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May 11, 2010 > Alameda County 2010 bike commute winner goes green

Alameda County 2010 bike commute winner goes green

Submitted By Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) has announced T.D. Fisher as the 2010 Bike Commuter of the Year for Alameda County. The EBBC coordinates the Bike Commuter of the Year Awards to honor one resident from Alameda and Contra Costa counties who is committed to commuting by bike. The selection process, facilitated through peer nominations, targets avid cyclists who epitomize the health, environmental, social, and economic benefits of bicycling.

Fisher, an Oakland resident, is an orthotist, assessing and designing orthopedic and prosthetic devices that encourage growth, rehabilitation and medical comfort. Her clients include children, youth and adults, with conditions like cerebral palsy, scoliosis and spinabifida. After ten years of driving to work, Fisher decided to go green 18 months ago - biking instead of driving - declaring she could not drive to her job another day. Although her commute from home to office is short, she sometimes uses BART but often cycles 25 to 35 miles round-trip on a single client visit. She frequents work sites in Oakley, Antioch, Lafayette and Oakland.

As an orthotist, Fisher recalls the transition to biking was a challenge because she needs to take the tools of her trade on client visits - including electric grinders, saws, braces, scissors, cutters and an occasional prosthetic limb. A friend solved the problem by giving her a kids' bike trailer to use with her old mountain bike.

This fix worked until her bike broke due to the heavy load. The Missing Link Bicycle Co-op in Berkeley provided a Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike which she rides with a combination of folding metal racks, duffle bags and panniers for her equipment.

"It works great! I bike to work routinely and I am so much happier since I stopped driving my car," says Fisher. "People often notice and stop to talk to me about all the stuff I carry."

Fisher's love of bicycling has led her to become a top fundraiser for the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), an organization that assists people with disabilities to ride bikes and pursue other sporting activities. Fisher also engages friends on occasional "bike toodles," bicycle outings that focus on instilling confidence through safe and sensible riding.

"I have so many friends with bikes who are afraid to ride. So, I take them on guided tours around town. There is no place in the East Bay that cannot be accessed via a flat route," says Fisher.

The EBBC encourages everyone to go green and engage in active transportation, as May is National Bike Month. On April 19, in partnership with many organizations, including the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA), a marketing campaign was launched throughout Alameda County that highlights bicycling as a healthy mode of transportation. The "Get Rolling" campaign helps raise awareness, promoting bicycling as an everyday means of transportation. It also highlights the Bay Area's sixteenth annual Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 13.

Ads are prominently displayed on local bus shelters, the backs of AC Transit buses, in BART stations and on street pole banners throughout East Bay cities. Many of the Alameda County Bike to Work Day efforts are funded in part by ACTIA's Measure B, the County's voter-approved half-cent sales tax measure.

For more information regarding Bike-to-Work Day, visit www.511.org or your local city website.

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