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Bike SLO County Announces Leadership Transition

Today we’re excited to announce that Bike SLO County Board Treasurer Tyler Wertenbruch is stepping in as Interim Executive Director for long-term Executive Director Dan Rivoire who recently stepped down to pursue other opportunities. Wertenbruch will helm Bike SLO County during the current transition on a volunteer basis. Welcome Tyler!

TylerW_Staff“I’m honored to be able to serve and continue the great work Bike SLO County hasslated for the future as well as build on the legacy that all of our staff has built,” said Interim Executive director Tyler Wertenbruch. “We’re continuing all of our programs and advocacy efforts full speed ahead,” said Wertenbruch.

In addition to their Bike Education, Bike Valet and Bike Kitchen programs, Bike SLO County advocates countywide for safer streets for everyone, regardless of whether they drive bikes, walk and or drive cars.

“The Board is thrilled that Tyler chose to step up as we begin our search for a new Executive Director,” said Bike SLO County Board President Chris McBride. “Tyler brings fresh energy and a wealth of experience with the organization. We’re confident that his vision for Bike SLO County will serve the bike community well,” said McBride.

Wertenbruch previously served as Bike SLO County’s Board President and is currently the Board Treasurer. An avid cyclist, Wertenbruch rides with Team Clif Bar Cycling and will be competing this summer in the Mongolia Bike Challenge. In addition to serving as Interim Executive Director, Wertenbruch will continue his work as IT Manager at RRM Design Group in San Luis Obispo.

Ring your bell and say hello next time you see Tyler biking by!

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! 🙂

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!

Know the Board: David

What do you do to pay the bills? I own a consulting practice specializing in organizational development and innovation and I teach English at Righetti High School in Santa Maria.

What kind of riding do you do? How often? Mostly road, some fire roads/trails, 1-2 times a week (not often enough!)

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? By providing information, rider resources and advocacy, the Coalition has put a human/organizational face on the “nachas” and goodwill associated with making our community safe to enjoy the great outdoors and get from place to place under our own power, without spending $4/gallon.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? 

  1. Add up the money you spent on gas last month. 
  2. Bicycling not only gets you where you want to go, it improves you and inspires the people around you. 
  3. It’s easy to find drivers who’d rather be anywhere but behind the steering wheel.  See if you can find a bicyclist– on a custom carbon number, a beach cruiser, a trike or a forty-pound rig with a trailer full of worldly possessions– who’d rather NOT be in the saddle.

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? They are simple, they are elegant, they are fun, they are associated in my mind with youth, health and freedom, and they spawned the ultimate ease-of-use cliche: “It’s like riding a bike.”

Describe your favorite bicycle memory: My first ride, during which I wobbled, pedaled furiously, wobbled some more, and ultimately crashed my Schwinn into Grandma Avis’ rose bushes about sixty feet from where I started.

If you had to name your favorite bicycle, what would you name it? Land shark

Anything else you want to share? ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ!

Know the Board: Branden

What do you do to pay the bills? I manage the accounting department at Better Business Financial Services.

What kind of riding do you do? How often? I commute to work daily (unless I’m bogged down with work or can’t get to sweaty before a meeting)…I also enjoy long distance touring for vacations, and I love training rides for competing in triathlons. 

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? The Coalition has definitely transformed the cycling community, working behind the scenes in the best interest of our community. I don’t think the public realizes how much the Coalition does to make everyday alternative transportation easy. Anything having to do with cycling or walking, we are a part of.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? Shut up and ride! 🙂 The first step is actually getting on your bicycle and being comfortable. That means riding around your neighborhood, taking baby-steps. I also inform people of our bicycle confidence workshop, giving students the tools necessary to be informed cyclists, breaking down the barriers.  

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? Self propelled freedom. 

Describe your favorite bicycle memory… My favorite cycling memory is between riding up Alpe d’Huez during the 2011 Tour de France, or my journey down the coast from Canada to Mexico… People ask me what I thought about for two months? Nothing. Typically when I’m on my bike I don’t think about anything, I listen to the road beneath me, and concentrate on nothing. 

If you had to name your favorite bicycle, what would you name it? Gwendolyn

Anything else you want to share? I want to thank our existing membership for everything they have done for the organization, without them the Coalition couldn’t be where it is today. My personal goal is to have every person who is cares about cycling, walking, the environment, and alternative transportation become a part of the Coalition.  

Know the Board: Red

 

What do you do to pay the bills? Gail and I worked thirty years for the State of California, Department of Defense and Retail Clerks and now they pay us to stay away.

What kind of riding do you do? How often? We ride for recreation around our neighborhood and I commute into town when I run errands.

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? Bike Ed – empowering people to overcome fear of sharing the road with motor vehicles.

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? Start slow and do what you feel comfortable with.

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? You can’t not smile when you ride your bike.

