Archive Post from May 3rd, 2020
My name is Santiago Contreras, and I am a Trail Ride Leader for Trips for Kids Marin. You can usually find me at the back of the group, as an assistant or sweep Ride Leader on Trail Rides supporting the kids who might need a bit more help. I am a fairly new Trail Ride Leader, but I love working with the kids and seeing all the fun and silly ways they express themselves. When I am not riding bikes with Trips for Kids Marin, I work as a Park Steward in Marin County Parks.
I love working for TFKM, because my position allows me to make space for those developing their inquiry mind-frame in relation to the outdoors. Because our participants come to us from either a classroom or other structured setting, helping them experience and enjoy the trail while riding is rewarding and brings out their curiosity about the world around them.
Another thing I love about working for TFKM is being goofy with our kids, especially through body language. Acting out how something feels is a fun and silly way to have the students flex their freedom of self expression. We often like to try and express or act how a participant felt before, during, and after a 'grueling' session. Even when we are just relaxing and holding space after a difficult section of the trail, being goofy as a group develops camaraderie among our bikers that I find deeply memorable. That being said, I am not talking about when participants exclaim, “Hey! Mr. Santiago look at this No Grip Bunny Hop I can pull off!” Rather, I mean the small moments fresh in your head after a ride that leave you with a feeling of satisfaction about an amazing afternoon and unforgettable moments with peers.
Archive Post from April 28th, 2020
Bike: BIANCHI SUPER GY
Year of manufacture: 1997
MSRP in 1997: $2099
Trips for Kids Re-Cyclery Price: $300
What is Italian and goes boing boing?
No, not a kangaroo at Bioparca Di Roma.
In 1997 the answer could have been this bike, The Bianchi Super GY.
As a reminder, in 1997, Clinton (the Bill one) is President, the DOW year end close is 7908, average monthly rent is $576, Tyson bites Holyfield, Titanic was THE date movie, and Mountain Bike Action Magazine (in print!) was a real big thing.
And most notably, 2 Italians, Paola Pezzo & Hubert Palhuber, were the XC mountain bike champions of the world.
The mountain bike boom was in full swing. Hardtails were already retro with almost every bike manufacturer launching dual suspension bikes. Plus, every single one you’d look at was quirkier than the last one you saw. Weird was the new normal. Bianchi, arguably the most famous Italian bike manufacturer, was not going to be left out of the game. That brings me to this bike.
The Bianchi Super GY sounds normal enough on paper. Tig welded aluminum frame; Rock Shox suspension front and back; Shimano parts mixed with some White Industries bling; Panaracer knobbies. But just look at it. It is a rolling Mullet, normal up front but what the heck is going on back behind the seat tube? A raised chainstay parallelogram rear suspension? This does not seem like it comes from the land of Pininfarina. Oh, look there is a sticker, not the Campione del Mundo rainbow on the down tube. Look back towards the wonderful weirdness, hidden in the jumble of welded tubes, linkages and pivots, that would usually be called a downtube, is “Designed in the U.S.A.” framed by jagged shards of red, white and blue.
ow I understand this bike a little better. Bianchi, wanting a piece of the booming American market, appropriated some American culture and got a little “Rad”. I wonder how that worked out.
I will simply leave you with the awesomeness of the GY’s ad copy in 1997.
Archive Post from April 21, 2020
Quick. Name 3 historic French bicycle brands that have been ridden to Tour de France wins.
“Easy,” you say: Peugeot (10), Motobecane (1), Mercier? Nope. Look (1)? Nope, not historic. I’m going to save you some time: Gitane. “GITANE! Of course,” you say. Cycles Gitanes has won 11 Tour De France victories. 11! 10 of these were won from 1963-1984. Ten wins in 21 years, they dominated the Tour. Who rode them? Anquetil, Van Impe, Hinault, Fignon, and LeMond. Woof! Why is Gitanes off the radar? Well, they were purchased by Peugeot, left the US Market and stopped sponsoring teams for Le Tour. Out of sight out of mind. At this writing, there are only 11 Gitanes offered on Ebay, but the legacy is there to be remembered.
