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July 2011: Austin Sos, San Rafael
Austin Sos photo

Why do you bicycle?

I bicycle for recreation, work, errands, and to visit friends.  Much of the time, it is need-based; I need to get somewhere or pick up something.  Other times, I go mountain biking and enjoy the great recreation and mountain biking trains in Marin.  I find it fun to ride a bicycle and it is great exercise.

What prompted you to stop by the booth at the Marin county Fair this year, and take our short survey (which automatically registered you to win a Mike's Bikes of San Rafael Blobe Vienna 3-Disc Commuter bicycle?

I had not heard of the WalkBikeMarin Program and I wanted to learn more about it, and what projects where happening in Marin county.  It has been really exciting to see many projects such as the Cal Park Hill Tunnel and Puerto Suello Hill Paths completed.  While many other counties are cutting back on expanding their bicycle infrastructure, Marin is still moving ahead with many new projects in the pipeline.  I took the survey because I have been thinking about buying a new bicycle for community, and thought it would be nice to win one!

What is the best ride you've ever gone on in Marin and why?

One of my favorite rides is riding up to the Nike Missile site from China Camp and following the ridge to the mocrowave towers.  There are places where you can see the Richmond-San Rafael, Bay and golden Gate bridges with San Francisco, Oakland, and Mt. Tam in the distance.

We understand that you'll use your new Mike's Bikes Globe Vienne 3-Disc bicycle while attending UCLA this fall.  Will this be your only means of transportation? 

The Globe Vienna and my old mountain bike will be my only personal transportation options in the Los Angeles area.  This is mainly because owning and maintaining a car is expensive and this would add a lot to my general expenses at a time when tuition keeps going up every year.  Since I'm in the middle of a city, parking a car will not be cheap and there are a lot of places where there's no space to park.  Riding a bicycle means I get free rock star parking everywhere I go.  Lastly, because I'm in a city, everything I need will be close by, so commuting by bike will not take much longer than using a car.  It is also a grea way to get my daily exercise.

What are you studying at UCLA and does bicycling/non-motorized transportation have a role in your studies?

I am studying urban planning with a focus in transportation studies for graduate school.  Bicycling and non-motorized (some call it active transportation) will play an important role in my studies.  Many cicites in the country are realizing that most people live close to work, schools, grocery stores, shopping, parks, and friends but they drive to all of those places.  Studies have found that where there is a lack of inviting sidewalks and safe bike lanes, people do not feel comfortable walking or biking.  You can see this in a city like San Rafael which has a lot of streets you can drive on, but many key routes are not safe to bike and many sidewalks are uninviting.  All cities and town in this country have a complete network of streets to drive on but very few have a complete and direct network of inviting sidewalks and safe bike lanes.  So, we will see a lot of this type of planning and infrascrutcutre improvements being done in the future.

July 2010: Bruce Richard, Mill Valley
Bruce Richard photoOccupation: Board of Directors, Environmental Forum of Marin

What are your reasons for biking?
I've been enjoying an increase in the utilitarian use of my bicycle, as I work from a home office and either walk or bicycle more than four times per week for work or to run errands.  In fact, instead of dreading the upcoming wet weather, I'm anxious to show off my new rain gear and accessories, along with my new Raleigh circa i3 from Mike's Bikes in San Rafael!  The bicycle's a great component to any individual's mobility: to attend meetings, shop, and run errands by bike feels so much better than jumping into a car!

What obstacles to bicycling are issues where you live in Marin County?
I've lived in the Tam Valley area for over 14 years and have watched improvements being made to the Tennessee Valley trails, yet some of the bicycle routes to essential services are limited, especially in the Tam Valley area.  Drivers are aggressive, especially Shoreline Highway, which is certainly a deterrent for young children and teens to bicycle locally.

What approach do you think Marin County residents should take to help promote walking and bicycling?
It is important to ask:  ‘What can we do?  How do we change behavior from a more positive place?' Your choice of alternative transportation can be a model to others, and can magnify.  If word gets out that you are making sustainable, green choices, and others may be motivated to do the same.  All residents of the County of Marin are in a unique position to influence and motivate others in the county toward healthier, greener choices, due to the terrain, and the positive, upbeat character of those who live and work here.

