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Velo Club Monterey – Roadies who love parties–and so much more!

Who needs a BMW? Mireya looks happy with a BMX! And Vera seems content on any sort of bike, even Mari’s ol’ Giant hybrid. The bright spirits and warm welcomes of these two VCM members add to the cheer of VCM’s holiday parties.
Mireya and Vera at Wave Street Studios - Velo Monterey 2013 holiday party (2)For more photos from a prior year’s party, scroll to the end of this post.
Velo Club Monterey has been “Pedaling the Monterey Peninsula and the Central Coast since 1968.”
Info below, last updated in December 2013, gives you an idea of what VCM is all about.
It includes 3 dozen examples of volunteerism of Velo Club Monterey members–actions that benefit beach cruisers, bike commuters, fashionistas, fixie riders, mountain bikers, school children, and all sorts of folks who bike in Monterey County.

Velo Club Monterey? Roadies? Oh, yeah. We know about those people.

Do you?

  • In any county, there’s sometimes bad buzz about “those spandex-clad roadies” heard from people who walk, drive, bike, or otherwise wheel about. Maybe you’ve even heard grumbling that roadies are “self-centered weekend warriors who only care about their own ride.”
  • Ever hear anything like that? Sometimes such complaints are warranted. Yes, even in Monterey County, you’ll occasionally find local or visiting “outta my way!” screechers who either don’t know or don’t care about the etiquette of the multi-use trail. Such cyclists speed along even when a stretch of trail is heavily used by pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, tots learning to bike, or others who are biking at a relaxed pace. Chances are those occasional screechers aren’t VCM members though!
  • If a stretch of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is busy (e.g., as is often true between the wharfs and the Monterey Bay Aquarium), VCMers are typically not on it, they’re elsewhere (e.g., trail north of town) or are sharing a nearby road with cars instead. Or they’re long gone, riding in some more remote bikeways of the county, or beyond. If they are in a densely used section of the multi-use trail, VCMers tend to let go any training mode for now, in order to show other trail users kindness–and support for being out there and active too.
  • Yes, VCM members are countering notions that roadies are careless about others. Besides courtesy to other travelers, another way they do it is by their diverse volunteerism.
  • See those three dozen examples below! And as you’ll see, often VCM volunteering benefits non-cyclists too.
Velo Gals EV 5-6-12
Meet Velo Club Monterey members, and discover for yourself what the vast majority of Monterey County’s roadies are really like.

Perhaps you read Bicycling Monterey’s March 2010 story, “Knights of the Central Coast,” and learned how VCM members Charles Humphrey, Devian Gilbert, Steve E. Anderson, Melanie and Jon Stackpole, and others helped a visiting family with young children. Below are more such examples of the volunteerism of these bike advocates. This isn’t a comprehensive list of VCM members’ volunteering. (Compiling this post took a day. It would take a week or more to attempt the impossible task of listing all that the approx 150 VCMers do.) My apologies for the omissions; please contact me with your additions.

