Friday, September 18, 2020

#MyNonprofits - This is Bike New York


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

If I'm in New York City - like I usually am in late December - I have to bike there. Mittens, a winter coat, a helmet I packed in my carry-on bag, I will ride. A CitiBike bikeshare bike does the trick because I usually just have an hour or two. It's a great city to ride a bike in and the city is headed for a future with a lot more biking. 

If your name is Bill DeBlasio, read that line again. Tattoo it backwards on your forehead so you have to read it in the bathroom mirror every morning if you must. Keep challenging him, my New York friends, and make sure no politician can even take a half-glance at public office, much less Gracie Mansion, without speaking to how they will improve cycling.

Bike New York is a big reason New York in the place to ride in that it is, and they are a major reason why I still enjoy riding there. Their Five Boro Bike Tour - a car-free ride through 42 miles of New York City with 30,000 other cyclists - I did ten years in a row.  I still have a couple of my T-shirts. 

The pandemic put a stop it it this year, but they're adapting as they can: they have a Spoketober Challenge next month and they're making some of their education programs virtual. Also they now have Recycle-A-Bicycle as part of their offerings, so you can shop for a used bike or donate one yourself. 

Donate to Bike New York here 

And that's a wrap on this edition of #MyNonprofits: I took the amount of money that would have been spent on a plane ticket to (sigh) New York to visit family in Connecticut and over the past week and a half divided it up among some nonprofits that make a difference and matter. Everything about this pandemic tells me there are more hard times to come so if you are healthy, employed, and had your summer plans ruined too, make a donation to any nonprofits that touched you in some way. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Good Karma Bikes in San Jose


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

Good Karma Bikes has had a tough go lately - in the Arts Mercantile building on 460 Lincoln Avenue, they had another bad break in in June - not a year after another significant one (both of the burglaries were covered by another one of #MyNonprofits, news organization San Jose Spotlight). 

Like another nonprofit, Community Cycles of California, they've had to scale back too. Their hours are reduced these days to 12 - 4 Tuesday through Saturday - less if there is a fire. Just my morale is affected by the wildfire smoke - they close the shop when the AQI is 150 or higher. When you have to rent a large industrial space for your work, the only air conditioning you sometimes get is when the windows are open. 

It's only $50 to sponsor a bicycle for a stranger who needs one, so please Donate to Good Karma Bikes here so they can come out of all this stronger. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Highways Performance Space


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

I've decided that I'll eventually compile all of the painted river rocks I've found on my walks in Santa Teresa County Park. I saw this one not too long ago and I read it as 'Live' as in 'live performances, live music'  but it probably meant 'Live' as in...'Live Free or Die' or 'Live Through This'...the album by Courtney Love's band, Hole, back in the early nineties.


Anyway, I probably read it that way because of a friend who commented that she misses museums, misses going to live shows, just...misses a physical interaction with people and culture. We all do, and we have to make sure these places are still there after COVID is gone.

Just as another one of #MyNonprofits is doing, City Lights in San Jose, Highways Performance Space is holding virtual events. Cellista was to perform there on March 27 and she eventually did a virtual show with Highways but I missed it since I didn't follow Highways Performance Space on Twitter at the time, but I do now. 

Donate to Highways Performance Space here.

Closing in on the bottom of #MyNonprofits list - hope you start at the top of yours, help some places out, and turn up some music.  Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

#MyNonprofits: YWCA Silicon Valley


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

YWCA Silicon Valley had their Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise money to fight domestic violence this past May - and this year was the third in a row I've done it. Only this time, instead of Santana Row, I was alone in an empty VTA parking lot where I walked a mile while attempting to Strava-art an image of a house. A friend at work did it in Milpitas and we exchanged pictures of our shoes. 

It was a nice moment, but domestic violence isn't a moment - it is a pandemic that has gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. YWCA Silicon Valley noted they've had a 300% increase in requests for emergency shelters and/or financial help.

The next YWCA Silicon Valley event is their Inspire Luncheon which is coming up on October 29th from 12:00 to 1:30. Susan Rice will be the keynote speaker and I hope you register for the Inspire Luncheon here. 

