Orange County Bicycle Coalition - Now with Paid Executive Director
12/14/11 - While still seeking, much needed additional funding, the reinvigorated Orange County Bicycle Coalition has taken an additional step to pay an Executive Director. For more than a year, long-time cycling industry veteran, advocate, certified Cycling instructor, and veteran on and off-road cyclist Pete van Nuys, of San Clemente, has been steering the efforts of OCBC, often nearly full-time and last night the OCBC Board voted to step up, and begin compensating him for his tireless efforts.
An active cyclist for nearly fifty years, van Nuys, 61, graduated from family bike rides, camping trips and adventure cycling with the American Youth Hostels. He has been a licensed racer, event director, frequent bicycle commuter, and recreational cyclist all of his adult life. His industry experience includes the foundational marketing efforts of the nation's #1 bicycle retailer, from the early '80's to early '90's a "mecca" for America's cyclists and the world's racing champions, Two Wheel Transit Authority, 401 Main Street in Huntington Beach (today, one of several, newly remodeled Jax Bicycle Centers). He also spent more than a decade as a "road rep" for bicycle wholesalers and manufacturers, and writing and worked for Bicycle Retailer And Industry News. Certified as a Cycling Instructor by the League of American Bicyclists, since 1980, he has partnered with racing champion, Race Across AMerica winner Pete Penseyres to teach Cycling 101, and other bicycle safety courses in San Diego County since 2008.
Pete's lead, via OCBC, in teaching and certifying the majority of Orange County's LAB certified cycling instructors, as tripled the number of much-needed riders who are qualified to teach bicyclists in Orange County safe cycling skills, and to be more responsible riders, sharing the same rights and responsibilities with other vehicles in the OC. van Nuys said, "One of our greatest needs in OC is to educate cycling enthusiasts to share the roads responsibly, and to advocate drivers and governmental planners respect riders' right to the road, and bicyclists contribution to reducing traffic congestion for all of us."
The OCBC was founded in 1991 by an well-known and highly respected, ultra marathon cyclist Don Harvey, an engineer who was frequently among the fastest double century (200 miles) riders in Southern California, before an auto-bike accident crippled those efforts. Don recovered well, but determined to earn a law degree and then to apply his knowledge and understanding to rectify dangerous road conditions that threatened the lives of other bicyclists, and to increase responsible behavior throughout Orange County, our area, and Southern California.
Today, Orange County bicyclists are indebted to Don Harvey's full-time efforts, and he, and another attorney, Rock Kendall, from Dana Point, still serve as anchors on the OCBC Board of Directors.
vanNuys' experience as an event director, producing some of the favorite Southern California tours, including "California Land Rush," "Mojave By Moonlight," and the "Tour of Two Forests," away from the congestion of our OC boulevards and freeways, should enable the OCBC to better partner with existing OC ride promoters like the Orange County Wheelmen. The OC Wheelmen has been an OCBC supporter for most of the OCBC's twenty-one year history, and they, the OCW run four annual tours, inviting thousands of cyclists to "Ride Around the Bear," and enjoy the "AMTRAK Century."
The OC's largest club for recreational riders, the Bicycle Club of Irvine has also been a supporter of OCBC's educational, safety, and advocacy efforts. Hopes are that the largest racing team\training club in SoCal, Team Velosport based out of the OC's Rock'N Road Cyclery, and other teams will join in solidarity and support of the OCBC's efforts - for the good of all two-wheeled users of Orange County streets and trails.
The predominately off-road North Orange County Bicycle Coalition, has contributed active board members including Professor Vince Buck to the OCBC Board. Thousands of members of North, West, and Southern OC clubs are very concerned that the OC has averaged more than one bicycle fatality a month for the last two years.
Another of OCBC's next major goals is to expand the Board, and supporting membership, to include more interested cyclists from the different, unique cycling communities spanning all ages, and disciplines of cycling.
Last summer almost a thousand OC bicyclists attended the OC premiere of a Tour de France movie "Chasing Legends," an award winning, feature length presentation that the OCBC used as their first successful fundraiser, but much more fun is planned for area bicyclists in 2012.
Interested cycling enthusiasts representing all the area's bicycle clubs, retailers, teams, government staffers and representatives are being invited to the OCBC's first "official" networking event, a "Sunset Soiree" in Newport Beach, hosted and orchestrated by Frank Peters of the Newport Beach Bicycle Committee. Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and other area cities are lobbying, with the OCBC, to earn the distinction of being the nation's first "Bicycle Friendly County."
OCBC is assisting this effort to increase tourism revenue, leveraging the outstanding network of existing roads, and bike trails that criss-cross Orange County, thus increasing retail sales and tax revenue and creating jobs in the county. Planning for the opportunity to reduce traffic congestion, provide safe routes to schools, and improve life for residents by providing beautiful, environmentally friendly, recreational facilities, The Irvine Company was a pioneer, among America's first developers to advocate the inclusion of bicycling facilities, and today Irvine has the most miles of Class 1 (completely off street), 2, and 3 (shared lane) bike trails in Southern California. Other Orange County cities are adding "Sharrows" and other bike lanes, recognizing that each "one less car" can reduce traffic congestion for all drivers, and that safe family bike routes contribute to vibrant communities.
Neighboring San Diego County, LA County, and the City of Long Beach have supported paid cycling advocates who are vying for tourist dollars, and bike commuters, who can contribute substantially to better traffic flow. Given our enviable climate and weather, and the leadership of the Orange County Transportation Authority, many more OC residents could ride to OC Transportation hubs, Metrolink stations, and many younger people are embracing these opportunities to reduce their transportation expenses, and auto emissions, creating a more breathable atmosphere for all.