November 2009


VOL. 28 NO. 6       

 November 2009

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 9054 Eureka CA 95502


New Members:

  • Melissa & Todd Kraemer, Arcata
  • Joan Helwer, Eureka*

Renewed Members for 2008:

  • Stella & Wayne Hawkins, McKinleyville**

Those with a ** have made additional donations to the HBBCA. Those with *** have made donations of $25 or more.

If you have not renewed your dues for 2009, please do so by filling out the application at the end of this newsletter.


The next regular HBBCA meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m., November 30, 2009 at Carmela’s Mexican Restaurant in Arcata, 13th and G Streets.  At this meeting we will be wishing a fond farewell to our President, Scott Kelly who is moving with his wife to Portland OR  (See other articles in this newsletter).  We will be considering how to recover from his loss at the meeting.  Please try to join us. Other agenda items can be added by emailing Rick Knapp at


Scott’s friends are invited for a happy hour to raise a beer to Scott Kelly at the Lost Coast Brewery, 617 4th Street in Eureka on November 19 at 5:30 pm


Sometime around 1990 or ’91 I picked up a brochure from the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association at a counter in Eureka.  I had been an avid bike commuter my whole life, and having recently moved back to Humboldt County, I was interested in learning more about this group.  I started going to meetings, writing letters and a grant application, and helping out with events, and within a few years I was somehow asked to be President of the group when Bruce Hicks, former president, left for the Bay area. 

Now it’s time for me to move on.  In a couple months my wife and I will be moving to Portland where a new urban adventure awaits.  It has been an incredible honor and pleasure to be associated with HBBCA.  I’ve particularly enjoyed advocating for bike facilities throughout the area, helping organize the annual Bike-to-Work Day (which has evolved into Humboldt Bike Month), and working with our Bike Smart youth training program.  HBBCA has earned a good reputation among local agencies, and I think our expertise, opinions, and advocacy are respected and solicited. 

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been riding my bike to school and work, and to run errands and visit friends, forever.  I was lucky enough to live about a mile from my grade school, and I could ride through my neighborhood, around a dead-end barrier, and on a dirt track across a field to my school.  I rode to junior high and high school (I avoided the bus with a passion!).  My later regular bike commutes included riding through suburban San Diego to college, riding 6 miles up Stewart Springs Road from Shasta Valley to work, commuting from Manila to HSU by bike, riding on the Burke-Gillman path in Seattle to the Univ. of Washington, riding along Tumon Bay in Guam to work, riding across Eureka, and riding a short distance in McKinleyville to work. 

Bike commuting isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems.  But it’s one way I, as an individual, can do something to minimize my impact on the environment, reduce traffic congestion, and maintain my health (I’ve noticed that I rarely get sick when I ride regularly).  And I genuinely enjoy the company of fellow cyclists.  After I settle in Portland, I’m sure I’ll get involved in some way in the huge cycling community there. 

I’m going to miss all the friends I’ve made in Humboldt County.  I’m hopeful some new folks will step forward to get involved in HBBCA to pursue our goal to improve and encourage bicycle commuting.    There’s still a lot to be done, and cyclists need to continue to provide input to local agencies to identify where limited resources should be invested.  As my parting message, I think HBBCA should increasingly work with other like-minded groups like Green Wheels, The Humboldt Partnership for Active Living (HumPAL), and Bigfoot Bicycle Club.  

May the wind always be at your back.

Ode to Scott

By Jen Rice, former Director of Planning

We’re lucky to live in a community where it is the norm that people give much of themselves, often to numerous efforts. Scott Kelly is one of Humboldt’s generous, caring individuals and has played a significant role advancing the County’s transportation and land use planning to achieve community goals – in particular, making it safer to bike and walk, and focusing future development around existing infrastructure. 

I have come to believe very strongly in the power of interdisciplinary work to achieve these goals, since no one discipline alone can tackle the challenging ‘built environment’ issues we’ve created. To me, Scott exemplifies the ability of someone from a fairly regimented discipline – engineering – who can work quite comfortably with people of many different disciplines and backgrounds. HBBCA members will know that Scott has dedicated many years working to facilitate safer bicycle commuting in Humboldt County. I don’t think many engineers have been seated on the County Planning Commission, as Scott has for nearly seven years, nor do many know and work with the staff of the County Public Health Department. He served as President of the Humboldt County Association of Governments’ Technical Advisory Committee and on the steering committee of the Humboldt Partnership for Active Living (HumPAL). He has worked professionally on many projects that advance his vision, such as the Annie & Mary Rail-Trail Feasibility Study and bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements for Blue Lake. His work has definitely left a positive mark.