Donate to YWCA Silicon Valley here. 

I'll see you tomorrow and I hope between now and then you take some of the money you saved having trips cancelled this summer and put it towards some nonprofits that matter to you.  Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.  

Where my size 12 wedges dwell. Till next time, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Monday, September 14, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Be a Friend of Lick Observatory

Lick Observatory, August 24, 2019.

If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

The most worried I got during the SCU Lightning Complex Fire - which was both yesterday and a million years ago at the same time - was when I heard Lick Observatory was threatened. The worst part was there wasn't a lot of information - and it stressed me out that I could no longer see it from my garage thirty miles away. When the smoke finally cleared I could see the flames had indeed burnt the hills all around it, but it still stood. Matt Simon at Wired wrote a great feature about Lick Observatory and the fire here.

My first trip to Lick Observatory was on a bike on April 7, 2019. After a summer car trip to one of their photography nights, I rode my Back to the Future-themed roadbike back to Lick Observatory on August 24th. Twenty-five miles into a thirty-mile bike trip, I learned the riding up there in August is a lot different from April. My 1.5 liter Camelbak went dry and I crawled the rest of the way to the relief of that stupendous vending machine (which, if it is ever retired and I am eccentric and wealthy by then, I want that thing in my workshop).

For now, my workshop can support the space for postcard I got from the vending machine and carried all the way down the mountain on my first visit.

I'm not sure when my next visit is (I think the road is still closed) but I know that Lick Observatory could use our help (they also need San Jose to not install electronic billboards and add light pollution but that's another conversation). 

Donate to Lick Observatory Here

The smoke is still hanging in the Bay Area air as you can see (that photo was this morning - look at what it looked like in May) With wind, time and some support we'll see clear skies again. Hope you donate to some nonprofits that matter to you w/ the hashtag #MyNonprofits. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Veggielution in San Jose


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

Well, it's Groundhog Day...again. 

Things are getting cancelled, but instead of falling to COVID and Shelter in Place rules, they fall to wildfire smoke. Veggielution has a market on Saturdays and it was cancelled today so I wasn't able to go today - which is why the sky in that photo is suspiciously blue. For those of you keeping track: the AQI is in the 200eds around most of the Bay Area, so seeing as we are indoors, there really isn't any reason for you not to start donating to some nonprofits - and this is an easy one:  

Donate to Veggielution here 

Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Valley Verde in San Jose


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the do
nation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

Writing a brief post this morning since I'm not riding or hiking this morning because the air quality is terrible. Valley Verde is a nonprofit that was introduced to me by another one of My Nonprofits, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. One of the best memories of the pandemic was a socially distanced ride to deliver seedlings for free to families that needed them.

Valley Verde is engaging in a big fundraising effort right now and I'd love it if you donated. 

Donate to Valley Verde here.

I'm writing this indoors (where I hope most of you are) and just saw a segment on the Today Show that will not age well: people 'fleeing' cities, which has been debunked in several articles including this great one by Curbed. Cities are more important than ever (Hello! Climate Change!) and we have to think about how we want them to look when this is over. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

#MyNonprofits - Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley


Armadillo Willy's in San Jose, a few months into the pandemic (they lost the 'Clerks' reference a while ago)

If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the do
nation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

Tonight's edition of #MyNonprofits starts with me giving a h/t to my sister in New York: she mailed me a care package randomly.

I was not expecting this. It is a bubble machine for a bike. You attach it to your seatpost, put in the provided bubble fluid, turn it on, and it emits bubbles while you ride. It's meant for those aged three and up - so I just get in under the wire. 

I admit, I hadn't thought about bubbles in a long time. But a glance out the window at the still post-apocalyptic landscape made me thing I should bubble up the skies. 

I have room in my head - and in my schedule once I finished work - to think about bubbles because I didn't have to think about food. Well, I do think about food constantly but it's more about when and what I am going to eat.

I don't have to think about the how. But a lot of people in the Bay Area do, so tonight's edition of #MyNonprofits brings me to Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley. I just learned from their newsletter it is Hunger Action Month. The same document reminded me that we are six months into shelter in place, which means six months into a world where a lot of people are out of work and have scaled-back hours. 