Describe your favorite bicycle memory… My daughter, Catherine, and I rode our bikes through Death Valley a few years ago.  Bicycling promoter Hugh Murphy hosted a double century there twice a year, a 200-mile ride through the National Monument.  It started in Shoshone that year, climbed over Salsberry and Jubilee Passes, then dropped to the valley floor and passed through Badwater and Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells. Then the riders turned around and went back to Shoshone.

It was Catherine’s first attempt at a double century.  Lee Mitchell provided SAG support with his specially outfitted van. Only a hundred or so bicyclists participated. As we headed up the east side of Salsberry Pass, riders passed us in a continuous stream.  By the time we reached the summit, Catherine and I were dead last.

Ashford Mill was the first food stop, at the bottom of Jubilee Mountain.  We loaded up on cookies and fruit, then continued across the flat valley floor.  Nearby on our right was the Amargosa Range, multi-colored rock cliffs rising straight from desert sand.  Across the basin on the left was the Panamint Range, crowned by snow-covered Telescope Peak, towering more than 11,000 feet above us.

Our route through the valley generally followed sea level and was fairly flat.  After we passed the Furnace Creek food stop, we saw the fastest riders returning from Stovepipe Wells.  As more and more of them passed and waved, Catherine felt worse and worse.

When we turned around at Stovepipe, we faced into a head wind for the hundred-mile trip back. The temperature was in the high nineties but the wind kept us from feeling the effect. Ride officials constantly reminded us to hydrate and we did that, to the point of overabundance.

Catherine broke at Badwater. The support crews at the food stops, as nice as they were, were openly delighted when we approached. They knew there was no one behind us and they started packing up as soon as they saw us come in. Catherine is not accustomed to being in last place and this demoralized her.

We accepted a ride from Lee and he loaded our bikes on the top of his van.  We stopped several times and picked up more riders who did not want to continue. 

At Ashford Mill, Catherine told me she wanted to get back on the bike.  This meant we were going to climb both Jubilee and Salsberry Passes in the darkness. I, of course, agreed.

We thanked Lee, climbed on our bikes and began the ascent as daylight faded.  Darkness in the desert brings bitter cold.  Our climbing effort masked that as we pedaled up Jubilee Mountain.  At the summit, we had a quick descent of about 300 feet, then began a 2,300 foot climb to the top of Salsberry Pass. 

There was no moon but the stars shone so brilliantly in the cold air that we did not need both headlamps to see the way.  We used Catherine’s and saved mine for the descent.

We stopped part way up the hill to rest and to look at the stars. A course marshal drove up and shouted at us to get our bicycles out of the road because she had almost run over them. Catherine and I looked at each other.  The same thought occurred to us both and we laughed out loud.  What a great thing it would be if she would run over our bikes and then give us a ride to the finish.

We topped Salsberry at about 11 pm. I had been half dreading the moment.  As long as we were climbing, we put out enough body heat to offset the lowering air temperature.  Twelve miles of descent presented a dilemma.  Our clothing was soaked with sweat and it was cold.  If we pedaled, we generated body heat but also increased the wind chill effect.  Also, my new headlamp was not as bright as we wanted it to be for a high-speed descent on an unfamiliar road.  The deciding factor for me was that the faster we went, the sooner it would be over.

We finally hit the last stop sign at Highway 127 and turned right into Shoshone as the headlamp flickered and went out.  Brightly lit tents and trailers drew us to the finish line where we were served a hot cup of noodles.  Catherine still remembers that it was the best soup she ever had.  My best memory of that day is the pride I felt when she got out of the van at Ashland and said, “Let’s go, Dad.  We can finish this.”

If you had to name your favorite bicycle, what would you name it? Louie

Anything else you want to share? Just keep pedaling.

Know the Board: Tyler

What do you do to pay the bills? I am the Server Administrator for a local Engineering/Manufacturing firm. 

What kind of riding do you do? How often? I ride and race road, mountain, cyclocross as well as commute. I am on the bike 15+ hours a week. 

What do you think the most important thing the Coalition has done in SLO County? I feel there are two things: develop a positive solid relationship with the public agencies and cyclists, and raise the level of awareness about how great cycling can be as a means of transportation and not just recreation. 

What advice do you have to encourage others to get on their bicycles? It is as easy as it was when you were a kid, but it offers so many more things as an adult. 

What’s your favorite thing about bicycles? The versatility that it provides. I am hooked on the bike and the fact that I can do so many variations of one passion always amazes me. I can pick a different bike, ride a different route and it is always a blast.

If you had to name your favorite bicycle, what would you name it? When I usually have a name for my bike it is when I am suffering on some ride and it’s generally not family friendly so lets just say “bike.” 

Anything else you want to share? The bicycle is so many things to so many people, but this one object can connect all of us in such a positive way. When you pass by a complete stranger and ring a bell or wave, it is like they are a friend. Not many things do that anymore and I feel lucky that I can be part of it.