In 1925, Marcel Brunelière manufactured bike parts quickly progressing to full bicycles in 1930. He named this new bike company Cycles Gitane (Gypsy Woman). They were first imported to the US in 1958. Five years later, the Tour de France wins started rolling in.
In 1985 you could get a Gitane “Professional” Team Replica with butted Reynolds tubes and high end parts. Or, if your talent was greater than your pocketbook, you could get a Gitane “Performance” with straight gauge tubes and a modest but perfectly good French gruppo. If you rode fast enough casual observers might mistake your “Performance” for a “Professional”. The Performance certainly had the Euro-Racer look with a key lime pie colored frame, flashy yellow Selle San Marco saddle and matching colored bar tape and extremely steep geometry.
The French have the word "Terroir" to describe the undefinable yet unmistakable quality that time and place impress upon a wine. I think bikes need such a word and I’m going to coin it. Roueage (Roo-Ahj). Roue the French word for wheel and Age, the French word for age, time, or era.
The Roueage of this bike is purely Euro ‘80’s. Even though it is 35 years old, ridden hard, and lost the original fork it still seems to challenge all comers in a thick French accent “You think you can ride?!” Undeterred, throw a leg over the saddle and take it for a spin. You’ll notice it is willing and eager to go. But, you had better know what you are doing because it has that quick, twitchy, almost dangerous ride meant for experts that is equal parts exhilarating and scary. Bikes like this aren’t made any more, much like vintage sports cars. This bike will transport you to another time and give you ride sensations you may never have had. You may even start speaking in a thick French accent.
Archive Post from April 14th, 2020
What we have here, my fellow bike geeks, is an:
Albert Eisentraut "Limited"
Size: 53cm x 53cm
Color: Metallic Green
Frame#: 75L355 (made in 1975; "L" Limited; #355)
If you don’t know right away what this is, as I didn’t, pay attention, because you’re going to love it.
Albert Eisentraut is an Oakland based custom bike builder. A true bicycle blue-blood if ever there was one. Born into a Chicago bike racing family, cycling was omnipresent throughout Albert's young life. Apparently, Albert started toddling around bike shops at age three. As a young man, he raced and worked at famed Schwinn Paramount maker Oscar Wastyn’s shop, his father’s racing buddy. Oscar’s work first put the idea in young Albert’s head that he could make bikes. In 1959, Albert followed in Oscar's footsteps making his first bike frame in his father’s basement with a jig he welded at a local ironworks. A swift timeline of the next twenty years includes: joining the military, moving to California, partnering up with Peter Rich, opening Velo-Sport in 1970 in Berkeley, taking a life changing trip to visit European bike builders, and eventually opening his own eponymous shop in Oakland.
Today, Albert has come to be considered “The Dean” of modern (post-Korean War) U.S. custom frame builders. He did this by building impeccable frames that were highly sought after by racers including John Howard and Connie Carpenter. More importantly, he taught his craft to the next generation. Like Rembrant’s studio, Eisentraut opened up his work-space to students who were inspired by the master. Notable students are Bruce Gordon, Joe Breeze, Mark Nobilette and Bill Stevenson.
Demand for Eisentraut custom frames grew, straining the production capabilities of a one man bike atelier. To seize upon this opportunity and provide handmade frames to those pining for an Eisentraut but unable to afford full custom prices, Albert launched a “Limited” line of production bikes. These “Limited” bikes were, like his custom bikes, hand crafted beauties that were made in standard sizes. Production was still all in-house but actual construction was entrusted to skilled builders whom he trained. It is rumored if you ride a “Limited” you most likely are riding a Bruce Gordon hand built frame. Not too shabby for a second label brand.
This particular bike was donated to Trips For Kids by an older gentleman who had purchased it for his wife to tour mainland China during Deng Xiaoping’s “Open Door” policy. This example looks to be all original including the nice bright metallic green paint. The mixed Suntour Pro gruppo, bar-end shifters, clincher rims, fender and rack eyelets all show clear touring intent. However, the scroll cut lugs with spade cutouts, semi-fastback seat clamp, and Campagnolo dropouts nod to its' clear thoroughbred race lineage. This is a true example fine American craftsmanship.
