Archive for the 'Volunteering' category

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 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.

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.

Tony Le, ACTC President

A Gift to be Simple

| November 25, 2015 1:13 pm

“Simple Gifts”, a Shaker song by Joseph Brackett celebrates a sentiment that is as applicable today as when it was written in 1848.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

A Gift To Be Simple
The gift to be simple is a perfect description of cycling because a great ride can be had on any bicycle, even on a second-hand one from Good Karma, a Turning Wheels for Kids bicycle to an under-privileged child, or on a world tour owning nothing more than what a bicycle can carry (Jerry Schonewille and many others).

A Simple Gift
A gift is better given than to have it received. ACTC has incredibly caring and compassionate members and we need to be generous to the less-fortunate, especially children. Turning Wheels for Kids and the San Jose Rotary Playgarden for handicap children are both worthy causes.

A simple gift of a bicycle can change life and free children from childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. In some cases, a bicycle may be their only way to go to school.

The unique Rotary Playgarden ( promotes equal play for children of all abilities and is located by the Guadalupe River Trail. An uplifting speech by Lily Guggenheim, a teenager, at the Playgarden Grand Opening is a must see (starts with Mayor Sam):

My three favorite versions of Simple Gifts are:
Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss
The Piano Guys, Live at Red Butte Garden
Judy Collins

Tony Le, ACTC President


| November 15, 2015 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.

Tony Le, ACTC President

Remembering Ralph Coole

| September 24, 2015 7:47 pm

Ralph Coole was an ACTC original, a dedicated member, in the club the longest, championed all things ACTC, and active until his untimely passing of a heart attack Friday 18 September 2015. Ralph was present at nearly all the General Meetings since ACTC was founded in 1976, helped every Tierra Bella, Christmas light ride, ice cream social, New Year’s celebration, July 4th pancake breakfast. Even the church we meet at was his Congregational Church. When announcements were made that the church would be opened at some ridiculous hours for the pancake breakfast preparation or other events, it was Ralph who was there to open the church. Of course he was there to close up at the end too – every event.

Ralph led many rides including the Breakfast and Four Corners rides, served as the Treasurer for nearly 20 years until 1996, continued to help ACTC with many tasks including dealing with the IRS — no small task, and retrieved all snail-mails from the club PO Box. Quiet but confident, not looking for the limelight, Ralph was like a tugboat, strong and wise, able to guide and pull the biggest ship to safety. Without him, ACTC would have run aground many a times. Ralph was recognized and received a life-time membership in 2013 for his contribution and unwavering dedication to ACTC.

His family has invited us to a service and life celebration for Ralph at:
First Congregational Church
1980 Hamilton Ave
San Jose 95125
Saturday, Oct 3, 2015, 11am

Tony Le, ACTC President

State of ACTC

| August 21, 2015 1:06 pm

40th Anniversary 1976-2016

Vibrant, strong, energetic, responsible, gentle, and generous are terms that come to mind when thinking of our beloved Almaden Cycle Touring Club. We will be celebrating ACTC’s 40th Anniversary in January 2016, and hope to have one of the founding members, first VP and 2nd President Peter Enright at that General Meeting. The late John Bass wrote in 1993, “The history of ACTC is really a history of the members who made it a success”. True to that statement, I am grateful to so many members, and acknowledge their contribution and dedication to the ACTC family.

Challenges Ahead

Just as on Billy Goat rides, there are always mountains that lay ahead to challenge us. Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea are still going strong and both were filled to near capacity this year. However, new regulations forced us to be nimble. There are also more competition from commercial rides and fund-raising events. Our chairs Michael Hudick and Steve Crosby and their capable staffs are mindful of the challenge. ACTC is also reaching out to cooperate with other bicycle clubs to co-promote each other’s events. Compete, we will! Nimble and swift, we remain.

We are careful to minimize expenses and not be wasteful. For example, a nominal fee is charged for some events to ensure members who sign up will show up and therefore food will not go to waste.

Our membership is aging so we have been sponsoring programs to attract younger cyclists (Turning Wheels for Kids, San Jose Bicycle Club Junior Program, Winona’s Kidical Mass, Gardner Academy, Helmet Fitting Programs, reduced fee or free for children to join events like Russian River Rally and Awards Dinner).