Remember you're not just helping an organization, you're helping the people who cut our hair, clean our houses, wait on our tables, and deliver our food, and do a thousand other things that make our neighborhoods work. Donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara County here. 

Also please remember the #MyNonprofits thing doesn't just apply to the Bay Area - COVID has made a lot of people food inscure across the country. In New York one there is City Harvest - which I know about because Seth Meyers talks about it at the end of each A Closer Look on YouTube. Donate to City Harvest here, and if enough of us do we'll eventually get to a place where everyone can think more about bubbles than about how to get food. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

#MyNonprofits - Donate to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and take part in BTWD


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you.

Today I am leading with the photo above - taken on a ride to Morgan Hill in April - to remind myself what a real sky looks like. For those of you in the Bay Area and living through a historic wildfire season, you've surely noticed today that the sky looks like a cross between what Viggo Mortensen was pushing his shopping trolley under in 'The Road' and a hotel carpet with a light urine stain. It's been dusk since breakfast and every single photo on Twitter looks like this:

That's the sky* if you're in the South Bay - in San Francisco the sky is Mars red (and if you look closely in one of the apartment windows you can see Matt Damon planting potatoes).

Anyway: instead of tweeting pictures of the post-apocalyptic wonder that is the greater Bay Area make a donation to a nonprofit and tell the world about it on Twitter (Like Jennifer Golson in New Jersey just did).

Here's another one of mine I just donated to: Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Advocacy, education and outreach - and like I said: if there is intersection in the Bay Area that is suddenly safer for bicycles than it was before, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition almost certainly had something to do with it. 

When the plague hit, they worked quickly and had postponed Bike to Work Day to September 24th and created a social media campaign called #JoyRideSV. Now, with COVID of course not letting up, Bike to Work Day is Bike to Wherever Days which has random prize drawings and competitions all through September. Sign up for Bike to Wherever Days here and... 

Donate to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition here

Bike to Work Day in San Jose in non-social distancing times

A lot of people started biking when COVID started and we gotta make a world where they'll feel comfortable doing it after, so I hope you support the SVBC - and that you share your favorite nonprofits on social with the hashtag #MyNonprofits. I'll be in the saddle tomorrow and hope we'll be riding under a prettier sky. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

*sorry - that wasn't the sky; just a piece of paper placed over the power indicator button on an IBM ThinkPad. But I had you there, didn't I?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

#MyNonprofits: City Lights Theater Company in San Jose


If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you. 

This morning, I checked - which is a thing that you do in California during fire season - and was happy to see that downtown San Jose had an AQI that seemed unlikely to kill me. I wore a decent quality n-95 anyway and took the Back to the Future bike for a spin. 

One of #MyNonprofits is San Jose Spotlight, and last week the reported two sisters are starting a new coffee shop called Nirvana Soul, where Cafe Frascati used to be. According to the article it will open later this month so keep a sharp eye and pack a handlebar cup holder. 

On the way back, the sight of the sign at City Lights Theater Company - a nonprofit that the artist Cellista introduced me to - made me stop for another photo. Possibly an homage to the sign-off that Seth Meyers does at the end of A Closer Look when asking viewers to support City Harvest. It made me smile - and I made a small donation to City Lights Theater when I got home under a grey sky.

A lot of theaters are obviously closed temporarily because of COVID-19 but City Lights has a lot of shows online, a podcast, and is producing an online show on Friday evenings called The Next Stage. The words on their homepage include the stage is dark but the light's aren't out. Let's keep them on forever - and when COVID is over we'll jam a table at Nirvana Soul and stand in a crowded line at the box office. 

Donate to City Lights Theater Company here

That's all for the moment - hope you have a chance this week to find nonprofits that matter to you and tell the world about them. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Give Blood on Saturday (and donate to Be the Change Wellness Today)

If you're healthy, employed, and traveled less than you wanted this summer, please make a donation to a nonprofit organization(s) that matters to you and share the donation link on social media with the hashtag #MyNonprofits - encouraging others to do the same. I hope you take part - thank you. 

