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Jan Valencia, Golden Helmet Award and Phil Yenovkian, Silver Helmet Award – 2012

Golden Helmet Award: 

Jan Valencia

Visitors and locals know that when serious cyclists need extra help, Bicycling Monterey often guides them to Jan Valencia, winner of the 2012 Gold Helmet Award from the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.  Why?  Jan not only puts on a lot of miles all over Monterey County, and beyond, he is always eager to share his sage advice with other cyclists.  And he does it all with a heaping measure of humor and humility.

Contact Jan

On Twitter – @jvalen – Twitter.com/jvalen or email Jan via the Velo Club website.

Or stop by and say hello at his business, Cycle Stop Honda, 511 Abbott Street,  Salinas (831/424-0008).  Jan often bike commutes from his home in Seaside to his shop, so look for him on the bikeways!  Rainy or cold? Not likely to stop Jan.  You’ll find him out biking in all kinds of weather–skull cap under his helmet, booties, water/windproof coat, bike fender, and elastic raincoat over his back pack.

What people may not know is that Jan is also a serious bike advocate.  Advocacy tasks–and Jan might add, “especially attending meetings”–is not the joyful activity that being in the saddle is.  Nor does advocating for bike infrastructure provide immediate gratification, as does hearing a happy cyclist report back on their satisfaction after you helped them choose a better route

Nevertheless, showing up to help see that bicycle infrastructure keeps improving is a job that has to be done.  And Jan frequently does it!

Below, Jan (at right) is pictured with Jesse Martinez, when the two were on a ride with the City of Monterey’s traffic engineer, Rich Deal.  Riders were giving input to Rich on how to make Monterey more bike-friendly.

Jesse is founder of a fixie ride group.  Jan served on the Velo Club Monterey Board of Directors, besides being VCM’s Answer Man–and Jess took note.  When Jess founded his first fixie group, F.N.B., he decided to adopt the group riding practices of Velo Club Monterey from the start, to help ensure riders not only have a great time, they end the ride safely and without undesirable incidents. 

Add mentoring youth to the list of Jan’s positive impact on Monterey County!

Above, City Traffic Engineer Rich Deal of Monterey listens to Jan’s ideas gleaned from miles and years of biking in Monterey.

Jan’s bike advocacy in the infrastructure realm is both at the city level–he was seen yet again at a City of Monterey meeting last week–and at the county level. His voice was among those considered by the Board of Supervisors when they reaffirmed their approval of  Blanco Road bike lanes, which were at risk.

Bicycling Monterey celebrates the many, many contributions of Jan Valencia in building a more bicycling friendly Monterey Countyfor visitors and for locals.

Jan Valencia at the Sea Otter Classic with his wife and favorite riding companion, Cath Tendler-Valencia, April 2011.

Jan at the Seaside Police Activities League (PAL) Bike Fair, May 2011.

Jan Valencia, 2012 Golden Helmet Award winner

Want to see some of the best rural ride routes in Monterey County (and beyond)–enjoyed by Jan, his wife, Cath, and friends?  Check out Jan’s Twitpic album:  http://twitpic.com/photos/Jvalen

Below:  Jan at the Seaside PAL Bike Fair, 15 May 2011, an event to encourage more kids and others to bike, and safely.

Recognize Jan from another event?  Jan was Local Director of Volunteers when Amgen Tour of California, Stage 5 started in Seaside, May 19, 2011.

And, as he did in 2011, Jan is currently a volunteer organizer (and on-the-ground volunteer, fixing flats and repairing other mechanicals)  for the 22nd Annual Sea Otter Classic’s Gran Fondo fully supported recreational rides, April 21, 2012.

Answer Man’s out of range?

Hey, a man’s gotta put down that iPhone and ride!  For more help with those serious questions, see Serious Cyclists section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.  And see the first drop-down under this site’s Resources tab:   “Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources” for Monterey County.

Jan and Cath have some cool bikes in their collection!

June 7 is the birthday of Jan Valencia. To  honor this bike advocate extraordinare, please consider making a donation to Dorothy’s Place in Salinas, one of his favorite charities. See Dennis Taylor’s story in the 6/6/12 Monterey County HeraldClick here to donate to Dorothy’s Place.

In addition to Dorothy’s Kitchen, Dorothy’s Dayroom, and the Women Alive shelter, Dorothy’s Place offers St. Clare’s Corner, providing household goods, clothing, and food to people in need; and Youth Alive, an after-school program for children in poverty.

You may chat with Jan on Twitter @jvalen – and with Dorothy’s Place @DorothysPlace.

Silver Helmet Award: 

Phil Yenovkian

Update:  AIDS LifeCycle riders were fortunate to have Phil Yenovkian tuned in when rain surprised them in Salinas on June 4, 2012.  Click here for that story.

Phil is an avid bike commuter and advocate for bike infrastructure.  More details to follow.  Click here for a guest post he contributed to this site.  Click here, then scroll down, for another. 

Above: Phil Yenovikian and Laura Murphy on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land
Below: Phil’s family on a bicycling vacation.

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