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Give Back To The World By Driving Less Biking More
The League and its supporters have long believed in bicycling as part of the solution to climate change and the movement toward building a healthier, greener nation. Director of Membership and Development Kevin Dekkinga had the pleasure of interviewing one of the League’s many lifetime members and a big proponent of biking for the climate, Tim Oey, for the League's Winter 2022 magazine. Tim shared with us how he gives back to the world through bicycling, stating, “The biggest win for the earth is to get as many people as possible to bike.”
That’s the premise of our “Drive Less, Bike More” challenge. We’re asking more people to turn their short trips for transportation into fun bike rides and log their trips to help us prove the power of turning 2 million miles of would-be car trips into 2 million miles worth of climate-saving action! By doing so, we’ll prove just how much carbon emissions we can save the planet and how bicycling truly gives back to the world. If you haven’t already, we hope the following piece will inspire you to join us.
When you work in bike advocacy for many years, you meet so many inspiring, dedicated, determined people. Tim Oey, a lifetime member of the League, is one of them.
As a League Cycling Instructor, Event Manager with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, instructor for Bicycle Solutions and Wheel Kids, commissioner on the Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, member of the VTA Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and all-weather transportation cyclist— Tim wears many hats in the active transportation field. Tim has always been ‘into bikes,’ riding cross-country in his college days in support of Oxfam and later riding with local clubs such as the Charles River Wheelers in Boston. He was instrumental in establishing one of the bike world’s early online presences, BikeNet on AOL, with the League, Adventure Cycling, IMBA and other partners. A few years ago, after an extensive career in the tech industry, Tim turned his life-long passion for bicycling and all things Zero Waste into a full-time endeavor. Drawing inspiration from an exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium chronicling plastics pollution, as well as his own lived experience, Tim dug into the notion of ecological balance in the world, striving to live as close to Zero Waste as possible, while inspiring others to do the same.
“I knew I had to leave the corporate world and establish a new balance. Humankind is currently over budget and consuming about twice as much as our planet can provide sustainably. In order for me to consume and dispose of less, it helped to earn less and reduce my own budget,” Tim said. From there, he decided to dedicate his professional life full time to bicycling as a tool for sustainability.
“The biggest win for the earth is to get as many people as possible to bike— it is all about balance, just like riding a bike.”
Shortly thereafter, Tim bicycled crosscountry in support of Climate Ride, naming the League and other bicycling and environmental groups as beneficiaries. Riding from town to town, Tim shared ideas and inspiration with thousands at aquariums, schools, libraries, and other venues en route from his home in Silicon Valley all the way to Boston. Tim shared with us a quote he recently read from Dahr Jamail discussing his book “The End of Ice”, which Tim said captured the challenge and mindset change he feels Americans need to take to heart:
“The single biggest thing I learned was from an indigenous elder of Cherokee descent, Stan Rushworth, who reminded me of the difference between a Western settler mindset of “I have rights” and an indigenous mindset of “I have obligations.” Instead of thinking that I am born with rights, I choose to think that I am born with obligations to serve past, present, and future generations, and the planet herself.” Bicycling, Tim said, is more than just a simple strategy for living Zero Waste. When you consider the amount of material and energy it takes to propel humans over distance, there’s no more efficient machine than the bicycle for transportation on the planet. Tim relishes in what he’s able to move by bike and cargo trailer. “Simply using my Trek 520 and trailers, I can move 1,000 lbs at one time burning no fossil fuels at all.” These days, Tim spends as much time on two wheels as he can, while organizing events for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and teaching adults and kids how to ride and ride safely. “The biggest win for the earth is to get as many people as possible to bike,” Tim said. For Tim, “it is all about balance, just like riding a bike.”
Learn more about Tim’s journey and philosophy at zerow.org.