April 2010: Steve Bode, Yuba
Steve Bode photoOccupation: Director of Sales & Marketing, Yuba Bicycles

Why do you ride your bike?
I like the idea that I am reducing the number of cars on the road, especially during commute times. But I also enjoy riding. It refreshes me and keeps me in shape.

How long have you been a cyclist? What got you started?
I’ve ridden all my life. After high school, I toured around Europe for a year on bicycle. In college I did not drive a car. I took up mountain biking because I love being in the mountains and Marin is mountain bike heaven. My friends got me into road riding and training for century rides.

Why do you think bicycling is important to Marin County?
Marin County has committed itself to a target of 15-20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and transportation accounts for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Yuba is committed to helping Marin County reach this target by providing sustainable transportation via its Mundo cargo bikes.

February 2009: Greg Remaly, Mill Valley
Greg Remaly photoOccupation: Tutor and professional triathlete

How often do you walk, run and ride your bicycle?
I ride my bike six to seven times a week, 20-75 miles a day. I run five times per week, 5-10 miles a day. Three times a week I walk to and from my swimming club.

Where are your favorite places to walk, run and ride a bicycle in Marin?
I'd love to take a date hiking up Horse Hill sometime - it's right by where I live and it is gorgeous at all times of day. Camino Alto, Blithedale Summit, and Kite Hill are pretty fantastic for running as well. When it comes to bicycling, I love biking up Mt Tam, Alpine Dam, and Bolinas-Fairfax.

Why are walking, running and bicycling important to you?
Biking and walking are healthy, energizing activities which are good for the environment and your physical and mental health. Marin County offers so much scenic beauty, great weather, and a multitude of amazing, trails, fire roads, and roads for hiking and biking that it would be absolutely senseless to pass it up.

January 2009: Celia Graterol, Mill Valley
Celia Graterol photoOccupation:
Mountain bike tour guide and teacher

How often do you ride your bicycle?
Usually 5 days a week, about 50-70 off road miles, and about 30-40 road miles commuting to meeting in San Francisco and around Marin.

When and why did you start riding a bike regularly?
About 8 years, I needed to get in shape and lose weight so I started to commute to San Francisco on my road bike. Over a couple of years I lost about 50 pounds, and along the way I fell in love with cycling and mountain biking.

What are your reasons for bicycling?
Mountain Biking provides me with the opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous Marin outdoors, exercise and experience the adrenaline rush when riding challenging singletracks. After a good mountain bike ride I am relaxed, filled with joy and love for life.

What would help you to bike more often?
Opening all the old train system tunnels in Marin so there is a flat way separated from cars to road ride from Sausalito all the way to Novato. And opening more off-road singletrack trails, in particular in Mt. Tam where all singletracks but one (Coastal View trail) are closed to bikes.

December 2008: Mike Schulst, San Rafael
Mike Schulst photoOccupation: Middle School Science Teacher

How often do you ride your bicycle?
I bike to work 3-5 times a week, and try to do an additional recreational ride on the weekends.

When did you start riding a bike regularly?
I started riding an extra small “ten speed” style bike when I was about 8 years old. After that I biked to school. In high school, my dad was part of a group of carpool parents, and I would sometimes race him when he drove my friends to school.

What are your reasons for bicycling?
I love the freedom and exercise I get when I ride. Sometimes I do a lot of thinking when I ride, and other times I think of nothing. Either way, I enjoy it. My wife and I do a lot of tandem bike riding which allows us to actually talk the entire time we ride with out having to share a lane. It’s a great way to spend time together. Also, I love doing errands on my bike and avoiding all the traffic and parking hassles than come with driving.

Why is biking important to Marin County and to you?
It’s nice knowing that you feel better arriving at your destination than you did when you left to get there. Marin is one of the most beautiful places to ride in the world!

September 2008: Linda Ojeda, Sausalito
Linda Ojeda photoOccupation: Nutritionist, author, and speaker

How long have you been walking in Sausalito?
16 years. After we felt settled, it was one of the first things I did. Why do you walk? Let me count the ways! I walk because I cannot run. I jogged for about 20 years and then when my body told me it was time to stop, I did the next best thing. I walked. When I walk I release anxiety, solve problems, and pray for guidance. It’s great therapy. I love to experience nature, the flowers, the deer, the seal lions, the fog over the bay. Each day brings something new and exciting for which I’m thankful. I love the community feeling of bumping into friends and acquaintances on my walks, even though sometimes I’m late for other events. I would hate to miss out on my chance meetings.

