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“If you build it, they will come”: Helping visitors, and residents, use sustainable transportation

Increasing numbers of people are eager to bike. 

The Bicycling Monterey website, which completed its 13th year in 2022, is used by visitors from Canada, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey (like the couple below), the U.K., the Ukraine, and many other places. See what they sayTravelers from Australia, China, England (like the trio above), France, Germany, HollandItaly, and other countries, and from all fifty states of the U.S., like to bike in Monterey County, as do many local residents.

How does a place become more welcoming for people who bike?

Improve infrastructure, from class 4 bike lanes to bicycle boxes to better bicycle parking options; host bike-related events, from annual ones such as Sea Otter Classic and Open Streets to monthly events like Twilight Cycling; inspire and support biking through advocacy projects such as HER Helmet Thursdays discounts; create a welcoming environment for non-English speakers, e.g., offering bilingual bike shop staff; provide education and reliable resources for answers to questions about state and local bike-related regulations; engage law enforcement professionals in demonstrating genuine support for bicycling; make your area a friendly and inclusive one for people to bike in, regardless of age, fitness level, economic bracket, or other circumstances; and of course, make a wide range of accurate information and resources available, such as Bicycling Monterey’s 33-section Monterey County bicycling resources directory as well as the 20-section Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide, including where to bike; add tips for specific local communities, e.g., Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Salinas; and not least of all, listen to the needs of your communities, then share how bicycling can help meet a variety of goals—from reducing traffic congestion to building stronger communities to improving public health to conserving natural resources and beauty. These are just some of the many actions that contribute to creating a more bike-friendly place.

Since 2009, is an alternate URL for the Bicycling Monterey website. Here’s why:

“Mitigate traffic” was mentioned in a May 29, 2018 Monterey County Herald story about the Sustainable Moments Collective, “Visitors Bureau partners with aquarium to practice sustainability,” by Carly Mayberry. The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau / See Monterey site’s Sustainable Moments section cited in that story,, includes a 2017 video (you can view it below) “Sustainable Moments with Carl Sedoryk of Monterey-Salinas Transit.” Bicycling Monterey grok’s Carl’s sustainable transportation message, and since our founding in 2009, we’ve championed MST, including as a bike-and-ride option. As Carl says in the video:

“The biggest impact that you can have is parking your car and either walking, biking, or using public transit to get to where you need to go. It helps increase the quality of life in our community. It reduces traffic congestion, it improves the air quality. It just makes for a healthier lifestyle. Sustainability is critical.”
Passionfish has been a HER Helmet Thursdays participant since 2009.

You can also view that video in Bicycling Monterey’s section “Bicycling and Ecotourism / Good Earthkeeping Right at Home.”

History of this public service

On May 15, 2009, to help mitigate traffic, and because of the many other benefits of biking, Tips for Tourists Bicycling Monterey was published on this site. The tips quickly expanded into a 20-section guide for visitors and residents, Tips for Bicycling Monterey County. Written by Bicycling Monterey’s founder, the guide is updated frequently and includes links to many of the 660+ posts and pages of Bicycling Monterey’s original content published since 2009.

In November 2009, representatives from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau were present at a Monterey City Council meeting that Bicycling Monterey’s founder also attended. Among topics addressed was “Attitudes and Usage of Monterey County as a Destination.” Helping visitors leave cars at hotels, at least some of the time, was suggested, as was the desire to build a reputation for Monterey as one of the most bike-friendly places in the country.

Out of that November meeting, Bicycling Monterey’s founder jumped into high gear, and before the end of that month the HER Helmet Thursdays Project was launched—encouraging visitors, and locals, to help HER / Mother Earth by bicycling. Read that history in the Monterey County Weekly’s Earth Day 2010 Local Spin, “Wheel the Earth.

Watch a January 10, 2010 intro by KSBW about Bicycling Monterey’s HER Helmet Thursdays Project. And the project rolls on, reaching its 10th anniversary Thanksgiving week 2019. And you bet, hotels and other lodging providers are among the participants.

As reported by Kera Abraham in “The Change Agent” in the Monterey County Weekly’s first special bike issue, May 12-18, 2011: “What started as Dehmler’s [Mari Lynch Dehmler’s] personal blog two years ago quickly evolved into an umbrella website for all things two-wheeled in Monterey County.”