Like a lot of you I have good days and bad days in terms of Coping With The Pandemic - and sometimes the former can flip unexpectedly to the latter with almost no warning. 

One time that happened was in late May - one of #MyNonprofits, Good Karma Bikes, was hosting a blood drive. I'm afraid of needles but I give blood anyway, so I was excited to do it. When I got there - masked and ready to go! - I marveled at how well that had everything planned out so donors could be safe distance from each other and the staff.

I filled out a questionnaire on a tablet, but when I got inside the Bloodmobile the nurse gave me some bad news about my answers: On the travel questions I wrote I had traveled to Hyderabad, India late last year, which is considered a malaria risk area - which meant I would be ineligible to give blood again until December. 

As professional as the nurse was, it still felt like a bad breakup. I shuffled out of the Bloodmobile without a cookie and no bandage on my arm. The reasoning was the worst part: all I've wanted to do for months is travel - the #MyNonprofits initiative was born from a trip in Italy I never got to take - and I couldn't even go across town to give blood because of travel I had done before the pandemic. 

It left me demoralized for days.  

That brings me to now: Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area is coordinating the 4th Annual NBC Bay Area Proud blood drive this Saturday, September 12th at 1375 Blossom Hill Road (Princeton Plaza) from 9am to 2pm. As I mentioned, the social distancing and other safety measures the staff at Stanford Blood Center engages is great but they just can't accommodate as many people as they did in pre-coronavirus times, so every appointment counts. If you're eligible to give blood visit the NBC Bay Area page of the Stanford Blood Center site and make an appointment. You can also go to the Stanford Blood Center site and enter the sponsor code of 2440 (and when you give blood use the hashtag #GiveBloodSBC

In the meantime, please consider taking part in #MyNonprofits by donating to the nonprofits that matter to you - and on the off chance we share one I urge you to please make a donation to Be the Change Yoga and Wellness - a nonprofit yoga studio. The pandemic hit them hard - they quickly moved to hold classes through Zoom but they still had to close their physical studio this summer. 

And the organization is going to pause with even the Zoom classes later on this month - which I can tell already isn't going to be good for my own well being. So please, help them out if you can.

Donate to Be the Change Yoga & Wellness here 

That's all I've got for now - hope you stay indoors today (it's over 100 degrees in San Jose right now) and make donations to some of your nonprofits and tell the world about them with #MyNonprofits. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

#MyNonprofits - September Edition - Continues w/ Community Cycles of California

Community Cycles of California, August 15, 2020

 For those of you just tuning in: I started #MyNonprofits back in April: donating to one nonprofit that I like every day and sharing the donation link on Twitter with the hashtag #MyNonprofits. It began as a way to live through the pandemic and spend a little money that was earmarked for a trip to Italy that was cancelled. Now that my annual Labor Day weekend trip to New York and Connecticut was dissolved by COVID, I'm doing another round of MyNonprofits to cheer myself up and keep some perspective.

Friday I donated to San Jose Spotlight and yesterday to Habitat for Humanity East Bay Silicon Valley

Now it's day three (and the day before I'd like you - if you can, to take part in #MyNonprofits to show organizations that matter that we have their back) and it's time to talk bikes.

Community Cycles of California, as I wrote back in April, was in the unlucky situation of having to close the doors of their downtown San Jose retail location just weeks after opening (not before I 'panic bought' a gently used folding bike).

Summer has been intense - the well-documented demand for bikes during COVID times was felt in the walls of CCC, but the process of updating their web presence stalled in that time. Also - and this is the case with other nonprofits - COVID has impacted the work volunteers can do. For months, two people were staffing a bike shop usually worked by eight or more. In their well written update a couple weeks back, they announced they are scaling back shop hours and other work for about a month while they rebuild inventory and engage in efforts for their long-term prosperity. I want them to be even stronger by the time COVID ends, so I made another donation today.

