Archive for the 'Club Organization' category

Build High the Bridge

| March 29, 2018 10:15 pm

“Whose strong hands … tills the soil, runs the foundry and the mill?
Fold your arms and the whole wide world stands still
Build high the bridge from span to span
Look up, fellow workers, the moment’s now at hand
Join your comrades on the line and don’t let them fall
For in Union there’s place for all”

Regardless if one agrees or not about the role of Unions, this beautiful Ronnie Gilbert’s song, “Build High the Bridge”, resonates well with ACTC. Sentiments, like No one left behind; Academy opening doors to new members; We are one, we are many; When we tour by bicycle, the world is on our side; Rejoice when friends reach a milestone or win an award; and Mourn when we lose a friend, are the intangibles that make ACTC special.

At the recent Award Dinner, Russ Stevens thanked me on continuing to lead the club and I really appreciated the recognition.

In truth, many other deserve the same accolade
Whose strong hands and legs
Build ACTC from wheel to wheel
Our club’s foundation stronger than steel
Join your friends on the pace line and don’t let them fall
For in ACTC there’s a place for all

Our work is never done and that is a good thing. It gives us a sense of purpose, a continuing challenge, and a raison d’être to be alive. Go ahead, unfold your arms and join us to make ACTC a better place for all of us.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

ACTC Mission Statement

| February 21, 2018 10:14 pm

In January 1976, a blue document appeared in bicycling circles in San Jose, with the unusual title of “The Black and Blue Bottom”. Its introduction said: “This first issue of our new cycling club newsletter would like to be a welcome mat for new members. It is fun to get together as a group and enjoy a form of exercise you can do sitting down. We propose activities that will be as varied as overnight camping and indoor potluck parties and as exciting as passing cars down mountain roads or as quiet as a roll through the park when those cars are forbidden. Whatever we do, our purpose is to come together on bicycles and be friends to one another. It’s easy; come to a club meeting or be at the start of a ride.”

This ACTC Mission Statement remains true and strong today as we are the most welcoming bicycling club in the whole SF Bay Area. Our prolific ride schedule, Tierra Bella, Sierra to the Sea, a unique ACTC Academy, and our philanthropic actions are built on the characters of our diverse membership.

The late John Bass concluded on his historical take of ACTC in 1993: “The Almaden Cycle Touring Club is many things to many people, but it is a place to ride a bike and make friends above all else.”

Looking forward to a great 2018!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Build me a bicycle that carries many

| August 6, 2017 6:13 am

“The water is wide, I can’t cross over
And nor do I have light wings to fly,
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I”

This Scottish folk song from the 1600’s, popularized by Pete Seeger, Peter Paul & Mary, and the Seekers (my favorite version), gathers a strong sentiment that we can achieve more when working together.

We accomplished many a thing this last five years and it has been joyful to lead ACTC. We have built an infrastructure that values our volunteers and lent support to our humble Board of Directors, Tierra Bella, Sierra to the Sea, and Academy leaders.

Although the stability of ACTC and our leadership group is important, renewal is paramount to our long-term success. In the coming months, there will be leadership role turn-overs, please step forward and help guide us to our next chapter.

Metaphorically, life is much like rowing a boat or cycling up a mountain, we can’t coast. Just when we think we are ahead, the current or gravity takes over. May ACTC be always going up and away!

The mountain is steep, I can’t climb over
And nor do I have light wings to fly,
Build me a bike that carries many
And all will pedal, my friends and I

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Almaden Cycle Explorers — ACTC Program for Children

| April 8, 2016 4:38 pm

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” — Helen Keller

The future of ACTC rests in part on our ability to motivate children to become life-long cyclists. In the last decade, we proudly supported children-programs such as Turning Wheels for Kids, Kidical Mass, and Aztec Bicycle Club at Gardner Academy. These programs, although meritorious, lack continuity. ACTC has year-round bicycle rides, so should a children-program (at least the dry and warmer months).

It takes an enormous amount of dedication and perseverance to transform a vision into action. Pam Harlow, having just finished with the Aztec elementary school bicycle club, will coordinate the new Almaden Cycle Explorers (coined by Lee Smolens), a home-grown ACTC program to promote cycling to elementary school children. We will have a pool of children-bicycles and helmets for Bikeathons, Bike Rodeos, field trips, ice cream rides, etc. (See a Bikeathon video by Pam below.) The Almaden Cycle Explorers will have its own budget, like the ACTC Academy. If we are successful in our endeavor, there will be many winners beside ACTC — a healthier populace, a cleaner environment, and an abundance of safer and bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Thank you Pam!

