By Jennifer Ann Gordon
Jonathan Bartlett, a business process analyst with Yolo County Health and Human Services, began working with The Bike Campaign founder, Maria Contreras Tebbutt, on the Safe Routes to School project. “Safe Routes to School helps kids bike and walk more, and learn the safest biking paths, to reduce car trips to school,” said Bartlett. The collaboration produced Bike Rodeos with bike education components, free helmet giveaways, and outreach to families via their children’s schools.
“The thing I am most proud of is the new model for pick-up and drop-off at Beamer Elementary. It’s safer now for kids biking and walking to school.” (Previously, the congestion created unsafe conditions for kids on bikes and foot.)
Bartlett’s wife Rhea, also with Yolo County Health and Human Services, is a registered dietitian for the Women, Infant and Children program, aka W.I.C.
The Bartletts, who live in Davis, weren’t ready to be hardcore cyclists; they didn’t want to invest a lot of money in bikes, so they bought used bikes, safety-checked and ready to roll, at The Bike Campaign’s “Bike Garage” in Woodland. “The Bike Garage has nice, reliable bikes. It was a great way to test the water and see how often we used our bikes. Also, to get a feel for biking and see if it’s what we want to do,” said Jonathan.
It is. Rhea said, “Biking is a great way to spend time together and explore Davis.” On weekends, they often enjoy a leisurely pace of riding to the Davis Farmers Market and then stop off for breakfast at a café. They were surprised that biking downtown took approximately the same amount of time as driving. “’Parking’ a bike is easy and you get exercise,” said Rhea, “and biking is a great couple’s activity! We haven’t even begun to explore all the bike paths in Davis yet!”
Jonathan said, “We’re getting more comfortable riding on the country roads. We use all the safety gear, including bright lights and helmets. Biking was never meant to be our focus; our focus is on spending quality time together, enjoying the scenery, enjoying Davis, and biking is a great way to do that.”
The Bartletts always take turns leading the trips. “It’s a great way to spend time together…trusting and following the other. When Rhea is leading the trip, I let her set the pace and hang back.”
“And when I’m fearful of the traffic,” said Rhea, “I let Jonathan lead. Even though you’re on separate bikes, it’s still teamwork. You still have to stick together. There are times when Jon has to slow down for me. And there are times when I need to navigate to bring us back on course.”
Most recently, they experienced Napa on bikes. Another memorable trip was the Columbia River Gorge Tour in Oregon. They flew to Portland, went to a bike shop where took a van to the Gorge, stopping at scenic spots to bike to the next waterfall.
The Bartletts are living proof that biking is a great way for couples to experience nature, their town, and each other, and to do it with decent, affordable, used bikes from The Bike Garage.