What kind of trips do you make?
My daily routine is to walk for about an hour and a half up and down the hills. Sometimes I throw in steps and change my direction or explore new streets. I always end up by the water. Occasionally, I will go on hikes with friends to Muir Woods or up to Mount Tam. There are endless numbers of interesting trails.

July 2008: Dee Cobia, Terra Linda
Dee Cobia photoOccupation: Director of Children's Ministries

How often do you bike? I bicycle to and from work every day, and about two days a week for pleasure with my husband.

When did you start bicycling? Although I was born in Walnut Creek, I was raised in the Netherlands where I (like many others) bicycled as a primary mode of transportation. I received my very first bicycle from my parents as a young child, and I bought my first brand new bicycle as an adult at the age of 37. Recently I was the lucky winner of a random WalkBikeMarin drawing for a fully-outfitted commuter bicycle.

What is your favorite ride in Marin? My favorite ride is trekking all along the Tiburon peninsula, and finishing in Mill Valley. Riding through China Camp is also great, plus, riding from south Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco – there’s nothing more breathtaking.

Why is biking important to Marin County and to you? I think it’s great that the County is creating and promoting a more friendly, safer environment for bicyclists to enjoy their riding experience. My husband and I have Mondays off. One of the coolest things is that we get to take a bike ride together, and see all of the beautiful scenery Marin has to offer – from ocean to mountain views, all at the same time.

June 2008: Kate Ames, San Anselmo
Kate Ames photoOccupation: Registered nurse

How often do you walk?
I walk several times a week. And when time allows, I like to spend at least 1 day a week hiking in West Marin.

What are your reasons for walking?
I love to walk with friends so a lot of it is social for me, but I also love to observe the seasons, flora and birds.

What is the best walk you’ve ever gone on in Marin?
One of the best hikes I've gone on was an early morning hike along Lagunitas Creek in Samuel P. Taylor Park. We were with an ornithologist who taught us to identify winter birds by their songs. The sounds, colors and scents were so fresh and vibrant. It was a magical morning.

Why is walking and biking important to you?
It seems to be in my DNA to keep active and to observe the natural world around me. Marin provides close access to many trails with varied biomes; grass lands, marshes, riparian areas, forests and beaches. It has it all and I enjoy every bit of it.

May 2008: Harold Sloane, San Rafael
Harold Sloane photoOccupation: Building trades/artist

How often to you bike and walk?
I ride one to four times a week, anything from a quick trip to the store to a long ride on the mountain. I walk at least four times a week, and sometimes go on a longer hike.

What are your reasons for walking and biking?
It feels better, both for my body as well as my head, than driving. I see more, feel more, slow my thoughts down. And Al Gore would approve!

What is the best walk you’ve ever gone on in Marin?
Cataract Canyon after a huge rain is pretty awesome, even if it’s so well known. Any good Spring day in oak woodland terrain. One night I wandered all over the mountain with a full moon.

Why is walking and biking important to Marin County?
People here are pretty insulated in their little worlds, working hard and running around an awful lot in a big hurry. We have bad traffic congestion, and concurrent frayed nerves and stress. When you get out of your car, life just gets better.

March 2008: Mary Coyne, San Rafael
Mary Coyne photoOccupation: High School Teacher

What are your reasons for walking?
Occasionally I walk to my local shops and when I am in San Francisco I prefer to walk whenever possible. However, mostly I walk for exercise, companionship and the benefits of being outdoors in beautiful natural settings.

What is the best walk you’ve ever gone on in Marin?
Last winter I went on a hike with friends from Point Reyes Station. It was right after the greatest storm of the winter had ravaged the mountain and blown down branches and whole trees so that the trails were literally covered in green debris. The scene was a testament to the mighty winds of nature and it gave the day a special quality and gave our group in a memory that we will share forever.

What would help you walk more often?
It would be so helpful to have a way to hook up with other people who like to walk. Walking and talking are such natural companions.

Why is walking important to you?
Walking, especially with a companion in a natural setting, is the perfect exercise. It strengthens your body and renews you in subtle ways for your life tasks. Marin County is endowed with mountains, meadows, wetlands and beaches and all the trails you need to explore them.