Many, many thanks to Scott for his years of dedication to improving active transportation in Humboldt County… he will be dearly missed, but we KNOW he’ll have a great time enjoying the robust bike culture in Portland!


By Rick Knapp, Vice-President

Scott, we will always be indebted to you for your 14 years of guiding us as President, half of the years that we have been in existence as an organization. 

A lot has been accomplished during the time you led us.   And, you established a tone of professionalism that resulted in the HBBCA being accepted by cyclists and government agencies  as an important contributor to the advancement of cycling as a legitimate mode of transportation in the Humboldt Bay region. 

I will miss working with you with kids in our BikeSmart Program and with Bike Month every year.   And, I will miss your friendship.   Good friends are hard to find. 

I know our loss is Portland’s gain, but at this point it is hard to get too excited about that.   You are leaving big shoes to fill, a lot bigger than your feet!   You will be missed.   Best of luck to you and Barb in Portland.


Dues are payable on a calendar year basis.   If you haven’t done so already, this would be a good time to renew your commitment.   See application at the end of the newsletter.


Since its formation in 1982, the HBBCA has been sending out cycling calendars to its members so that they can keep track of cycling miles for the year.   It can help you be sure you aren’t slacking off from one month to the next or one year to the next.   If you’ve never used it, try it this year.

Click here to download our Annual Mileage chart.


Over the past year, I have written letters to the D.A.’s office, investigators, a newspaper, and a judge.  All were written with underlying and often overt tones of impatience, desperation, disbelief, and anger. So now I write with some relief and enormous gratitude. 

I owe a great deal to HBBCA and Rick Knapp in particular for giving me the impetus and subsequent encouragement to get involved when I might not have otherwise.  What began in reservation ultimately provided a constructive outlet to try and do something about the random and reckless event that killed my husband, Greg (Jennings).  I am sure many of you were likewise motivated at both a personal level or as a fellow bicycle commuter. 

It did not take long for me to loath the “2nd floor of the courthouse”.  Someone suggested I write a short-story or play with that title.  Certainly there is material there, most of it rather sad about lives gone awry, troubled families, mistakes made, and a justice system that cannot handle most of this.  Those who attended the numerous trials or otherwise kept in contact can attest at least to the latter.  We were all dismayed with the process that led to the sentencing.  The shift from a felony to a misdemeanor charge was a significant blow.  To those of you advocating for bicyclists’ rightful use of  roads and highways, and regard for that right in the court system if need be, this downgrade must have been discouraging.    

But as to the sentencing, I do believe besides the facts of the case, the letters sent by many of you to Judge Watson and your attendance at that trial made a difference in Alan Bear’s receipt of the maximum sentence under a misdemeanor (one year jail time).  

On a personal note, there were those of you who attended almost all of the trials, some of you who expressed words of support (and frustration) via email, and others who simply and caringly inquired in passing.  Your support I could not have done without:  Betty Jain, Christine Aus, Tom Carlberg, Toni Farrar, John St. Marie, Rick Knapp, P.A. WinterSun, Jen Rice, Liz McGee, John Stokes, Shelley Fugate, Jeff Landon, Chris Rall, Brett Gronemeyer, Anthony Kahn, Vic Armijo, Tim Daniels, Tom Phillips, Melanie Williams, and Cliff Berkowitz.   I apologize to those I may have left out—those who got involved for the cause and those who supported me through all this. 

Lisa Hoover, Blue Lake

I would like to acknowledge the tireless and dedicated efforts of Rick Knapp in seeking justice for Greg.   Rick was a powerful advocate, and I don’t believe the sentence that was handed down would have been possible without his involvement in this case. 

Jim Jennings, San Francisco


According to Chris Whitworth, Deputy Director, Humboldt County Public Works

Old Arcata Road - paving completed, striping to be completed in November.  Aiming for 11 foot  vehicular lanes with 6 to 7 foot paved shoulders.
Freshwater Road - some shoulder widening still to be completed.  This work is to be completed within the first two weeks of November.
Scenic Drive - Paving and rehabilitation of the roadway north of Cherae Heights will be completed in the next two weeks (this is a BIA project).  Bicyclists should use caution due to poor road conditions and loose gravel (a road condition prevalent throughout Scenic Drive due to continuous bluff failure, not construction)
Airport Road - Paving and repair from Letz Ave to Central Ave.  Due to the nature of the ARRA funding and the delay an involved NEPA process would have created we were unable to achieve paved shoulders on this important commuter link at this time.  This does not mean that we will not continue to try to get shoulders on this road.  (I tried to get BTA funding here and was turned down).
Lucas Street - Paving and repair completed on Friday.  This was an ARRA funded project.  A STIP project to provide continuous sidewalks on Lucas, Myrtle, Hubbard and Harris is on hold due to lack of State Transportation funds.
Central Avenue - Shoulders from Turner Draw to Bella Vista.  This STIP project is on hold due to lack of State Transportation funds.
School Road - sidewalks from Fischer to Salmon are scheduled for TE funding in 2012.  Widening and regrading from Washington to Hwy 101 are scheduled to begin next summer.  Completed section will include an extension of bike lanes through this reach of road.  Because some of the widening is dependent upon development of subdivisions on the north side of the road, some of the improvements may take several years to materialize.
We continue to work on grants to improve existing portions of the Hammond Trail including Letz Ave, the Mad River Bridge and Mad River Road.


