For the seventh year, The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is celebrating the contributions of local women cyclists. The Velo Wings Awards are part of CycleMaynia, a month long celebration of all things biking. From education, to trail work, to mechanical support, this year’s recipients are helping to improve recreation opportunities and sustainable transportation in Santa Barbara.
Award recipient Lauren Jacobson is an avid mountain biker and board member of the Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trails Association. She has volunteered extensively for the organization in various capacities for over five years. “If we are going to use the trails” says Jacobson, “then it’s our responsibility to help take care of them as well.”
Jacobson, who also commutes by bike to her job as a physician at Cottage Hospital, says that most people don’t realize the degree of maintenance required to keep our local trails operational for all users. “It’s hundreds of hours swinging shoves. I’m really proud to be a part of the group of people who go out and do this work for the community.”
Nancy Eckert is encouraging the next generation of cyclists through her work with the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST). She teaches area school children bike safety and handling skills, as well as providing training and support for teachers incorporating cycling into their P.E. programs. Eckert wants every child to have the opportunity to experience, “the gradual growing of personal independence that cycling provides.”
Lynneal Williams is the determined force behind innovative women’s programing at BiciCentro. In the last five years Williams has gone from barely being able to fix a flat to expert bike mechanic. Her experiences have motivated her to help other women gain confidence and biking knowledge. “Bike shops tend to be very male dominated, I sometimes felt intimidated and really had to push myself. If I can make it more accessible for women I want to do that.”
In addition to creating women’s bike maintenance classes, Williams shares her extensive knowledge with community members through BiciCentro’s low cost open shop hours. “We see so much diversity with the people who come through, people with high end road bikes, homeless people, parents with their kids. I think it’s really important to make biking accessible to as many people as we can.”
The Velo Wings Awards Ceremony will be held at Bicycle Bob’s in Goleta, on May 12, at 12 p.m.