Bike Gathering Supports Silicon Valley Advocacy

Bruce Hildenbrand and Andy Hampsten have been cycling friends for more than 30 years! They lead rides through France and Italy.

Now in its fourth year, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s (SVBC) annual dinner is quickly becoming THE event of the year to celebrate an activity we’re all passionate about. It’s a great time to see cycling buddies and swap stories in a relaxed atmosphere. The open bar helped.

We met at the swank Palo Alto Golf and Country Club in the hills overlooking Arastradero Preserve. Talk about pampered. Valet parking!

I saw lots of familiar faces — bike shop owners and local luminaries. But there was also a strong showing of government agencies with a vested interest in cycling (Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) air quality watchdogs aka, Spare the Air), corporations, and bike racing team sponsors such as Webcor’s Andy Ball.

Fresh off a nasty bike crash (too many broken bones to mention here), the silver-tongued race announcer Bruce Hildenbrand livened the proceedings with an insightful interview of 1988 Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten; then he had the dinner crowd in stitches and spending money like there was no tomorrow. Money raised from the live auction of expensive bikes, vacation getaways, and high-tech wheels helps fund the SVBC.

Giro victory
Andy’s accounts of winning the Giro, racing with Greg LeMond, and his legendary race over Gavia Pass in a blinding snowstorm were nothing less than uplifting. How could anyone maintain such a positive attitude with so much suffering? It’s no doubt why Andy still loves to ride and leads annual tours through the Alps.

Corinne Winter, President and Executive Director of SVBC, recognized the volunteer heroes of Silicon Valley over the past year. High-flying data storage company NetApp took home the award for corporate support.

Bike charity
Dave Fork, who has turned the Bike Exchange in Mountain View into an institution, won the 2011 Ellen Fletcher Volunteer Award, and deservedly so. His leadership has resulted in more than 500 bikes a year being donated to people who could never afford one. Dozens of cyclists volunteer their time restoring bikes that would otherwise wind up in the landfill.

Corinne concluded the evening with a “Vision Zero: Silicon Valley” plan for 2012. SVBC will continue efforts to address unsafe intersections and dangerous roadways, all with the goal of zero fatalities and injuries. SVBC works hand in hand with local governments to find project funding.

Some 300 people turned out for the fourth annual SVBC dinner.

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