Welcome to our New Directors!

Spring has just begun and we’re happy to announce two new Directors at the Bicycle Coalition.

Troy Johnston is coming aboard as our new Programs Director, and Steve Akers is moving up from his position on the Bike Valet staff to become our new Communications Director.

Steve and Troy

Troy is a former principal and lifelong educator with a love of bikes who recently moved to San Luis Obispo from the Bay area. Troy is our first full-time Programs Director and we’re excited to have his experience and expertise as we work to expand the reach of our programs.

Steve began volunteering at the Bike Valet a few years ago and officially joined the Bicycle Coalition staff in 2013. His experience with media production and outreach will be a valuable asset as the Bicycle Coalition strives to spread the word about all things bike.

We’re excited about the energy these new additions bring to the Bicycle Coalition Staff. Please ring your bike bell when you see them riding around town!


Bidding Farewell to Leslie

This week we are sad to say goodbye to our Communications & Operations Director Leslie Bloom.

Leslie has been with the Bicycle Coalition team since January 2010 and has been instrumental in crafting the public image of the organization. With a background and passion for design she was able to build all of our communication efforts, including our e-news, website, media, newsletters and more. We’ll miss her can-do spirit and incredible dedication over the years.

We wish her all the best as she moves on to her next adventure here in San Luis Obispo. Keep your eyes peeled for her curls biking around town.

Cheers Leslie, thanks for years of incredible work at the Bicycle Coalition!


May 2013. Photo by Barry Lewis.

Bidding Farewell to Elissa

This week we are sad to say goodbye to our Programs Manager, Elissa McDade.

Elissa joined our team in 2012 and brought years of project management to our team. With her on board we were able to grow our Bike Valet and Bike Education programs extensively. Providing more assemblies to schools throughout the county and parking bikes at loads of local events as well.

We wish Elissa all the best as she finishes her Masters in City and Regional Planning program at Cal Poly. Cheers Elissa, thanks for your incredible work at the Bicycle Coalition!


Fall 2013 Spoken Wheel


2013 has been an incredible year for bicycles on the Central Coast and the growth of the Bicycle Coalition as an organization. This Spoken Wheel, the last of 2013, includes all sorts of goodies for you to peruse:

  • Bikes & Beauty photos
  • What’s new for bicycles countywide
  • Upcoming events
  • A major thank you to all of our large donors
  • …and more!

View it on our website here, or grab a copy from our downtown HQ to flip through it in person!

Know the Board: Chris

What do you do to pay the bills? I’m recently retired from almost 50 years in Information Technology, the last 10 being at Cal Poly.

What kind of riding do you do? How often? My riding is mostly recreational at this time, usually three times a week. I used to commute occasionally by bike to Cal Poly. I ride mostly  with my wife and we participate in San Luis Obispo Bicycle group rides. We ride recumbents, solo and tandem. We sold our road bikes in 1994, but have some mountain bikes we ride a couple of times a year.

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? I think the most important role of the Coalition has been their advocacy with local government and other organizations to improve the streets, bike paths and riding conditions for everyone in the county, and for the associated increased awareness of cycling and walking that now exists within our community.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? Just do it! Stop procrastinating, dust off the bike and get out and ride, we live in a beautiful part of the country, so get out and enjoy it.

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? Their simplicity, mechanical efficiency and freedom they provide. Riding a bike is as close as we can get to the freedom of a bird, but on the ground.

Describe your favorite bicycle memory… My father was teaching me to ride when I was about 5 or 6 years old. We’d go the local park and I’d keep trying to balance, but didn’t really progress very much. Until one day, when I “got it”. I rode round and round on the grass, until I hit a tree root and fell over. The metaphorical light bulb came on and I then understood the personal freedom that a bicycle provides and how easy and enjoyable it is to get around without relying on other people or motorized transportation.

If you had a name for your favorite bicycle, what would it be? My wife and I don’t usually name our bikes, but we do occasionally refer to our recumbent tandem as “The Beast”. While it was built specifically for racing, it is nevertheless a lot heavier and less agile than our solo bikes

Anything else you want to share?  My major interest lies in all forms of human powered transportation – including submarines and boats, land vehicles, helicopters and airplanes, not just bicycles. I’d also like to emphasize how easy it is to just get out and ride. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery.