Donate to Community Cycles of California here 

That's all for the moment. Starting tomorrow I want to see some of you using the #MyNonprofits hashtag and supporting nonprofits - if you want some examples please look at my original list of My Nonprofits. Thanks for donating what you can to the nonprofits that mean a lot to you. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

#MyNonprofits: Habitat for Humanity East Bay Silicon Valley (and the 2020 Cycle of Hope ride)


It's early on Saturday morning. I'm watching the Tour de France - not because I care about any of the teams but because I haven't been to another country in ten months and am soaking up the scenery (also to see if I can get a glimpse of the chef Hannah Grant).

I'm also thinking about one of #MyNonprofits, Habitat for Humanity East Bay Silicon Valley and their upcoming event to help raise money for affordable housing, Cycle of Hope

Now some of you remember I did the Cycle of Hope ride last year even though, at the time, I was in no mood to do it and said so when I wrote about it. I was having a difficult autumn to begin with and don't ride in groups often...but now there's a long list of things I'd love to do and riding in a group is one of them. 

I've written on several occasions on the links between bikes and affordable housing - so much so I'm not going to interrupt the flow of my writing to embed the hyperlinks. But last year's Cycle of Hope ride was a lot of fun - and maybe net year it will look more like a group ride we all know and love - and this year's ride you can choose your course. So please register for the Cycle of Hope ride - just like I did.

If biking isn't your thing I'm not sure how you found this post, but either way I hope you donate to Habitat for Humanity East Bay Silicon Valley Here.

That's all for today - hope you think about some of the nonprofits that have touched your life in some way and tell the world about them the week starting Monday, September 7th and use the hashtag #MyNonprofits. Let's mark the end of the summer with the start of a better world. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Pausing during the 2019 Cycle of Hope ride. Register for the 2020 Cycle of Hope ride here

Friday, September 4, 2020

On Monday, September 7th: End the Summer, Start #MyNonprofits


Photo of lightning I took in south San Jose early on August 16. Little did I know the very rare lightning storm started some intense and destructive wildfires. 

Not that anyone needs a reminder, but the pandemic continues. 

This summer I did not fly to Italy as planned, and right now if I want to visit the state of my birth I'd have to endure two weeks of quarantine on arrival since California is on the NY/NJ/CT list.  

I have a Brompton folding bike that is very useful for taking a train in to work and putting beside my desk at my job or under a table at a coffee shop.

So much nostalgia in that one sentence (I dust my Brompton every week).

And now, wildfires fueled by a rare lightning storm.

The second largest wildfire in California state history is about ten or fifteen miles from my house and during the worst parts the evacuation line was less than three miles away. A neighbor of mine has a four wheel drive truck with huge tires that he rarely uses and always keeps garaged. But like a lot of cars in my neighborhood, it's been in the driveway, facing out, for two weeks. I consider the truck a Leading Emergency Indicator - much like the Waffle House index -  and when it goes back to his garage I can unpack my go-bag.

And still, I am still one of the lucky ones. A lot of people have been out of work for months and I don't have a landlord to contend with.

This Summer, I spent a few days at Mammoth Lakes and another few days at Mendocino. In the interim I messed around with bikes in my shop, bought a portable bandsaw (about time you made that, Ryobi), and learned how to use a sewing machine. And I got to ride.

So I'm lucky - but Facebook memories has been smirking at me a lot lately with reminders of trips back east to see family, friends, and chocolate-raspberry croissants.

Mystic, Connecticut with the Bike Friday in August 2019

I do Zoom and Facetime with them (my family and friends - not the croissants).

Even though this is a rough summer, I'm bracing for a rough autumn and more hard times to come - especially for our most vulnerable neighbors who aren't as lucky as us. So I'm kicking off another round of #MyNonprofits and I hope you join me. 

#MyNonprofits is when you donate to a nonprofit that has touched your life in some way, share the donation link, and use the #MyNonprofits link to encourage friends to do the same. I suggest repeating the action every day for seven days since there are a lot of organizations doing a lot of necessary work and they need our help. 

I'm asking you all to take the weekend and think of some nonprofits you love, and make a donation on Monday as our kind of way to make peace with this difficult summer (or as difficult as a summer can get when we're not hungry, not facing eviction, and currently employed). You can donate any amount but I suggest you figure out how much a cancelled trip cost you and donate that amount to your favorite nonprofits. In April it was Italy - today it is New York. 