Moving Forward

Although nearly 40 years young, stale, old, boring, mean, and selfish should never be associated with ACTC. John Bass further wrote, “ACTC is many things to many people, but it is a place to bicycle and make friends above all else. Our Founding Fathers way back there in 1976 were on the right track!” To remain true to ACTC’s principle, it is entirely up to all of us to uphold its legacy. Hope to be around to see the next 40th!

Tony Le, ACTC President


Finding your way

| July 20, 2015 9:30 am

On bicycle rides and in life, the journey is more interesting than the destination. There are flat and easy routes but are often crowded. There are mountains that beg the question why, and the only sane answer is that there is a killer view at the top and a bakery on the other side. Of course there is an infinite number of choices in between and they all offer us a different experience, a different journey — no one better than the other.

Do no wrong –
It is perfectly OK to go through life just minding one’s business, not harming anyone, and always be in the comfort zone.

Making a difference –
It takes extra effort to help others, to lead, to seek changes, to be a role model, to be extraordinary. Everyone has that capability but may not have the time or desire. However, I encourage that we all try at least once to go out of our comfort zone. The payback is enormous — inner peace and joy, which cannot be replicated by any other means, that you made a difference.

Go ahead, take that journey, and find your way.

Tony Le, ACTC President

Sierra to the Sea

| May 8, 2015 6:40 pm

The days are longest in June, the mountains most golden, the weather mostly warm, and the coast most beautiful even when mysteriously basked in fog. Sierra to the Sea, an uniquely ACTC event created by the late Rod Annable (who’s picture still graces the STTS webpage: goes from Bear Valley to Golden Gate Park in seven days. The 28th anniversary tour is led once again by Steve Crosby and a very capable staff of 22 volunteers. Sierra to the Sea remains true to Rod’s goals of show-casing the beautiful riding areas of Northern California in an affordable way and remains the best cross-state ride, bar-none! I look forward to greet all the participants and to thank our wonderful staff at Bear Valley and then to welcome them home at the Golden Gate Park. “Well no matter where I wander, I will always find a welcome at the end of every journey, there will be friendly people waiting, California” sang the Kingston Trio. Have a safe journey in our beautiful Golden State.
PS. It is not too late to join the 2015 Sierra to the Sea – a few more spots!

Tony Le, ACTC President

Not for the Pay

| February 8, 2015 11:27 am

We are all volunteers — the Board, Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea staff, Academy, New Year Celebration, Great Western Rally, Russian River Rally, Progressive Dinner, July 4th Pancake Breakfast, Ice Cream Social, Ride Leader Appreciation Luncheon, Member Appreciation Dinner, Black and Blue Bottom and Communication staff, Turning Wheels for Kids, Rescue Committee, Club Clothier, Election Committee, Librarian, Statistician, and more. We are appreciative of every single volunteer and know that it is not because of the pay that we are here. Deep down, we know not only that cycling is a righteous activity transforming our world into a greener and gentler world but also that ACTC is more than a cycling club.

Sure, ACTC has rides, but the members are its soul. ACTC is more like a family — we reach out to members in need and help our community to promote cycling as if our life depends on it. I am proud to be an ACTC volunteer — not for the pay.

Tony Le, ACTC President

Entirely Up to You

| December 20, 2014 2:10 pm

Happy New Year!
Let us thank Melissa Maglio and Jim Schallau, who served on the 2014 Board, and welcome Ahmed Masood and Dan Swanson for 2015. We also thank John Nielson, who served many years as Quartermaster, keeping track of everything ACTC owns in two storage sheds and the trailer.

Entirely Up To You
Years ago, Jean Converse started three quintessential ACTC programs: Billy Goats, Grizzly Bears, and the Academy. Although Jean may have started the Billy Goats series while a Board member, both the Bears and the Academy were created when she was a regular member. Another member, “Speedy”, started the Russian River Rally. The Ice Cream Social was a farewell party for Richard Brunner, who subsequently changed his mind and stayed. Tierra Bella and Sierra to the Sea are staffed almost entirely by regular members. Although I have every confidence in the 2015 Board to steer ACTC, we need every member engaged to be successful. Be a Jean, Speedy, or Richard — it is entirely up to you and all of us together to make ACTC the best we can be.

Tony Le, ACTC President