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Luciano Rodriguez, Exemplary Transportation Excellence Award winner and a Monterey County bike community leader

Congratulations to Luciano Rodriguez on receiving a Transportation Excellence Award from the Transportation Agency for Monterey County on January 27, 2016.
In addition to the award, Luciano, a Salinas native, was further recognized as Exemplary, as requested by TAMC Executive Committee member Robert Huitt, a Pacific Grove City Council member. Executive Committee members Alejandro Chavez, County of Monterey Principal Analyst, and Dave Potter, Monterey County District 5 Supervisor, concurred, thereby making official the additional honor.

Bicycling Monterey extends to Luciano gratitude for all you do for the Monterey County bike community. Special thanks for your leadership with Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center bicycle repair and safety class.

Below, learn about Luciano,

including via a two-minute audio aired on KUSP.

Luciano Rodriguez - May 2015 - Photo by Richard Lake

Above photo of Luciano Rodriguez, May 2015, courtesy of Richard Lake.

This post was first published October 9, 2012 with info below last updated July 25, 2015. 

Many people were likely unaware of Luciano Rodriguez’s quiet leadership in the bike community until Roberto Robledo, senior writer for the Californian, made Luciano’s stature clear: “On the Salinas bicycling scene, he’s a big wheel“!  The story appeared on page 1 of the Californian‘s 10/28/14 print edition, as well as the 11/1/14 edition of El Sol: “Excelencia en el ámbito del ciclismo de Salinas.”

As mentioned in Roberto’s story, Luciano, a recipient of a Monterey County Office of Education Light the Fire Within award, has been a volunteer instructor of the Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center bike class since July 2012. In August 2014, Luciano accepted the additional volunteer roles of class provider and class coordinator of Youth Center bike class.  Click here to learn more.

Luciano is also a mentor for youth, and others, in breaking down stereotypes about bicycling for transportation.  Click here for his letter to the Californian‘s “We Could Car Less” column, 10/5/14.

* * *

Spring 2012

What’s up with the fixie rider?

That’s Luciano Rodriguez, one of Monterey County’s most eclectic cyclists.

His passion for biking and heart for youth resulted in a prestigious award. KUSP, Central Coast Public Radio’s “First Person Singular” told the story during “Morning Edition” and again during “All Things Considered” on 10/10/12.

Listen to the two-minute audio:

More details about Luciano

Luciano Rodriguez, a Salinas native, came to love the challenge of athletics as a sophomore at North Salinas High School, first as a runner completing the Bay to Breakers. After NSHS, he completed the Big Sur Marathon too.  Upon graduation from NSHS, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for five years before his honorable discharge in 2002.

A Marine Corps bonus burned a hole in the pockets of some, but for Luciano, it began a love affair with biking.  His bonus purchased a new Cannondale, and back in Salinas, he signed up to race in his first Sea Otter Classic. He has continued to race Sea Otter, doing so for ten years consecutively by the time he began volunteering as an instructor for the Youth Center class in 2012.  That year, Luciano was a  Category 1 Singlespeed Racer in SOC’s Mountain Bike Cross Country competition. [In 2013, his SOC races included Pro Singlespeed, Circuit, and Cyclocross.] Also in 2012, he took first as a solo rider in the 24 Hour Hammerstein at Mazda Raceway. Luciano has participated too in Central Coast Cyclocross race events. And his pleasure in mountain biking includes riding at times with Monterey Off Road Cycling Association as well.

When Luciano began teaching the Youth Center class, he had been working for about five years as an instructional aide and assistant para professional at Rancho Cielo.  That got my attention, because before I learned about the need for a bike class at Monterey County Youth Center, I’d been thinking that bike tech education would make a great addition to Rancho Cielo’s curriculum.  In an initial conversation with an RC staff member, the response was gracious but reserved:  “Most of the kids aren’t in shape for biking, and it’s too hilly here.”  I postponed pursuing the idea.

It’s a good thing that statement wasn’t made to Luciano; he blazed new trails at Rancho Cielo: sweet single-track!  With the assistance of volunteers from the Salinas High School Cowboy Racing Mountain Bike Team, who brought rototillers to support Luciano’s initiative, he created a network of trails.  Those new trails were enjoyed by visitors too, for the first time, at Rancho Cielo’s 2nd Annual Family Play Day, September 2, 2012. (To see how the trails began, watch this Youtube about the Rancho Cielo trails from Luciano AKA Mr. Singlespeed.)

And not only are some of the Rancho Cielo students now biking there, it wasn’t long before the first had followed Luciano’s lead and was racing at Sea Otter too!

This North Salinas resident bike commutes to work at Rancho Cielo, and when we met in July 2012 to discuss the Monterey County Youth Center class, we set our meeting location for Del Rey Oaks.  Luciano biked over via Highway 68 on a very spiffy fixie.

Luciano brings to the Monterey County Youth Center bike class his enthusiasm and skills gained as a bike commuter, Sea Otter racer, endurance cyclist, MTB trail builder, fixie rider, and more.

This post was published on 27 January 2016. One or more changes last made to this post on 15 April 2020.

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