I started today by making a donation to San Jose Spotlight. I hope I don't need to remind any of you how important journalism is in this time, but the service reporters do is worth paying for, so I offer them up as a place for you to donate if you choose to.

I'll present more in the coming days but for now: please ask yourself: What are My Nonprofits? What are the organizations I definitely want to see make it through the pandemic? Answer those questions on Monday, and share the results on Twitter and other social. And wear a mask this weekend. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Seedlings, Cycling, Blood, and Heels: A #MyNonprofits Update

Before you read this post: renew or start a membership for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Do it now. I'll wait. 

Join #MyNonprofits: donate to a different nonprofit a day, every day for seven days or more, share why you love them, and nominate someone to do the same. 

Now that you've become a member of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, I want to tell you about a fun thing I did on May 9 with the hopes you agree to do it on May 23.   

What I did was volunteer to bring seedlings from one of #MyNonprofits, Valley Verde in San Jose to families in need. As I noted in my last post: Valley Verde was supposed to hold their seedling fair but COVID-19 put a stop to that. What they decided they wanted to give the seedlings away, and they enlisted the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to handle the logistics and gathering volunteers to deliver the seedlings. It was a successful event that was covered by NBC Bay Area and The San Jose Mercury News

Signing up to do it made me happy. Putting it on my calendar made me happy. Heading there with my City Bike towing the seven year-old bike trailer made with an IKEA tub and Bike Friday trailer frame made me happy. 

I showed up, and even though we were set at an acceptable physical distance and all wore masks, I was still able to recognize some friends. That made me happy, too. 

Like the other riders, I showed at my pre-determined time slot and chose my rides - two deliveries about eight miles away. I rode out, I delivered the seedlings, I rode back.

And Valley Verde and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition are doing it again on Saturday, May 23. If you've lost your job recently or struggling financially due to COVID-19 visit by May 19th and follow the instructions to see if you qualify.

If you were among the scores of people who signed up to help deliver the seedlings by bike and were turned away because there were too many volunteers sign up to deliver seeds here. And if you get to Valley Verde before your appointment time, pop into iJava to get something to drink. 

View from iJava Cafe on Auzerais

I have some other Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition news: I am going to be on a panel on Wednesday at noon called How to Haul Anything By Bike. It's the last Bike Month webinar co-produced by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and - Register for the Zoom webinar here.  

I have a couple of other things to update you about with a couple of #MyNonprofits.


Veggielution just had their Eastside Connect event online. They had Sal Pizarro of The San Jose Mercury News as the emcee, author Cecilia Tsu as the keynote, and a variety of special guests. Watch it here and make a donation to Veggielution.

Good Karma Bikes

Good Karma Bikes is on 460 Lincoln Avenue in San Jose and is open for repairs and sales as long as you wear a mask and engage in physical distancing. Prior to the pandemic they'd hold mobile blood drives on site with a Bloodmobile from Stanford Blood Center - and they correctly understand the need for blood donors hasn't gone away during Shelter in Place. The next Good Karma Bikes blood drive is on May 28th. Make an appointment to give blood here.  

YWCA Silicon Valley (Walk a Mile in her Shoes) 

YWCA Silicon Valley is going forward with Walk a Mile again this year - but instead of men walking in heels in a huge group in Santana Row to raise money to help fight domestic violence, they're doing a virtual walk to raise money to help fight domestic violence. I'm doing it for the third year in a row (I saved my size 12 wedges I used last year, as you can see) and this time I'm recruiting mates at my office to do it with me. I hope you register for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and encourage others to do that too. 

That's all I've got for now: remember to keep washing your hands and taking care of yourself. I know all of us are experiencing some unruly cocktail of grief/shock/loss, but you still have your job and your health please start thinking of the nonprofits that matter to you and show them some support. As I write this I am supposed to be flying to Italy so I could eat and bike my way around Umbria. But I'm slowly letting go of where I'm supposed to be and thinking about where I am - and what I can do. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Morgan Hill, California. May 17, 2020

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

#MyNonprofits Update: Deliver Seedlings by Bike on May 9 in San Jose

I have a calendar by my desk as I work from home. Because of COVID-19, there isn't anything on it - just two yellow sticky notes. One has the word TODAY written on it that I move from one day to the next. For quite a while, it has felt like there is no tomorrow - just another version of today. 