As Lane Wallace reported in a Monterey County Herald “Green Riders” story on January 9, 2010, “Her freelance writing business has taken a back seat to her volunteer effort to launch HER Helmet Thursdays countywide.”

Why? Dedication to this beautiful county and planet.

As Daniel Strain reported in a page one story in the Californian, February 1, 2010:

Bicycling Monterey offers sage advice for bike commuters and tourists [and] allows businesses and organizations to do something that generates meaningful actions to sustain the ecology of the area by encouraging bicycling.”

Sustainability collaborators

Many Monterey Bay Aquarium staff and volunteers—people such as Ken Peterson, Aquarium communications director, and Frank Henderson, a volunteer for the Aquarium and volunteer for Bicycling Monterey—are role models for bicycling. They demonstrate by their personal actions the value of bicycling in reducing carbon emissions, reducing noise and water pollution, and otherwise caring for our planet.

The Visitors Bureau has also shown appreciation for bicycling and other active transportation (i.e., skating, walking), such as featuring on their site Monterey County’s first Open Streets.

Among the many doing important sustainability work in Monterey County are MCCVB’s Sustainable Moments Collective members, i.e., Monterey–Salinas Transit, Monterey Regional Waste Management District, Monterey Regional Stormwater Management Program, Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, and the City of Monterey.

In 2018, a new effort began: California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and the Monterey Bay Ecotourism Region (MBETR) hosted the first Monterey Bay Sustainable Hospitality Summit, with the second taking place in January 2019.

For additional local sustainability resources, refer to “Be a more environmentally conscious traveler, or resident” in Bicycling Monterey’s section “Bicycling and Ecotourism / Good Earthkeeping Right at Home.”

Sustainability: “Think globally, act locally.”

This website and all Bicycling Monterey projects have been provided as a public service by the founder, an unpaid volunteer for ten years, May 2009 – May 2019If you find the Bicycling Monterey work of value—whether because of its impact on fostering “sustainable moments,” or because of the many other benefits of bicycling, consider supporting the bicycling revolution: be a pedal pusher (monthly contributor) or make a one-time contribution; click here for ways to give and FAQs.

“It’s a long-term sustainability project.”

Below, flashback to January 2010: KSBW’s story about one of many Bicycling Monterey projects, the HER Helmet Thursdays Project by Ravi Kapur, “Discounts Encourage Bicycling in Monterey County: Program Helps Businesses, Consumers While Preserving Environment.”

For the most recent list of participating businesses and organizations in 19 Monterey County communities, see 9th Anniversary Edition – HER Helmet Thursdays Guide – Participants as of 23 November 2018.

When it comes to improving bicycling infrastructure or taking other actions that help more people use this sustainable transportation option, keep in mind:

If you build it,

they will come.

A reminder to decision makers

As increasing numbers of people are eager to bike, leaders on the local, state, regional, national, and international level wisely up their efforts in order to keep pace. For example, the City of Monterey has improved bicycle parking options and is continuing in that effort.

One section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide is “Bike Valet and Other Bicycle Parking–including Etiquette and Laws.”

While attending the Memorial Day 2018 concert on the lawn of historic Colton Hall, some folks locked their bicycles to the posts of the City of Monterey building picture above—office of the mayor, city manager, and city council. Clearly, better bicycle parking options are needed for this area. Maybe it’s time for a bicycle shelter on this city property, like the ones on the Naval Postgraduate School campus (click here to see those NPS shelters, a.k.a. bike corrals). Meanwhile, the City of Monterey occasionally arranges to have a bicycle valet parking station available at events, as they have some years for their Fourth of July lawn party.

All over Monterey County, where few or no legit or convenient bicycle parking options exist, people sometimes resort to locking a bicycle inappropriately. That’s one of many reasons Bicycling Monterey’s advocacy efforts include advocating for bicycle parking solutions—among other infrastructure improvements.

Do you know places in Monterey County such as Colton Hall where better bicycle parking is needed? Or where bike repair stations are needed? Click here.

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This post was published on 30 May 2018. One or more changes last made to this post on 27 July 2023.

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