Archive Post from April 7th, 2020
During this time of uncertainty, I want to share how Trips for Kids Marin is responding, how we are still serving our students, and adapting to fulfill our mission.
Today, our “business as unusual” looks a little different…
This week we began sharing the transformative power of cycling with underserved Bay Area youth by leading virtual Earn-a-Bike classes (kids are still earning their bikes), producing ride and wrenching videos, and preparing to launch group rides as soon as the COVID-19 crisis passes.
Although few things seem “normal” these days…
I am thrilled to see thousands of kids and families doing at least one “normal” thing lately – pedaling on trails and through neighborhoods. Let’s celebrate that hundreds of Bay Area kids are riding bikes they earned from our Earn-a-Bike and Mobile Bike Workshops programs and hundreds more are riding bikes previously purchased from our Re-Cyclery Bike Shop.
But, we too are facing challenges...
Half of our revenue comes from our Recyclery Bike Shop. With only limited online sales, our revenue has been drastically reduced. We have weathered many storms over the past three decades and we endeavor to survive this one as well. However, it will not be easy and the future is uncertain. While we are pursuing federal loans to cover wages, we will fall short of covering our overall expenses.
Our team is working tirelessly through the pandemic to keep programs going, but we need your help.
If you are able, please consider a one-time or a recurring donation to Trips for Kids Marin. Your support is more important than ever before and will help ensure we can continue to engage with our most vulnerable populations now and into the future.
With your help, we will emerge stronger than before – and get more kids on bikes!
Trips for Kids Marin
Archive Post from January 8th, 2020
Dear Trips for Kids Marin Family,
Did you know that for 30 weeks during the school year our dedicated staff meets with the same Marin City kids to teach them how to ride bikes, get them moving outside, and introduce them to basic bicycle mechanics?
Did you know that among the hundreds of Bay Area kids from underserved communities we take on cycling trips along the coast every year there are dozens who are experiencing the ocean for the very first time?
Did you know that this year 70% of kids who completed our six-week Earn-A-Bike mechanics program chose to come back and participate in our advanced offerings?
For 32 years Trips for Kids Marin’s mission has never wavered: To connect kids to the natural world, help build self esteem, and introduce healthy lifestyle choices through a basic-yet-brilliant tool — the bicycle.
Three decades since Trips for Kids Marin’s founding our work is more important than ever. Kids are experiencing a growing disconnect from nature resulting in less outdoor playtime than ever before. Childhood obesity continues to be a challenge, particularly in low-income communities, while some young people lack resilience when life challenges arise.
There are many negative forces looming over kids today, especially those from underserved and/or disadvantaged communities. But as we have been since 1986, Trips for Kids Marin is committed to using the bicycle as a tool to improve the lives of Bay Area kids. We are believers in the power of the bicycle to get kids outside, moving and observing the natural world while also challenging them to master technical riding and mechanical skills.
And as much as we are on a mission, we are also grateful to be in a position to get kids on bikes. It is gratifying to introduce young people to the freedom and joy that cycling can bring. We are so fortunate to see kids smiling as they race down dirt tracks, to watch kids push themselves physically as they peddle up challenging hills, and observe kids with furrowed brows as they work through fixing chains and flat tires.
We get to experience how the simple bicycle opens up new worlds and realities for kids.
I am grateful for the opportunity this year to have joined Trips for Kids Marin as the Executive Director and to witness the value of our core offerings. With two decades of program management experience, I am committed to growing the reach and impact of Trips for Kids Marin for decades to come.
Like many of you, I understand the freedom, power, joy, and thrill biking brings.
I am so grateful to spend my days working towards providing those opportunities to kids in our community who might not otherwise have the chance to ride or have their own bikes.
MORE KIDS ON BIKES
As the year comes to a close I would ask your consideration in contributing generously so we can get more kids moving in nature, build healthy lifestyles and sow self-worth.
Your investment of $5, $500, $5,000 or more will allow us to bring more kids into our mechanics programs, will allow us to work with more kids at their schools, and will get more kids on trails in the Bay Area’s open spaces.
Each dollar makes a difference. Each dollar has an impact. Thank you for your investment, and thank you from the kids themselves who feel “strong,” “powerful,” “free,” and “adventurous” when they ride.