“Some men see things as they are and say, Why? I dream of things that never were and say, Why not?” — Robert Kennedy

Our vision — Almaden Cycle Explorers — Why yes!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Click on this link to see the video => Bikeathon_Video_Harlow

Call Me an Optimist

| March 1, 2016 7:18 am

“Pessimists see difficulty in every opportunity, and optimists see opportunity in every difficulty”  — Winston Churchill

Yes, difficulties abound in the next few years. In this increasingly tumultuous time, from terrorist attacks and threats of more, partisan bickering, economic uncertainty, permits and fee escalation, and competition from many old and new fund-raiser rides, nearly every bicycle club is reporting lower registration for their century ride. For ACTC, both Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea are tracking below average.

To ensure that ACTC will continue to thrive, the Board is recommending a conservative budget. For example, we will continue to ask members to pay a portion of event fee such as the Award Dinner to assure that those who sign up will indeed show up — no waste allowed. Another example is Membership Chair Dan Swanson is working closely with Publisher Lienne Christensen to provide the exact number of printed copies Black and Blue Bottom — no wasted BBB. Mailing pizza parties are now replaced with mailing afternoon-coffee, thanks to Communication Coordinator Molly Mazzella.

The second part is for us all to publicize Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea to friends and colleagues. Note that both Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea are opened to ACTC members! So if you are not a helper, please consider joining as paid rider.

Tierra Bella (April 30), the best supported century ride, bar-none, takes cyclists to the beautiful Canada loop and Henry Coe State Park.

Sierra to the Sea (June 18–25), the best and most-affordable Cross-State ride in California, goes from Bear Valley to the Golden Gate Park, covering a wide variety of scenery.

Not every competing organization will survive and many fund-raising events will be chasing the next hot trend in a few years. With the enduring dedication of ACTC volunteers and a strong reserve, we can overcome these difficulties of potential lean years and will come out as an even stronger bicycle club — an opportunity in a difficult time.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

ACTC, the Club with a Heart

| January 24, 2016 10:17 pm

Although we don’t wear our philanthropy actions on our sleeves, ACTC is a not-for-profit organization so we strive to have a zero-sum annual budget by donating a steady and predictable amount to bicycling-related organizations. ACTC is run by volunteers so all the proceeds from members’ dues, Tierra Bella, and Sierra to the Sea, go to governing our club, events such as the Russian River Rally, producing the Black and Blue Bottom newsletters and www.actc.org website, and to philanthropic actions.

ACTC has supported these organizations in the last decade.

  1. League of American Bicyclists
  2. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
  3. Adventure Cycling Association
  4. CABO – California Association of Bicycle Organizations
  5. Turning Wheels for Kids
  6. Good Karma Bikes
  7. San Jose Sacred Heart Community Services Job Link, enabling low-income earners to get to work
  8. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Engineering Department, bicycle design
  9. San Jose Bicycle Club, Junior Program
  10. Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, Blind Veterans Tandem Program
  11. Mountain View Kidical Mass
  12. San Jose History Museum, Bike Festival
  13. San Jose Gardner Academy, helped to start the Aztec Bicycle Club at this elementary school
  14. Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
  15. San Jose Velodrome
  16. City of Gilroy, Recreation Department
  17. City of Gilroy, Share the Road Bicycle Signage
  18. City of Morgan Hill, Recreation Department
  19. Gavilan College
  20. City of San Jose, trails beautification with drought-resistant native plants and graffiti removal
  21. Rails to Trails

It is hard to quantify results from ACTC’s philanthropic actions, especially with the national and state-level advocacy groups. However, with local programs, it is very heart-warming to see children getting their first bicycle, less-fortunate workers able to bicycle to work and not be dependent on inefficient public transportation, a San Jose Bicycle Club junior getting a Silver medal at the US National, and blind veterans happily feeling the wind on their face.

