Archive for the 'Volunteering' category

Standing On the Shoulders of Giants

| May 10, 2017 11:16 am

On the eve of Bike to Work Day 2017, know that your voice matters but only if you speak up. Your action is equally important as a role model to family, friends, and colleagues. No need to shout or be a militant, instead emulate Dr. King on your way to the mountaintop.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” — Isaac Newton

Alex Zuckermann
It has been nearly a decade since Alex Zuckermann passed, but he will always be remembered by his namesake, the Alexander Zuckermann Bicycle Pedestrian Path on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

A tireless advocate for cyclists’ rights, Alex was instrumental in getting bicycle access to BART, AC Transit, and Bay Area bridges. Founder of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Alex’s accomplishment was “his ability to collaborate with a wide variety of bicyclists and other groups. Alex avoided embracing controversial ideas, yet he collaborated with people who espoused a variety of perspectives. He was neither a militant anti-highway opponent, nor did he adopt strident vehicular cycling principles. Instead, he rallied bicyclists to support particular projects. In turn, he persuaded elected officials and staff, building their comfort with our proposals. His pioneering advocacy opened the door for future gains by cyclists in the Bay Area,” wrote Robert Raburn, member of the BART Board of Directors.

Alex Zuckermann Bicycle Trail Eastern Span of Bay Bridge and Alex (red jacket) on Bicycling magazine cover


Ellen Fletcher

Ellen Fletcher’s Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard was the FIRST of its kind in the US. Ellen, a PTA Mom, knew that safe routes to schools were critical, not just for safety, but would establish a healthy habit for children to last a lifetime.  A Holocaust survivor, Ellen spent her teen years as a refugee in World War II London, where she cycled to her factory job. This great habit never left her; Ellen was proud that she only refilled her car gasoline once a year. Ellen revived the Santa Clara Valley Bicycle Coalition (later rebranded as Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition) and was elected to serve as a Palo Alto City Council Member from 1977 to 1989.

There is not much that cyclists enjoy today that does not have Ellen’s imprint. A major accomplishment is Caltrain bicycle access that is second to none in the world, with a capacity of 72 bicycles per train, all without additional fare to cyclists. This is all thanks to Ellen and Daryl Skrabac, who started working with then Southern Pacific in 1977. At first not successful, the Peninsula Joint Powers Board inherited Caltrain in 1992 and they agreed to make room for bicycles. The beneficiaries, from bicycle access to Caltrain, BART, VTA, AC Transit, and Ferry, are not just the cyclists. Studies show that we are the most consistent users and contribute to the bottom line of these public transportation agencies in good and bad time.

“Ellen’s list of achievements and accomplishments could fill a book, but suffice it to write she’s inspired thousands,” wrote Richard Masoner, contributor to SF.StreetsBlog.org. Ellen Fletcher passed away in 2012.

Ellen on her namesake Bike Boulevard and on Caltrain

Inspirational and iconic figures make great stories but their accomplishments will lie in vain if our generation does not take up the challenge and continue to the mountaintop. Do not think for a minute that what Alex and Ellen fought for will always be here, so please stand up and be counted. In fact, go ahead and stand on Alex’s and Ellen’s shoulders. They would not want it any other way.

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

First Tierra Bella 1977

| January 18, 2017 2:49 pm

Two score years ago, ACTC, then with just a hundred members, bravely created the first Tierra Bella Century. Historical ACTC Members still with the club are Ken Schwab (Past President and Club’s Art Designer), Rosa and Lou Mason, Connie and Terry Shaw, Peter Enright (first VP and second President), and Pat Grilione. The Tierra Bella Chair-baton has been passed only a few times; I remember Jack Lacy, George Alexander, John Halverson, Mike Matthews, Brad Kurtz, Brian Bernhardt, David Seeley, and Michael Hudick.

Our legacy is strong and their accomplishments are inspiring. Ken created nearly all the early Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea artwork. With Tommie Lacy‘s help, Jack led some years despite loosing his eyesight. Michael is the longest-serving Tierra Bella Chairperson. In 2014, terminally-ill George Johnson fulfilled his Captain-duties at Machado — an unbelievable dedication to ACTC!

It will take nothing less than our very best to uphold this great legacy. Like a tandem captain and stoker needing to cycle in sync, we can accomplish most when working together. Please, let us redouble our effort by filling all the volunteer spots that Rita Hernandez and Michael Hudick are posting!

Tierra Bella, 40th to infinity!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

George_2014-01

George Johnson, 2014 Tierra Bella Machado Captain

The Children Thank You

| December 3, 2016 10:51 pm

On this bright December Saturday morning, more than forty ACTC members, led by Jim Schallau, volunteered at the Turning Wheels for Kids (TWFK) Big Bike Build to assemble over 2500 new bicycles to be given free to underprivileged children. Jim and Marjorie Schallau, Past-President Herman Wadler, and I have been helping since the beginning of TWFK. Furthermore ACTC continues to have the most volunteers. Many more chances to help — join us in 2017!

Very proud of everyone involved, the children thank you!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

 

Group photo

Old is New

| August 19, 2016 8:16 am

Years ago, we used to have the Olema Campout on the President’s Weekend in February, cold and rainy! It lasted about five years and then another eight years after we moved it to the Point Reyes Hostel. Even though only Jean and I were there during the latter years of the Olema/Point Reyes event, we still had a wonderful time. We befriended a family who kept returning the same weekend and the hostel caretaker Bob Baez, who gave us a treasured out of print book “My Life on Two Wheels” by Dr. Clifford Grave, an American cycle-touring pioneer.

Today, Muriel and Michael Hudick, with help from Linda Kahn, Jeff Lew, Lynn Repetsky, Patty Dougherty, Lou Galbiati, Jared Smolens, Donny Axtell, and Paul Vlasveld, resurrected the Olema Campout with 47 ACTC members present. The weather was great; food was yummy, scenery as beautiful as I remember.

Thank you Michael and his wonderful staff! Can’t wait to go back!

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

In Flanders Fields and the Four Chaplains

| June 10, 2016 5:02 pm

 

Having grown up in Vietnam during the 60’s, I remembered the poverty of the Vietnamese populace and the sheer war-horror. On Memorial Day, my two treasured remembrances are to read “In Flanders Fields” and the Four Chaplains.

In Flanders fields
By Canadian physician John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Humanity at its finest
In WWII, four Army chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed Minister, gave up their life jackets; Rabbi Goode gave up his gloves as well as their transport ship, Dorchester, was sinking into the icy cold North Atlantic. When giving up their life jackets, they did not call out for a Jew, a Catholic, a Protestant, or an Atheist. They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line. Their bravery and openness stands the test of time as what our nation stands for, as applicable today as when we were fighting the fascist Nazi ideologue.

Watch the Four Chaplains documentary movie on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ewJp8HhYzA

Best,
Tony Le, ACTC President

A Journey Together

| May 2, 2016 2:40 pm

A Journey together
On the 39th Tierra Bella;
Beautiful countryside
Over a thousand joined this great ride

Impossible without our volunteers
Who made Tierra Bella a success with no peers;
Janice and Ray Low
Came from faraway Novato

Although not filled to capacity,
Michael Hudick and company
Did our very best;
I was impressed

Our volunteers did everything Rita asked
Together we accomplished many tasks;
The camaraderie we treasured
A journey together

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