With deep appreciation,
Bec Detrich, Executive Director, Trips for Kids Marin
Archive Post from November 15th, 2018
Bikes Change Lives
Have you ever wondered how many bikes it takes to keep our kid pedal-powered programs going? The answer: a lot.
Trips for Kids Marin maintains a fleet of 75 mountain bikes which get ridden by over 1,600 kids on an average of 160 rides per year! Bicycles are the vehicle we use to help kids explore and appreciate the natural world while developing positive self-esteem, learning safe cycling skills and experiencing the benefits of exercise. Many of our youth are exploring their local parks and open spaces for the very first time on our rides.
A Program for Companies to Give Back
Unlike our regular youth programs, Build-a-Bike is a corporate team building event just for adults. Accommodating up to 12 people, the Build-a-Bike program is a fun and challenging day of working together to accomplish a common goal for a great cause. After arriving in the morning to a team building icebreaker game, the group is guided step-by-step by our expert mechanics through the process of building a new bike straight out of the box. No previous mechanical experience is necessary, and with teamwork and some elbow grease, success is guaranteed.
A Unique Team Building Experience
Along with the fun the bikes provide, they endure a lot of wear and tear from our beginner riders which means a lot of time and resources spent on their maintenance. Eventually, the bikes reach the end of their useful life, so we replace them with 5-10 new bikes every year. This year we are excited to announce a new program to help us keep our fleet rolling with new bikes - the Build-a-Bike program.
After the bikes have been successfully built, it’s time for the team to get to experience the same thrill and joy our kids do with a beginner trail ride in China Camp State Park. Under the instruction and guidance of our master Ride Leaders, the team will practice the fundamental skills needed to complete the journey to the scenic and historic fishing village six gently meandering miles away. To celebrate the accomplishment of finishing the day’s ride, the team will relax by the bay with hors-d'oeuvres and refreshments. A final closing reflection will bring the experience full-circle on a job well done.
You Can Participate
With your help, our kids will soon be riding new bikes that will help us continue our mission of providing transformational cycling experiences for underserved youth.
Hear what one Build-a-Bike participant said of her experience:
“As a lover of cycling..and an adult with means, for me to experience such joy, closeness to nature, friends/coworkers on a mountain bike ride with your organization, imagine how the impact would be magnified in the kids the TFK Marin serves. I finally understood what is meant by your “transformational youth experiences” - Ashley Williams, Fremont Group
Archive Post from November 5th, 2018
30th Anniversary Gala Recap
On the evening of October 19, 2018, nearly 200 guests packed the Mill Valley Community Center for a festive gala in celebration of Trips for Kids Marin's 30th Anniversary. The evening featured a silent auction, presentation MC'd by Doug McConnell of Bay Area BackRoads and OpenRoad, live auction led by Greg Sherwood (a.k.a. The KQED Pledge Guy), and live music from Bred2Shred with dancing. Catering was provided by Graham Gathright, Chez Gautier Cooking School, as well as, chips and guacamole donated by Marinitas, wine donated by Rusted Lyre Vineyards, beer donated by Iron Springs, coffee from Equator and sparkling water from Purity Organic.
Your ImpactIn total, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we successfully raised over $50,000 at the gala which will go to providing more biking programs to Bay Area youth in 2019. We are so grateful for everyone involved in hosting this fundraiser including staff, volunteers, board members, sponsors, donors, and partnering agencies. Thank you all for your contributions towards getting #morekidsonbikes! Cheers to 30 more wonderful years of transformation to come.
Special Thanks to Our Great Sponsors
Emerald Sponsor $30,000
In case you missed our gala, please check out the videos we prepared for the occasion.
A Glimpse Inside Trips for Kids Marin
Tools for Change: An Interview with Jim Gloystein
Here are some of our favorite photos from the evening.
Former Trail Rides participant, Veneé McGee shared her heartwarming story of the impact Trips for Kids Marin has had on her life.