By Scott Kelly, President

In September Caltrans met with an External Advisory Committee to present its plans to conduct a feasibility study of State Route 255 (Samoa Blvd).  The External Advisory Committee included representatives from various transportation and community interest groups (including HBBCA), city and county governments, the Harbor District, Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), and Manila CSD.  The study area extends from "K" Street in Arcata, through Manila, across the Samoa Bridges to the intersection of Hwy 101 in Eureka.  The purpose of the study is to identify a range of potential improvements that can be made to the highway.  These improvements are intended to increase  mobility for non-motorized users of the highway and the study will provide a document that can be used as a reference for future projects.  Caltrans will provide regular informational updates to stakeholders, and plans two public input meetings tentatively scheduled for January and April 2010 (no specific dates yet).  The final report is to be completed in June 2010. 

This study has the potential to lay out a program to significantly improve Route 255 for bicyclists and pedestrians over the next several years, as funding becomes available.  If you would like to find out more about the study, or to be notified about future public meetings, you can contact Brian Simon, Caltrans Project Engineer, at 441-3935, or via email at


By Rick Knapp - Vice-President

For many years, I have been trying to talk cyclists into attaching a rearview mirror to their helmets.   Many have done so; others have had a variety of excuses not to try it.   I usually present some of the following arguments: 

  • It allows you to “ride as far to the left as practicable”—why ride with the glass and debris if no one is behind you?
  • It allows you to more ride defensively.
  • It allows you to see the position of that vehicle behind you.
  • It allows you to watch ahead while knowing what is going on behind you.
  • It allows you to make sure you are not side by side with wide vehicles coming both directions on a narrow roadway.
  • Would you want to drive a car with no rearview mirrors?
  • Etc., etc. 

While these arguments haven’t always prevailed, I’ve never had anyone use one and decide they didn’t like it.   After a day or two, they are hooked. 

In this article, I’d like to try a new strategy.   I have titled the article “Anatomy of a Mirror,” which is probably not grammatically correct, but I hope it helps make the case. 

On September 14th, I was riding my bike on the freeway/expressway from 14th Street in Arcata to Eureka.   I know I check behind me frequently, but didn’t know how frequently.   This time, I tried to keep track of the number of times I checked behind me.   The total: 72 times!

Why did I check in the mirror? 

  • As I entered the freeway, going down the 14th Street off-ramp, I checked behind me to see if I was leaving auto traffic in the dust.
  • As I approached the Samoa Boulevard off ramp, I checked behind to see if anyone was signaling to turn off, or was in the right lane and might turn off; looked for a gap in traffic, then signaled and crossed; looked back to see if there was a vehicle in the on- ramp before checking to my right and crossing it.
  • Then, I looked back to make sure a merging vehicle approaching did not find it necessary to be on the shoulder while looking for a gap in traffic.  (Did similar routine at South G Street onramp.)
  • There was debris on the Gannon Slough Bridge; I checked behind to see if it was safe to pass to the left of the debris.
  • I periodically checked behind as I heard traffic approaching, making sure none were in the shoulder.
  • When I got to the Eucalyptus trees, there were limbs and seed pods from the 1” of rain the day before; I looked back frequently as I weaved my way safely through the debris.
  • I checked frequently behind as I approached and crossed the Eureka Slough Bridge because of the curve and shoulder width.
  • I checked behind before leaving the shoulder and crossing the right turn only lane at Target.
  • From there, I went home, probably checking behind another 30 times to facilitate my safe travel. 
If this helps convince you to give it a try, you can get a rearview mirror at any bike shop for about $15, or less with your HBBCA discount.   Installation is simple; but don’t expect the “stickum” to work.   Reinforce it with duct tape.   Have the mirror extend about 1 inch beyond from front of your helmet.