February 2008: Brian Morris, San Rafael
Brian Morris photoOccupation: Deputy Public Defender

How often do you bike, and why?
I commute to work and mountain bike for recreation. I bike to work every day, either on trails or on the road. It’s only about 6 miles a day on the road, but on trails it’s about 12. My favorite place to bike is either China Camp or Mount Tam.

How long have you been a cyclist?
I’ve been riding a bike since I was a kid and mountain biking for about 15 years.

What do you like about biking?
I enjoy mountain biking because I get a great rush from being in nature, going fast, and working hard all at once.

December 2007: Gueidi Beltran, San Rafael
Gueidi Beltran photoOccupation:Dietitian

How often do you walk?
I walk about 11 miles a week, mainly around the San Rafael downtown area, to get to work, and to run errands and for recreation.

What would help you walk and bike more?
My favorite walk ever was a hike, to the elk reserve, but I don’t hike as much as I would like to. If I could find a group of people to go hiking with, it would help me walk and hike more.

Why is walking important to you?
Walking is an ideal form of commuting to and from work, because it provides me with the opportunity to get in shape while commuting, it helps my overall attitude and reduces commute cost!

November 2007: Maureen Gaffney, Fairfax
Maureen Gaffney photoHow often do you walk and bike?
I walk every day (10 miles per week), and I bike about 60 miles a week as well.

Why do you walk and bike?
I started biking when I was a kid, so I could get where I wanted to go, and I haven’t stopped since. I bike and walk for recreation, commuting, shopping….and, of course, walking the dog.

What would help you walk and bike more?
If I could spend less time working and commuting, I would walk and bike more. I also wish we had a bike path on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and better pavement between Fairfax and San Anselmo.

Why are walking and biking important to you?
Walking and biking are the best possible ways to experience the magical landscapes of Marin County. If one is going to pay this much to live here, it’s best to enjoy all that it offers!

July 2007: Shane Franco, Fairfax
Shane Franco photoOccupation: Teacher

How often do you bike?
I commute 4 times per week and ride recreationally 2-3 times per week

Where are your favorite places to bike?
My favorite road rides are the Saturday morning group ride around the Nicassio Reservoir, through Pt. Reyes station and back through Samuel P. Taylor.

Why do you ride your bike?
I love to ride because it is good for my spirit. I feel healthier and happier when I ride my bike. Also, all my friends ride bikes so it is a great way to keep in touch and get in some important male bonding time.

Why do you think biking is important to Marin County?
Living in Marin County, one would be crazy not to ride a bike. There is no better way to enjoy and explore the natural beauty here, than to get on a bike and start pedaling.

August 2007: Margot Geitheim, Novato
Margot Geitheim photoOccupation: Payroll agent, wanna-be screenwriter, mom.

How often do you walk and bike?
I bike commute 3 or 4 times a week, and I try to walk every day, especially in the summer and spring.

Where are your favorite places to ride a bike?
My commute (the Mill Valley bike path) is beautiful. It's like biking through a Monet or a Van Gogh.

What do you enjoy about walking and biking?
Biking and walking are what make Marin special; few other places have the infrastructure and views that our bike paths have. You just don't see nature the same way from a car...

What would help you walk and bike more?
Overpasses over roads like Tiburon Blvd would really help. I'm trying to increase kids walking and biking to school and the main reason people don't let their kids do that is the danger of crossing a major thoroughfare.

August 2007: Ned Klingelhofer, Belvedere
Ned Klingelhofer photoOccupation: Stock Trader

How often do you bike?
I bike about 4 days a week, normally 60 to 70 miles total.

Where are your favorite places to bike?
Pine Mountain Loop is my favorite mountain ride. My favorite road ride is Bolinas-Fairfax.

What would help you to bike more often?
If I had more free time, I would bike more.

What do you love about biking in Marin County?
There is nothing better than riding your mountain bike in the headlands on a Thursday and Friday afternoon and looking down at highway 101 bumper-to-bumper heading north.

August, 2007: Larry Nigro, Fairfax
Larry Nigro photoOccupation:Teacher

How often do you walk and bike?
I walk more in the rainy season, but usually about 5 miles a week for errands, and 5 to 14 miles for hikes. I bike every day, and about 75 miles on the weekend for recreation.

What is the best bike ride you’ve ever done in Marin? My best ride ever was on my tandem with my wife Molly from our marriage in Woodacre to our reception in Fairfax.

Why is walking and biking important to you?
When I bike or hike I am a better person. I see, smell hear, and feel things that I miss wrapped up in a car.