An excerpt from Veneé McGee's gala speech:
“Trips for Kids Marin was how I formed my confidence and determined my identity!” Being invited back after 17 years since my last participation with Trips for Kids Marin to speak at the 30th Anniversary Gala has been another stone on my journey for me to lay as growth. Thanks to Trips for Kids Marin 10 year old Veneé felt seen and heard which at that age was something I struggled with immensely. “My buddy stands by my side, aiding me with her strength and determination.” It's so refreshing to see how Trips for Kids Marin continues to grow and adapt, remaining always adaptable, motivated and responsive. I look forward to a future of many more bike rides!!
Archive Post from October 10th, 2018
Check out Photos from the Big Day
Our second annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day festival took place on Saturday, October 6th at Miwok Meadows in China Camp State Park. It was a smash hit with record turn out, an abundance of smiles, and a boost of self-esteem for all those who participated. Trips for Kids Marin Ride Leaders and volunteers educated youth on bike safety and guided them through skill courses and on trail rides through the park. For some kids, it was their first-time mountain biking. All equipment was provided free of charge allowing every child an opportunity to try out a new hobby and gain confidence on a bike. The festival was part of a larger national movement created by IMBA with youth biking events across the country including fellow Trips for Kids chapters.
We can't wait for another opportunity to host a free community event such as this. Thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, or worked the festival making it truly special! Here are some photos from the big day.
Archive Post from September 10th, 2018
Experiencing Trail Magic
By Adam Smith, Trail Rides Program Manager
There’s a thing called Trail Magic. Anyone who’s spent enough time on the trail knows about it or has experienced it themselves. It’s something that thru-hikers of the great, long distance trails of North America like the Appalachian, Pacific-Crest and Continental Divide Trail talk about and revere. It happens when you least expect it and often when you most need it. Perhaps you’re running out of food, and a stranger offers you a PB&J right when you couldn’t take a step further. Or maybe, you get a flat tire and find an extra tube accidentally dropped on the trail by a former passer-by. Perhaps you take a wrong turn and stumble on a new vista point that takes your breath away. Though it’s most often referenced in the thru-hiking community, it happens to mountain bikers, too. This phenomenon transpired on a recent trail ride with the Canal Welcome Center.
As we rounded the bend in the trail, there they were: GIANT. Dozens of branded bicycles lined in rows, waiting to be ridden by lucky trail patrons. The kids were instantly buzzing. We rode up, and the friendly staff quickly came over to greet us. “Hi, we’re Trips for Kids Marin,” we said. “Can we look around?” “Absolutely,” one of Giant Bicycles representative responded. “Let me go get John.” The kids dispersed and started ogling the brand new bikes on display at the Giant Bicycles demo days at China Camp State Park.
John Munhall is the Product Development Manager at Giant Bicycles and an enormous Trips for Kids supporter. It just so happened that we were about to reach out to him to place an order for bikes to replenish our fleet, and here he was, smack in the middle of our ride in the woods. We introduced ourselves and talked about Trips for Kids a bit before John said, “Hey, hold on a minute, I want the kids to meet someone…”
Now, it isn’t every day that you take a group of young men on their first mountain bike ride and come across a small bike festival in the woods being thrown by one of your biggest industry supporters AND get to meet a professional, Olympic mountain bike racer. But it happened, and it was an experience the young men will never forget.
Adam Craig is a professional cyclist sponsored by Giant who’s raced just about everything on two wheels and dirt imaginable, including competing in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in Cross Country representing team USA. He’s also a five-time National Champion. (He’s good. Really good…) But what was most impressive about Adam was how much he loved getting to meet and talk with the young men on our ride. They, in turn, were equally impressed watching him bunny hop a bike around in a circle, ride a wheelie and getting to talk with him in person.
John emerged from the Giant trailer with brand new water bottles and handed them to each youth. Adam eagerly signed them while he talked to each of them individually. In how many other sports do you get the chance to casually hang out with Olympic athletes while they put on their own little private exhibition for you and give you autographed gear? Not many. But that’s mountain biking. Mountain biking is like that. It’s a sport where you might see an Olympian out riding the same trail you’re on or see them at a bike festival. And if you happen to have a group of underserved youth with you, who happen to be on their very first mountain bike ride, well, that’s what we would call trail magic.