Take 5: Calling All Riders

Gene Oh of Alameda Bicycle teams up with Alameda’s Friends of the Parks Foundation for the Alameda Bike for the Parks community bike ride on Oct. 15.


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Photo by Chris Duffey

Gene Oh is the owner of Alameda Bicycle and Alameda’s de facto ambassador for family-friendly biking. He is enthusiastic about all things bike and exhibits a tireless community spirit. Oh joins up with Alameda’s Friends of the Parks Foundation for the inaugural Alameda Bike for the Parks community bike ride on Oct. 15.

 

How did Bike for the Parks come about?

The idea first started as a brainstorm that my co-worker George had years ago. Then last summer, Bill Delaney, president of the Friends of the Parks Foundation, approached me with a similar idea, and we immediately formed a partnership and decided to make the bike event a reality. Just like that the decision was made, even though we knew we needed a lot of help to pull it off, and, boy, did we get it. Lars Hansson CPA, Team Alameda, Alameda Rotary Club, Alameda police, and the city itself jumped aboard right away. We also owe a huge debt to our four major sponsors: Bay Ship & Yacht, srmErnst, Catellus, and TRI Pointe Homes, along with VF Corporation for sponsoring the rest stops.

 

Who will benefit from this event?

The Friends of the Parks Foundation. Alameda’s parks are such major assets to our community. I believe they deserve to be supported in any way possible. I have very fond memories of growing up spending much of my time in the parks. I’m thrilled to help with a fundraiser on their behalf. That said, the event is more than a fundraiser; it’s really a celebration of Alameda’s beauty and community. Our route is on mostly protected bike lanes around the perimeter of Alameda and Bay Farm, and it really highlights the fact that Alameda is an island with views that no other city in the bay has to offer.

 

Does one need to be an experienced biker to participate?

I think there will be more people in T-shirts and tennis shoes than in spandex and biking shoes. I expect my kids Marley, 8, and Isabel, 5, to ride it, as well as my 80--year-old aunties from church. This is a fun ride, not a race. We’ll have a 22--mile and 8--mile-ride option, with the starting and ending points being at Washington Park. We’re pleased that we’ll have lots of police support and volunteers throughout the route. The majority of the route is on bike lanes, and there will only be four street crossings with lots of rest stops available along the way. Remember, the ride is 75 percent on the shoreline. The cost for adults is $35 before Sept. 1 and $45 after that, and $20 for children under 16. (See AlamedaBicycle.com/bike4parks for more information.)

 

Sounds like a lot of time and effort has gone into planning this event.

Yes and no. Yes, we’ve given great thought to the details of the route and safety measures and things like that. But really, overall, things have just fallen into place easily and beautifully because of the collaboration. From the sponsors to the city officials and staff, every person we’ve encountered during the planning stages has enthusiastically jumped in and made our upcoming event truly a joint effort. This kind of team spirit is a testament to our great community. We have all been on the same page about celebrating Alameda through a cycling event and are so excited to finally see it happen. I’m actually already thinking of new ideas for phase two of this event next year.

 

What are your expectations for this family-friendly Tour de Alameda?

First and foremost, my expectation is for the event to be relaxed and really fun. I’m also hoping that everyone, including families of the bikers, show up for the afterparty, which will also be at Washington Park. We are serving lunch from Food Truck Mafia and providing a climbing wall and jumpy house for kids while the fabulous Sun Kings perform live on stage. With October being possibly our most beautiful month of the year, combined with the emphasis on fun for this ride, I’m expecting a big turnout and a great experience for everyone of all ages.

Published online on Sept. 26, 2016 at 8:00 a.m.

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