What would you like to see happen for cycling in Marin County?
Riders should greet each other and watch out for each other. There will always be someone faster than you—so take time to say hello, advocate for bikes, adopt a trail.

August 2007: Cindy Winter, Greenbrae
Cindy Winter photoOccupation: Retired

How often do you bike?
Every day, about 50 miles per week.

Why do you ride your bike?
I try to never drive, on principle. I believe in alternative transportation, and I simply enjoy cycling. Last year I drove 182 miles. Cycling is good for one’s physical health, and for the health of the environment.

Where is your favorite place to bicycle?
Anywhere the traffic is not too bad. I like the varied athletic requirements of cycling, i.e. uphill and    down, curves, wind before or behind, gear shifting, balancing, etc. Fun!

Why do you think biking is important to Marin County?

Cars, little prisons of metal and glass, isolate. When you’re on a bike, how much easier it is to share a smile, or to stop and chat! The more we can interact, face-to-face with our neighbors, the greater our understanding of one another, and the greater the likelihood we can work together to solve future challenges.

August 2007: Peter Werba, Fairfax
Peter Werba photoOccupation: Information Technology Manager

How often do you bike?
I bike nearly every day. I started biking as a child, and my bike was an early feeling of freedom.

Why do you ride your bike?
Cycling is a great alternative to driving; getting out of the car and into the world is a great way to meet people and enjoy the wonderful beauty of where we live. I just started bike commuting this past year and have never felt better both physically and mentally, and I love the ride.

What are your hopes for cycling in Marin County?
I feel that alternative forms of transportation are critical to keep a healthy Marin county. Since I started riding I have met people that I would have never met in my car. I was amazed how quickly one can get around on a bike. I hope that more people become aware to the benefits of cycling and park their cars and take the bike instead.

June 2007: Rochelle Ereman, Fairfax
Rochelle Ereman photoOccupation: Epidemiologist

How often do you walk?
I walk down the hill to town a few times a week (and back up again!).

Where are your favorite places to walk/hike?
Mt. Tam, along any trail that has a creek. Deer Park, Cascade Canyon. Downtown to get ice cream at The Scoop!

Why do you walk in Marin County?
I think it's crazy to jump in the car every time I go to the store, get a video or go to the hardware store. In Marin, we live in these little communities, often with stores a few blocks away. It's good for the heart (and the earth) to walk instead.

Why do you think walking is important to Marin County?
Biking and walking are important to my health and well-being, and for the planet's as well. I also think it's important to do my best to reduce carbon emissions by walking or biking more.

May 2007: Renee Goddard, Fairfax
Renee Goddard photoOccupation: Mom and Teacher

How often do you ride your bicycle? I bike about 5 to 10 miles a day, for commuting and errands.

What would help you bike more often?

Now I ride primarily with my 8 year old who has become very ‘share the road’ savvy, and my 5 year old who is two-wheelin’ with a wobble. We would be more likely to ride more often and farther if there were more routes and lanes designated for bikers, and a little less aggression from hurrying drivers who see us as an obstacle at best.

Why do you love riding your bike?
I am reminded that we all share the air and the streets of town and are members of communities when I ride my bike. You can see people smile when you aren’t separated by tinted windows. In this busy time, a wave and a smile go miles toward helping communities feel more connected.

April 2007: Chuck MacLellan, Novato
Chuck MacLellan photoOccupation:Network Administrator and Teacher

How often do you ride your bicycle? I bike to work almost every day and go for longer rides on weekends... about 60 miles per week in the winter and up to 200 miles per week in the summer.

Where do you go on your bicycle?

With my wife and daughter, just about anywhere in Marin or Napa counties.  If I’m out by myself, I love the Marin/Sonoma coast, spring in the foothills around Grass Valley and Nevada City, and just about anywhere in Oregon. One of my favorite rides was the mid 70s Marin double metric century that started at the Marin Civic Center and traveled into West Marin and the southern part of Sonoma county.

Why do you ride your bicycle?
I bike for the sheer joy of it and the Zen-like experience of the pedaling rhythm. The people of Marin County have worked hard to preserve an abundance of open space so that we all can touch, feel, see, hear and be in nature.

Tell Us About You
We’re always looking for profiles of Marin residents who walk and bicycle. If you’re interested in being interviewed, please email us.