition — with her work as a disease prevention specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where she encourages youth to bicycle for health and independence.

Name: Maria Sipin
Start: Walnut
End: Hollywood
Distance: 5 miles bicycling +  Metrolink + Metro (one way)
Time: 1 hour (including time on the train)

Maria poses with her bike at Venice Beach.

Maria and her hybrid city bicycle at CicLAvia to the Sea in April.

Maria tells us more about her bike advocacy (and shares some fashion tips with us — we can always use those at Metro) after the jump. Continue reading

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – a bicyclist who helps build bike lanes

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly 'Why You Ride' series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Jon Overman was nominated for a Golden Pedal Award by LADOT colleague Rick Gutierrez for his work on a successful $2.4-million grant proposal to build 43 miles of bike lanes in Los Angeles. Rick wrote: “Not only does Jon commute to UCLA and downtown LA by bike or bike and transit every day, he is working to make sure all Angelenos can safely commute by bike.”

Name: Jon Overman
Start: Venice
End: UCLA and downtown LA
Distance: 7 miles (UCLA), 15 miles (downtown LA)
Time: 35 minutes (UCLA), 75 minutes (downtown LA)

Jon stands with his commuter bicycle. He is wearing a white helmet. His bike has a front bakset that he uses the carry a backpack.

Jon and his commuter bike. He originally built it for his wife and thoughtfully included a front rack and internal hub gear. Nice helmet! Photo courtesy of Jon Overman.

Jon graduated from UCLA with his master’s in public policy earlier this summer. Outreach and design phases of the bikeways that he helped secure funding for will begin to appear soon — keep an eye out!

After the jump, Jon shares his bike commute tips with us.

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Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – turning a two hour car commute into a five min bike ride

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Alan Kwan’s commute to work was 25 miles long and took anywhere from 35 to 120 minutes driving alone. Fed up, he decided to move down the street from his office. Now he bikes to work in five minutes or less every morning.

Start: Santa Monica
End: Santa Monica
Distance: 1 mile (one way)
Time: 5 minutes (one way)

Alan holding his fixed gear bicycle over his head.

Alan holds his fixed gear bike triumphantly after cutting his commute down to five minutes. The front and back lights recharge via USB. Note the very important brakes! Photo courtesy of Alan Kwan.

After the jump, Alan tells us why he bikes and shares tips on how to get your employer to chip in for bicycle perks.

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Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – riding down the Imperial Highway

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Breeanna Taylor bikes 12 miles down the Imperial Highway to get to work.

Name: Breeanna Taylor
Start: Downey
End: La Habra
Distance: 12 miles (one way)
Time: 90 minutes (one way)

Breeanna with her mountain bike, helmet, and sunglasses getting ready to bike to work. Photo courtesy of Breeanna Taylor.

Breeanna with her mountain bike, helmet, and sunglasses, ready to bike to work. Photo courtesy of Breeanna Taylor.

She gives us her tips on bicycling to work and tells us about handling “steep hills and scary car situations” in an interview after the jump. Continue reading

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – NASA “bike train engineer” conducts “bike train” to JPL

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Our next Golden Pedal Award goes to Charles Dandino, unofficial “bike train engineer” at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Charles was nominated by colleague Tushar Thrivikraman for spearheading their weekly “bike train” – a group ride to work that stops to pick up fellow JPL employees on the way. With Charles at the helm of the train, they’ve hit their time points nearly every week for the last nine months, rain or shine. (Hey Charles, have you ever thought about working for a transit agency?)

Name: Charles Dandino
Start: Silver Lake
End: Pasadena
Distance: 15 miles
Time: 75 minutes

Charles on his bicycle. Photo courtesy of Charles Dandino.

Charles, resident “bike train engineer” for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo courtesy of Charles Dandino.

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Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – riding fearlessly through Commerce

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week.

Vincent Baltierra, Sr., leaves his house at 5:15 every morning, pedaling his bicycle down Washington Boulevard alongside the hundreds of trucks hauling containers between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Union Pacific and BNSF rail yards. He clocks in before 6 a.m. at City of Commerce City Hall, where he works as a street maintenance helper. He’s biked to work this way for 10 years.

“Although Mr. Baltierra is 72 years old,” wrote Rebecca-Lee Longoria, City of Commerce employee transportation coordinator, “cold, rainy, [or] hot weather, not to mention dangerous traffic conditions, do not prevent him from riding his bicycle to work.”

Name: Vincent Baltierra, Sr.
Start: City of Commerce
End: City of Commerce
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 30 to 40 min

Mr. Baltierra and his bicycle at a City of Commerce rideshare event

Mr. Baltierra and his bicycle at a City of Commerce rideshare event. Photo courtesy of Rebecca-Lee Longoria.

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Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – mayor of South Pasadena, biking to work since 1977

During Bike Week LA, we collected nominations for the Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s annual competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a weekly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, every week is Bike Week!

Dr. Richard Schneider is an overachiever in many ways. He’s a pathologist at two hospitals — one in Hollywood, the other in Lynwood. He’s the mayor of South Pasadena. And he’s biked to work nearly every day since 1977.

Name: Dr. Richard Schneider
Start: South Pasadena
End: Hollywood and Lynwood
Distance: 10 miles (Hollywood), 17 miles (Lynwood)
Time: 35-55 minutes (Hollywood), 70-85 minutes (Lynwood)

Dr. Richard Schneider and his bicycle (plus high-visibility jacket, helmet, and lights)

Dr. Richard Schneider, mayor of South Pasadena, and his bicycle (plus high-visibility jacket, helmet, and lights)

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