Thank you for supporting ACTC either as a member or joining us on Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea — count on ACTC to be the club with a kind heart.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Enduring the Test of Time

| January 19, 2016 1:00 pm

ACTC – 40th Anniversary
Tierra Bella – 39th year
Sierra to the Sea – 29th year

We are very proud of our leaders and volunteers throughout the years making ACTC, Tierra Bella, and Sierra to the Sea a success. We did not get here because of luck, fortuity, or destiny, but hard work and great leadership.

The April 30, 2016, Tierra Bella is once again led by Michael Hudick. No laurels to rest on — start from scratch to attract 2000 cyclists to ride our beautiful Tierra Bella, every year for 39 years. Please heed the help request from Rita Hernandez. There are many ways to help – I start early with parking and then stay at Gavilan to thank all our volunteers and as many riders as possible, looking forward to seeing many old friends and meeting new ones at Tierra Bella.

Sierra to the Sea, led by Steve Crosby on June 18-25, 2016, is the best and most affordable cross-California bicycle tour, from Bear Valley to Golden Gate Park. To ensure that participants receive the best possible service, Sierra to the Sea is limited to 120 cyclists. Spreading the word to your friends and colleagues remains an effective way to promote Sierra to the Sea.

Nothing comes easy, especially success. Every year, we renew our dedication to help ACTC, Tierra Bella, and Sierra to the Sea as if they are part of our family — and they are. So did early ACTC members for 40 years, enduring the test of time.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Two Score Years

| December 31, 2015 11:27 am

Two score years ago ACTC was formed by seven GE engineers with much uncertainty. On that Bicentennial Year of 1976, a rush of excitement came from ragtag groups to bicycle across the US to celebrate Bikecentennial. Our late Bill Bliss participated in the crossing on his homemade triple tandem with his two young daughters. Was it a fad that would disappear quickly? Greg Lemond’s winning the Tour de France would not be for another decade (1986).

In forty years, ACTC has experienced a lot of ups and downs. With the guidance of many ACTC leaders, our two great events, Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea (created by Rod Annable) have endured the test of time. Another member, Jean Converse, single-handedly started three most successful and uniquely ACTC programs, Billy Goats, Grizzly Bears, and the Academy. Down part? Having to say goodbye to many friends.

Today, ACTC is alive and well. Members are active, smart, hard working, generous, caring, and from a diverse background. Cycling in the Bay Area, state-wide, and nationally, is surging as more people realize that bicycling benefits everyone in so many ways: healthy, fun, less traffic and less road repair (benefits even those who drive), saves money, and good for business.

We thank Jeff Roberts for serving on the Board for the last three years and welcome a new Communication Coordinator Molly Mazzella. Have a great 2016!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

Taking the Long Way Home

| November 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Timeless travel books encouraged us to take a journey and to find our way.

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes”, wrote Antoine St-Exupéry in his children’s book “Le Petit Prince”.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, wrote Mark Twain in “The Innocents Abroad”. Other of Twain’s classic American novels are Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and many more.

John Steinbeck, known for the Grapes of Wrath, authored books with local flavor in Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, and Cannery Row. Doc Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories still exists and can be visited on special occasion.

More recent authors penned excellent travel books as well: Tom Vernon’s “Fat Man in France”; Karin Muller’s “Hitchhiking Guide Vietnam”; Andrew Pham’s “Catfish and Mandala”; Peter Hessler’s “River town” and “Oracle Bones”, and Barbara Savage’s “Miles from Nowhere”. Although many travel books are not cycling books, however, the theme is just as relevant, encouraging us to follow our heart, to search our soul, to seek the unknowns, and to discover new exciting things.

On our recent Big Sur Tour led by Brian Chun, nearly half our group took a wrong turn and went on Sweetwater to the Pinnacles instead of Carmel Valley. Guy Neenan apologized profusely to the entire group but no one was upset because ACTC members are what these travel books described — we enjoy taking the long way home.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

P.E.A.C.E.

| 9:35 pm

Pause to reflect where we have been, proud of our history and accomplishments, and to renew our energy.

Exhale and breathe deeply in stressful situations to restore balance and to facilitate the ability to respond skillfully rather than to react or repress.

Attend and enjoy the present and be mindfully aware of sensations from each of the senses.

Connect compassionately to what is happening personally, friends, family, and as a community member.

Express oneself in authentic, creative, and compassionate ways, including art, science, friendship, community service, volunteering, and cycling.

Adapted from the Stanford Health Improvement Program.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President