Speaking of today: San Jose Spotlight's coronavirus blog just reported the County of Santa Clara is extending their Shelter in Place order is going through May 31. So the other yellow sticky on my calendar - the one that reads 'lockdown ends' just moved up to the end of next month. Other than that, my calendar has seen no action.

But if you live near downtown San Jose, have either a bike with big panniers, a bike trailer or a cargo bike, you're going to mark your calendar with a blunt-point Sharpie: On Saturday, May 9th, Valley Verde needs your help to deliver seedlings by bike to area families.

Let me back up a second.

Valley Verde is, as of last night, one of #MyNonprofits. For those of you who don't know: #MyNonprofits is a campaign when you make a financial donation* to a different nonprofit every day for seven days or more, encourage others to donate, and nominate one friend or more each day to take the #MyNonprofits challenge. I started this because I was supposed to fly to Italy for vacation in May, and of course that was cancelled, so I reasoned that if I can't enrich my life abroad, I was going to take the money that would be used on the trip and help nonprofits that enrich other people's lives - including mine. 

I first visited Valley Verde last year - my wife and I rode our tandem on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition's garden ride, and Valley Verde was one of the stops. Neither of us had heard of it before but we ended up taking an eggplant in the seatpost bag which survived the rest of the journey and later gave us an eggplant.

Like Veggielution (another one of #MyNonprofits) Valley Verde is a farm in San Jose that specializes in giving education and other programs to low-income families - as well as edible gardens. They teach how to grow their own food - like, real food**sold seedlings at their annual seedling fair, but like my vacation in Italy, that was cancelled which is a big loss for them and the families who use the seedlings. 

What Valley Verde is doing instead is giving the seedlings away to low income families. Let's skip ahead of their incredibly nice gesture and get to the rub: limited public transportation, no options for child care and other factors means a lot of people want seedlings but can't physically go get them. 

So the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is trying to get volunteers to help bring seedlings to families on Saturday, May 9. It is not an organized ride - it is a socially distanced one. This means you can't just show up with a cargo bike or a bike trailer or big panniers and take plants. What you need to do is click here to make an appointment to give away seedlings by bike and choose how many miles you wish to ride to deliver zucchini, peppers or other plants. 

The plants themselves are in containers - the size is about 6' x 10" by 10" -  so if you have a trailer or a cargo bike, you can carry a lot more plants and help a lot more people in one go. You drop the plants off at the addresses they give you - so it is 100% social distanced all the way.

So what I ask you today, the readers, is to make a donation to Valley Verde. I personally know the feeling that comes when a big fundraising event doesn't take place for a nonprofit and it is not a good feeling. So make a donation to Valley Verde, then share the Valley Verde donation page online. 

Next - if you have a bike that can carry plants that you can ride safely, live close enough to ride to Valley Verde, are free on May 9, then sign up to deliver seedlings. If you want to read something better written - and with more detail and fewer spelling errors - here's the Valley Verde post by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition executive director Shiloh Ballard. 

That's all for now. Please check out the list of the nonprofits I have on #MyNonprofit list and take the #MyNonprofits challenge: give a little money to one nonprofit a day, ever day for seven days or more, and each time nominate a friend to do the same. COVID-19 is taking away a lot from us now but let's make sure it doesn't take even more from the less fortunate among ourselves later. Thanks for reading, thanks for riding (alone), and thanks for taking the #MyNonprofits challenge. 

*if it is the American Red Cross - blood if you prefer. Make an appointment to give blood online here.  

**I swear, every time I am in the grocery store I notice what someone is carrying in their baskets or trolleys and think "If the coronavirus doesn't kill you, that junk you plan to eat will." Don't get me started on the people who pull down their masks when they get outside to smoke a cigarette.