Residents of Humboldt County are invited to provide input to the 2010 Humboldt County Regional Trails Master Plan. Community participation is a vital component of this planning effort to establish a blueprint for developing trail systems that facilitate active transportation in the region.  

To gather input, the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) will sponsor a set of community workshops that will be both active and interactive.  Community workshop participants will be asked to provide their regional trails plan vision and to discuss priorities for trail development. A series of maps that illustrate the existing and proposed active transportation network will be available for participants to review. 

Community workshops will be November 16-18 and all start at 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.: Monday, November 16 in Eureka at the Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way; Tuesday, November 17 in McKinleyville at Azalea Hall, 1656 Sutter Road; and Wednesday November 18 in Fortuna at The Monday Club, 610 Main Street.  HCAOG requests community workshop participants to attend the full ninety minute workshop.  

The 2010 Humboldt County Regional Trails Master Plan will document the community’s regional trail plan vision, outline the existing and proposed active transportation network, contain trail guidelines, and a trail prioritization strategy.  This plan will be the first compilation of all community trail planning efforts since 1979 and will help local governments and tribes pursue funding to plan and build multi-use trail systems. 

If you cannot attend the first set of workshops, but would like to provide input, please email your comments to  For questions or inquiries about the community workshops or public participation process, please call Tiffany Wilson from Planwest Partners at 825-8260 or email


A new bright yellow T-shirt is available from the HBBCA, sporting the HBBCA logo on the front and a “Please Share the Road” message on the back.   We also have some “One Less Car” T-shirts.  Also, we have some of the stretchy scoop neck women’s shirts with the “Please Share the Road” message. If you’d like to buy one for $10 (our cost), please call Rick Knapp at 445-1097.


In follow-up to the September Wheel People article, Rick Knapp met with Bruce Young, Road Maintenance Superintendent for the City of Eureka, along with two of his Maintenance personnel to review the 45 degree RR crossings on Waterfront Drive at Schmidbauer Lumber.   In response to suggestions on a way to make it safer for cyclists, maintenance personnel have placed crack sealant along with fine crushed aggregate in the space between the tracks and the concrete to allow cyclists to cross safely without riding on an angle.   They have only done a portion so far to test how it holds up under truck traffic and winter conditions.   At this point, one can safely cross the portions along the shoulder.


According to an article in the October 31st issue of the Times-Standard, the Eureka PD recently conducted a sting in order to try to catch people responsible for stealing bicycles in the downtown area.   In one case, an officer placed a “bait bicycle” in front of a gas station in the 1700 block of Broadway, and it was stolen just after he turned his back and walked away.  In a short period of time, three arrests were made during the sting operation.


  • President------------------------Scott Kelly
    839-3614(h & w)
  • Vice-President/Treasurer----Rick Knapp
  • Director of Publicity-----------Vacant
  • Director of Planning-----------Brett Gronemeyer
    845-2117(h); 441-5770(w)


The HBBCA checked with agencies in the Humboldt Bay region to determine appropriate contact personnel to respond to bike-related issues. If you see a condition that needs to be corrected in order to improve safety or convenience for cyclists such as a pothole in a bike lane, accumulated debris on a roadway shoulder, the need to re-stripe a bike lane, or the need to clear vegetation encroaching on a shoulder, call the responsible agency/person listed below.

Of course, if you see a condition that requires immediate emergency action,
call 9-1-1. For other conditions, the following is provided:

  • Caltrans
    Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director
  • County of Humboldt
    Wendy Meeks, Dispatcher
    Abandoned Vehicles: Wally Williams,
    County Sheriff's Office, 268-3629
  • City of Arcata
    Monica Campbell,
    Public Works Administrative Assistant
    Abandoned Vehicles: Arcata Police Dept. at 822-2424
  • City of Eureka
    Pearl Mendoza
    Public Works Administrative Assistant
    Abandoned Vehicles: Mary Kirby, 268-5232
  • Abandoned Vehicles:
    Arcata Police Dept. at 822-2424

The HBBCA is working to improve and encourage bicycle commuting. Help make it happen by joining now or renewing your membership for 2010. Your $5.00 annual dues, paid on a calendar year basis, will help pay for youth helmets, this newsletter, our website, promotions, postage, etc. And, it will help demonstrate your commitment to our goal. Please click here to download our Membership Application.

With you membership card, request the following discounts on bike parts and accessories: 10% (or more) at Henderson Center Bicycles; 10% at Revolution Bicycle Repair; 10% at Adventure’s Edge; 10% at Pro Sport Center and the New Outdoor Store, and 15% at Sport and Cycle.

If you are already a paid-up member and would like to start receiving your newsletters by email, please advise us at:

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 3054 Eureka CA 95502