Okay, here’s some of what this club that’s been “pedaling the Monterey Peninsula and the Central Coast since 1968″ has been up to on the volunteer front in the very recent past. (Want details? As navigating says, blue words are linked text.)
  1. VCM member Vera Noghera took on a vital early role as part of a small team recruiting barricade volunteers, which was essential to the launch of Ciclovia Salinas, Monterey County’s first Open Streets. The inaugural Ciclovia Salinas was a youth-led initiative to increase active transportation and improve public health, bridge neighborhoods, prevent violence, increase tourism, boost the economy, reduce carbon emissions, and provide other benefits. Ciclovia Salinas 10-6-13 6am barricade volunteer training with Kelly McMillin(Ciclovia Salinas 6 a.m. barricade volunteer training photo courtesy of Aurelio Salazar, Jr. of Community Foundation for Monterey County.)
  2. VCM members Cath Tendler-Valencia, Jan Valencia, Jeff Wriedt, Jim Wrona, Joe Santiago, Keith Vandevere, Larry Dick, Mary Ellen Dick, Matthew Sundt, Phil Yenovikian, Robin Harness, Skip Latham, and Vera Noghera completed the required police training, then served as barricade volunteers at Ciclovia Salinas. (And BTW, the Open Streets Project states volunteer recruiters can expect about a 30% no-show rate among volunteers; with VCM, there was a 0% no-show rate.)Ciclovia-Salinas-logo2
  3. VCM members Robin Harness, Phil Yenovikian, Alex Cappelli, and Jan Valencia, and other VCMers past and present, serve/d on the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee–not because they love going to meetings, but because they are dedicated to helping improve local bike infrastructure and overall conditions for bicycling.TAMC
  4. VCM member Alex Cappelli advocates for Carmel (and other) bikeways, including attending meetings and workshops, writing a guest post for Bicycling Monterey, and otherwise working for better infrastructure.Mouth of Carmel Vly Class I path, with hillls beyond
  5. VCM member Jim Wrona organizes holiday fun with options for participation by all ages in an annual Critical Christmas Monterey bike-decorating activity and ride.Critical Christmas MRY 2013 Coast Guard Pier
  6. VCM members include various generations, and that includes plenty of greying folks who show that aging is–for most people–no reason to stop biking. They are inspiring role models, for all ages.Cath and Jan - SF
  7. VCM member Matthew Sundt (at right, below) explored bikesharing feasibility with other community members, officials, and consultants. Among the outcomes was a revision of the study so that rather than being peninsula-focused, it now addresses bikesharing needs of Salinas residents and visitors as well as those in coastal cities. (Salinas, our largest city and county seat, has no bike rentals at present.)Vera Matthew Peter
  8. VCM member Jan Valencia biked with a City of Monterey traffic engineer to share input about conditions and infrastructure needs.Rich Deal and Jan Valencia 018
  9. VCM members Randy Naylor and Vera Noghera were among the strong, experienced riders who graciously circled back and forth on the day’s route numerous times, supporting people of all ages and abilities in enjoying the 2nd Intergenerational Ride for Bike Week. And VCMers again showed up for the 3rd and 4th rides, in May 2014 and 2015L to R: Darius and Jerrica Rike of MORCA; Frank Henderson, League instructor; Rob Cepeda of Sports Center Bicycles; Judy Merritt, and Lizzie, Greg, and little John Storer of First Presbyterian Church of Monterey.
  10. VCM members Dennis Renault, Phil Yenovikian, Vera Noghera, and others welcomed (then) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood to Monterey County on Veterans Day 2012.LaHood in Monterey 12 Nov 2012
  11. VCM members Cath Tendler-Valencia and Vera Noghera volunteered on 5/17/13 with registration, incentives, and the ride at a bike safety event that was part of Safe Routes to School effort in Seaside (details here).
  12. VCM members Matthew Sundt and Alex Cappelli helped future generations who walk, take the bus, or bike in the City of Monterey, through their service on the Multimodal Plan advisory committee. (Below: Alex, at right)Alex Cappelli
  13. VCM rounded up members and friends to support underserved youth of Monterey County at Rancho Cielo by organizing a well-attended fall 2013 dinner party at the Ranch’s Drummond Culinary Academy. (Didn’t know that was a great place to dine? You must have missed these tips about cool spots in Salinas.) Below: Rancho Cielo bike shop; pictured is RC employee and volunteer Luciano Rodriguez.Luciano Rodriquez at Rancho Cielo - photo by MacGregor Eddy 20 May 2015
  14. VCM members Mireya DelaVega, Keith Vandevere, Vera Noghera, and others helped strengthen and unite the diverse local bike community as they welcomed California Bicycle Coalition touring cyclists at a 11/12/13 potluck– which was also more successful thanks to Vera’s leadership with organizing, promotion, and set-up.CA by Bike in Monterey 11-12-13
  15. VCM members know that a regularly scheduled recumbent ride open to the public was needed in Monterey County. So VCM members served the community by starting a new recumbent ride group in 2013. Photo courtesy of Leo Kodl.Recumbent Leo Kodl bay viewDSC01313
  16. VCM member Alex Cappelli promoted Amgen 2011 Seaside stage; and Jan Valencia served as director of volunteers for Amgen 2011 Seaside stage, as well as supporting the Seaside PAL Bike Fair and Recreational Ride in conjunction with that event (click to learn more).Amgen Coming
  17. VCM members Phil Yenovikian, a TAMC Silver Helmet Winner; and Jan Valencia and Devian Gilbert, Golden Helmet Winners, serve as extraordinary bike commuting role models, and more.Phil YenovikianJan Valencia - Velo Answer Man - 5-15-11Devian Gilbert - 20
  18. VCM member Alex Cappelli and others faithfully support TAMC’s Bike Month, including by scheduling a Sunday morning ride that is part of the (usually annual) Bike Month activities.Monterey County Bike Month 2014 poster English
  19. VCM member Cath Tendler-Valencia proofread Bicycling Monterey’s much-used Riding Skills, Safety, and CA Bike Laws section, and has helped in many other ways too, not least of all by her kind encouragement and good humor.Biker - little guy in Seaside cropped
  20. VCM member Devian Gilbert and Bob Shanteau pointed out helpful resources now linked at Bicycling Monterey.
  21. VCM member Jan Valencia serves as a gentle role model for young adults, including Jesse Martines. Among the outcomes is that Jess, now 26, has become a role model for others himself–including by increasing safe riding practices among teen fixie riders in Salinas. Jess also shared with bike buddies VCM’s group riding tips.Ride with Rich Deal May 15 023
  22. VCM member Melanie Gibbs Stackpole annually updates the special event week date restrictions for the HER Helmet Thursdays project’s Staff Reference Sheet (shhh–as with Cath, Vera, and many of these folks, Melanie’s already plenty busy with other non-bike volunteering too).HER Helmet Thursdays 5th Anniversary poster JQ2
  23. VCM member Jan Valencia serves as a continual resource for visitors and locals as Velo Club Monterey’s Answer Man, including on Twitter @jvalen. Not surprisingly, that often results in Jan and Cath Tendler-Valencia extending an invitation to international touring cyclists to enjoy the warm hospitality of a local home (theirs!).jan-the-answer-man
  24. VCM contributed helmets for bike safety outreach at the first South County Health & Safety Fair in Greenfield, knowing that Greenfield children are among those with many unmet needs.Greenfield girl helping little ones learn bike helmet fit 2012
  25. VCM members Cath Tendler-Valencia, Vera Noghera, and others help get the word out to people who bike regarding construction and other roadway conditions.
  26. VCM member Steve E. Anderson contributed his graphic skills to design the logo for the HER Helmet Thursdays project.blank-HER-logo-web-100px
  27. VCM members Cath Tendler-Valencia and Jan Valencia volunteered as guides to help get Salinas Bike Party off to a positive start, as riding role models for observing California bike laws and other Salinas Bike Party rules, by changing inner tubes, by staying alongside a broken-down bicyclist who was awaiting a sag wagon, and more.Cath-and-Crew cropped
  28. VCM member Phil Yenovikian makes a special effort to  support bike commuters, visitors, and others who bike between Salinas and Monterey, including by offering to serve as a ride companion to new commuters or to touring cyclists.hwy68atCynDelReybikepaint
  29. VCM takes turns with other local bike advocates in hosting the monthly Twilight Rides, a fun opportunity for visitors and locals to experience Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on a bicycle.Twilight Ride at Laguna Seca 080 (1)
  30. VCM members are among the many volunteers who make the annual Sea Otter Classic possible, now “regarded as the world’s premiere cycling festival.” Sea Otter brings “over 10,000 athletes and 65,000 fans,” along with about $20M annually to Monterey County’s economy.Cath and Jan at SOC 4-17-11 DSC00238
  31. VCM supports visitors and locals in exploring Monterey County by bike through VCM’s various-paced rides.
  32. VCM member Keith Vandevere shares cycling photos, news, and tips on his popular blog Xasáuan Today.
  33. VCM member Steve Blum supported sharing Bicycling Monterey resources in his role as a VCM tech volunteer; and former webmaster Steve E. Anderson and current webmaster Matthew Sundt highlight the HER Helmet Thursdays project at VCMonterey.org.
  34. VCM member Hector Chavez’s bike shop, Winning Wheels of Pacific Grove, volunteered support for Monterey County Youth Center bike class and the 4th Anniversary celebration of HER Helmet Thursdays.IMG_0819 - Copy
  35. VCM members Cath Tendler-Valencia and Jan Valencia are found in both sections of Bicycling Monterey’s contributors page. They generously contributed copies of the HER Helmet Thursdays pocket guide, a version of the Quick Reference Guide, to help get the word out about this long-term sustainability project that encourages males and females to bike. They were also among the very first (soon after my son!) to make financial contributions to support the Bicycling Monterey website and projects.Quick Reference Guide cover (multi-page guide)
  36. And VCM even pitched in with financial contributions to renew domain names for Bicycling Monterey, helping to keep this information resource available for visitors and locals.

