CA Dream Riders Pedal to Support “Bikeways to Everywhere”
Only a few days remain for riders to sign up for the California Dream Ride, a five-day bike ride/party/educational extravaganza at the end of October. The ride will follow a route from Santa Barbara to San Diego, ending at the beginning of the National Bicycle Tourism conference.
Along with the dreamy parts, where participants will get to ride along California’s beautiful coastline, there will also be opportunities to meet local bike advocates to talk about their dreams for making their areas more bike friendly. Highlights include a stop in Ojai, a ride through the Oxnard plain and another along the L.A. River, a stay at a Santa Monica hostel, lunch at L.A. City Hall, and a night aboard the Queen Mary.
The ride is a fundraiser for the California Bicycle Coalition’s Bikeways to Everywhere Initiative, a campaign to create connected bikeway networks throughout California. CalBike’s goal is to make bicycling in California comfortable for everyone, no matter what age or ability. Recent successes include the Three Feet for Safety Law, passage of a bill to permit protected bike lanes in California, and winning an increase in funding for bike infrastructure.
CalBike’s next goals include getting funding for networks of protected bike lanes and quiet streets and paths. Larger grants will make it possible to plan for bicycling in networks rather than piecemeal fashion with one bike lane at a time. CalBike is also pushing to make sure the disadvantaged communities who most need better infrastructure can get it.
In addition, the organization is putting together an educational initiative to offer online and in-person workshops for mayors, city planning departments, and other local officials on why protected bikeways are so important to growing ridership and how to get the funding for them. More information about CalBike’s initiative, and the reasons for it, can be found here.
Over half of this year’s Dream Ride participants so far are women. One of the riders who has already signed up is Simone Wojtaszek, who lives and rides her bike in Oakland. She’s doing the ride because “it sounds like a fun time” but also because, with a job that keeps her traveling, she has a hard time committing to a regular volunteer position but wants to support the work that CalBike is doing.
“I see the impact of what CalBike does on my commute,” she said. She rides her bike from near Oakland downtown to the Coliseum, not exactly one of the most bicycle-friendly routes in the Bay Area. “I stay close to the water,” she said, “and once you hit Martin Luther King, Jr. Park it’s a straight shot. But there are some rough parts; there are a lot of warehouses, and traffic is bad where people cross into Alameda.”
She has seen CalBike advocate for cleaning up a particularly difficult overpass, so she is especially supportive of CalBike’s work. “This is exactly the kind of thing I want to be fundraising for,” she said. “It affects me every single day.”
Another rider who has signed up is Maria Contreras Tubbit, who lives in Davis. She is the founder and director of the Bike Campaign for Yolo County, which encourages and teaches people to ride bikes. She also runs the Bike Garage in Woodland, which lends bikes out, teaches people how to fix them, and sells inexpensive used bikes to community members.
“What a great opportunity to get to know the people who support making California a better place to ride,” she says on CalBike’s event page. “My hope is that someday everyone in California will have a safe, fun route to ride a bicycle wherever they need to go. Together, we’re making California a cleaner, healthier, friendlier, more prosperous place through bicycling.”
To anyone who is thinking of signing up, but hasn’t yet, Simone has this to say: “Go for it. It’s going to be a fun time. I am really looking forward to meeting and connecting people on this ride.”
Registration for the ride closes on Friday, October 2.