Know the Board: Yukie

What kind of riding do you do? How often? I used to ride and race road bikes but lately I’m really into mountain biking. The scenery is intoxicatingly beautiful. I love the challenge of riding on varying terrains throughout the state and the relaxed, kicked back demeanor that comes with dirt riders. Chris, my fiancé, and I travel almost always with our bikes in hopes of finding new trails wherever we go.

Around town, I ride my sweet KHS road bike. I changed out the drop bars for comfortable handlebars and threw on a basket to fit everything I need when tooling around town.

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? By far, the most important thing that the Coalition has does is create a strong voice to advocate for safe cycling and transportation. We care about our quality of life and the people around us so it’s essential that the cyclists’ voice is represented in the community. When we ride to work, school, or just to the grocery store, let’s make sure that we, as a community, provide the safest routes possible.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? New at riding? Ask a friend to go with you to a flat, empty parking lot or quiet bike path and practice the basics (breaking, turning, shifting gears, etc). Also, it’s important to learn the basics like fixing a flat and how to check over your bike before going out on a ride.

Learn the rules of the road. You have rights! Knowing your rights on the road makes you a more confident and safe rider. Even experience riders make simple mistakes that can put you in danger. The Coalition offers informative and fun bike ed classes, they are free! Sign up online at SLOBikeEd.org

Also… Have you seen how much gas is????

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? The freedom. Riding on a quiet mountain at dusk or to my house after work is my therapy.

Describe your favorite bicycle memory… Getting engaged at the top of Tequepis trail, in San Ynez; this was the most amazing ride and best surprise ever. It had rained for weeks and the weather finally cleared up this one weekend. Chris and I rode up this windy single track under the canopy and at the top, it opens up to a 365 degree view of the ocean and San Ynez Valley/Lake Cachuma. Magical. Chris and I love mountain biking together so it was a very special, and appropriate, engagement.

Anything else you want to share? Ladies, riding in heels is easy-don’t sacrifice style when on a bike! 🙂

Biking Saves Billions in Health Costs

It seems like we’re seeing more and more articles these days about bicycles and health (and many other articles connecting bicycles with the topics of today). But recently a study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives which puts numbers with the benefits associated with more bicycle trips.

Researchers found that if inhabitants of the sample region switched to bikes for half of their short trips, they’d create a net societal health benefit of $3.5 billion per year from the increase in air quality and $3.8 billion in savings from smaller health care costs…

Yet another reason bicycles are great! View the article on GOOD.is here.

If you think bicycles are a great solution to many problems also, join the Coalition! It’s the way to have YOUR voice counted when we advocate for bicycles on the local, state and national level.

Know the Board: Jaime

What do you do to pay the bills? I have been working as a Community and Environmental Planner here in San Luis Obispo for about 10 years, holding positions varying from working for the City of SLO’s Community Development Department to working for Rideshare as the Bicycle Programs Coordinator. Most recently I worked for a private planning firm, PMC, primarily assisting local governments as they address Climate Change. Right now I am taking some time off to be a full-time mom to my twin boys.

What kind of riding do you do? How often? Although I do an occasional spandex ride through wine country, and have done several century rides with my dad, most of my riding is around town or on various paths with the boys in tow. At only 17 months they are giddy when they see the bike helmets come out!

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? Although it is hard to choose just one, as a planner I would have to say that one of the Coalition’s most important roles is being an organizing force for cyclists to help us be more visible in this County. The Coalition is constantly reminding both government agencies as well as regular citizens about the needs and rights of cyclists.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? Just try it and you’ll be amazed at how easy and fun it is. As a mother with twin toddlers I feel like I am proof that it is doable!

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? Bikes are fun, and offer you a much more up close and personal experience with the world each time you are out rather than being trapped in a car. And I love the sense of community – each time you are out on a bike you are virtually guaranteed a smile or wave from another cyclist – when is the last time that happened to you in a car?

Describe your favorite bicycle memory… Everyday when I feel the wind in my face as I cruise down the hill from my house, and then again with the great view from the top of the Jennifer Street Bridge. It’s a great reward with on my way back over the hill.

If you had to name your favorite bicycle, what would you name it? My bikes name is Sheila, and she never lets me down.

Anything else you want to share? Biking here in SLO County is so easy and a true joy. I feel so fortunate to live in a community where my family can be outside together enjoying this beautiful place and leading a healthy lifestyle. And I love that you see people of all ages, fitness levels and all distinctions imaginable enjoying cycling!