Want to learn more about VCM and its history? See the 4/26/13 Carmel Pine Cone; click here, then scroll to page 22A.

Think these roadies sound like a great bunch? You may want to join VCM, or start by getting acquainted at one of their group rides or other activities. And you don’t have to wait til next December to party with VCM. They host summer parties too!

Below: Mireya DelaVega and Vera Noghera of Velo Club Monterey paused in VCM’s holiday party 2013 festivities for a bit of fashionista fun. That’s Mireya on Peter Krol’s BMX, and Vera, at right, on Mari’s hybrid, showing that all the chic women who bike don’t live in Amsterdam.

Although those two serious cyclists didn’t bike to that VCM party at Wave Street Studios in dresses, you bet, another party-goer did–moi.

Mireya and Vera at Wave Street Studios - Velo Monterey 2013 holiday party (2)You didn’t know about the party? Members and non-members of VCM were welcome, as announced on VCM’s website. Keep an eye on the Bicycling Monterey County master calendar, which often includes such announcements.

You’ll see Mireya and Vera elsewhere on this site too. What you may not realize is the volume of volunteering in support of bike advocacy that is done by these and other Velo Club Monterey members.

There are more party pictures at the end of this post. But first, let’s talk about…

Trio seated 2

Gent and Elizabeth Caraker

Bar scene

Alex Cappelli

Skip and Woman 2

Vera Matthew Peter

Group scene 1

Group scene 2

Piano scene

Vera Noghera and Rhett Smith at Wave Street Velo 2013 Christmas party (2)

Dance 1Dance 2

Mireya and Vera hopping on the bikes

“That was fun!”
“Yes! And who needs a BMW? I think my next vehicle will be a BMX.”

BMW next on my list

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