2016 Davis NBG Fest Report


For the off-line message that it delivered, the Davis NBG Fest took place over a three day period. It began on Thursday Oct 20, when the precision-like interview long-time Davis Enterprise editor, Bruce Gallaudet, did of me appeared in his paper. Complete with lots of pictures! Everywhere I rode my bike here in town, people said they saw me in his publication.

In essence, I could no longer only share my story where I felt it was needed. By using the main newspaper here to tell the local community there was a story and a mission behind all the bikes they had seen me rolling about on, I knew I could no longer pass myself off as just another cyclist. I knew I had raised the bar for what would be expected of me.

While the bike communities of Santa Cruz, Palo Alto and many pockets of the Internet know why I ride the Eagle, the Lightning and all the other recumbents I have the honor of pedaling, many Davisites knew not of “Awake Again, all the way back from head injury” or how it related to the National Bicycle Greenway or for that matter what the NBG is and in particular what it has to with Davis. Not to mention the fact that Davis is very small with no neighboring communities on any of its borders and here I cannot hide..

14825557_1285736461445129_1523879467_nWith Avid Reader’s help I was able to tell more locals. While the booksigning I did there only drew about a dozen people, all the promotion Meredith Sweet so expertly did for it lent added credence to my story. It gave it authority as it helped me fine tune the NBG message I would deliver during the handful of short breaks at the Davis Commons the next day.

I came home that night, however, to a phone message from my brother. My dad had died! Here is a reformatted version of the Facebook post I made:


14650767_1778602892427415_1516919444825520276_n-1This is my dad about half a year ago with my oldest sister Kathy Krieg. He passed away on Friday night as I was doing the talk at the Avid Reader that was the prelude to yesterday’s Davis NBG Fest. The cancer that took his life did so quickly.

THX dad for teaching me the value of hard work. Sorry I could never prove to you that I could make my National Bicycle Greenway dream real. First mom, who never saw me at full function after my car wreck, died suddenly. And then I put you through the torture of your having to watch me rebuild my health and my personality as I let the NBG vision consume me.

Well as you taught me when I was always the smallest kid on every team I played,

‘it’s not how many times you get knocked down,
it is how many times you get back up that count’!

For you dad, I will not give up on Main Street USA – the National Bicycle Greenway

When John Schubert comented:
Martin, you picked yourself up from a very deep hole, made a stunning comeback, became an inspiration to others and blazed your own trail. I’m sure your dad died proud of you

I had to reply:
As the former managing editor of BICYCLING magazine, the bible of our activity, you John S, have always seen deeper than most. When you made my story a feature article in 1983, it gave me the authority I needed to try to help other headed injured people with the ride I did across the USA in 1986. Despite the fact that I reached 40 million people, and inspired innumerable others, as my example still does, my dad only wanted me to be able to provide for a family like he so expertly did.

In the end, after five years in Ireland I had to leave it last year without my son Cayo because I could not support him with my dream of the National Bicycle Greenway. While dad went to his grave worried about me, I know my son will have a lot more respect for me for remaining on purpose with why I was able to make the comeback I did. To use it to get others to help me make a coast-to-coast bicycle highway real.

Because my car wreck taught me how to mark time, I have learned to be patient with life. And since only the body dies, dad will someday be very proud of me indeed!!

HERE  is the eulogy I gave on 10/29, the day we buried him. Dad’s time had come. Because of my own experience with death, I knew he was in a place of great peace!

100037515Coming back to the Davis NBG Fest, the day’s music was brought to us by  dynamic realtor Julie Leonard of RE/Max Gold. Julie, a life long resident of Davis who loves her town, can help you find a home here once our soon to be completed Virtual Tour of Davis (HERE is Part One , while HERE is our Davis Attractions map) convinces you that this is where you need to be.

The first music act of the day was Dank Ocean. After Cyn Leo and her talented Whole Foods crew located the one power switch that was hot, brought out extension cords and rugs to cover them, Dank was good to go. A band with its roots set deep in the halls of the UC Davis music department, they were the perfect match for the setting in which they played. Their tunes were not in your face so loud that you you had to shout to have a conversation but their sounds just made you feel good. So much so that every time they stopped, something seemed to be missing.



Saxophonist, Erin Grant let her instrument take her to another level. It was not only how she felt but how their music made all of us feel.



Then it was Steve Stevens turn. Steve, who when he was 56, set the world record for the fastest crossing of the USA on a HiWheel bike at 29 days, mesmerized the small crowd with details about his ride. For the sake of posterity, his talk was captured in video by Huck Vaughn and Eric Martocci. Huck and Eric were also at the Avid Reader the night before doing their video work the result of which will be film I can use to sell the NBG to foundation grant possibilities as well as for the crowd source fund raising campaigns I foresee.

14813126_1287232741295501_2048312572_o-1On other breaks at the microphone, Steve, pictured to the left of me with Brent Posey here, talked about his unique collection of old bicycle writings and poetry and also about the black bicycle soldiers and racers from yesteryear including Major Taylor. Linda, his graceful fiancee, was there too. She came out with him from Golden, CO in his Tesla electric vehicle that had to be plugged in many times – it only has a 200-mile range between charges.

The Hallmark Inn comped him several room nights and they both could not say enough of how pleased they were with their accommodations. This coming from a man who who has literally traveled the world with his 1887 bicycle and who has been wined and dined by people in high place all throughout his travels.

I followed him with 10 minutes of NBG history, a lot of which I had conveyed the night before at the Avid. I talked about how BikeRoute.com was one of the first few hundred web sites on line and how the original methodology of the NBG was to collect routes toward the end of cobbling the result together for a National Bicycle Greenway. And how when it became apparent that few routes were forthcoming that we had to switch to sending out scouts in the days before Google bike maps to report on the roads and paths they found.


I talked about how this ended up turning me into a coast to coast bike riding consultant, how it gave rise to my book “How to Bike America” and how we then switched from coast to coast cycling with our Mayors’ Ride city to Mayors’ Ride city rides. It was here that we began to develop our NBG Anchor cities , where riding from one to another made it possible for more people and for the cities themselves to be involved.

14858702_1291056670913108_262646792_oRoots Man Project was next. Roots Man sold me on Reggae. I guess I had never heard this kind of music performed live by expert musicians before. And whoa were these guys on it. I didn’t know that reggae could be soothing, but it was. And just like Dank Ocean before, they fit into the scene perfectly. The hundreds of diners who came and went throughout the day got a special treat with their meals as the magic coming from these beautiful people’s instruments filled the beautiful park.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-33-25-pmNor did Charles Lang let us down. One man. One piano. The only side effects he employed were the stunning chords he was able to pull out of his electrified keyboard. A true master at work, he flowed seamlessly through one tune after another. Each bubbling with a spark that told you it was unlike anything you had ever heard before. He was so good in fact, that I overheard a number of people asking where they could hear him play next. Even if he would consider playing certain venues over which they held influence.

busycle4thA five minute break appeared in which I explained why, in addition to the Mayors’ Rides I added the 15-person Busycle

picture-1_2and the Eagle, both as ways to generate interest for the NBG. Here  is a post I put on Facebook on the day before our event.


This is one of the reasons why I ride The Eagle Bicycle. I use it to get people interested in Main Street USA – the National Bicycle Greenway. This group at the The UC Davis Arboretum, very near to the Davis Commons where our Davis NBG Fest takes place this Saturday, had wanted to know about my bike. Well besides showing them and all the cameras they had trained on me how I mount it, I got them interested in our Festival.

Like when I used to live in Santa Cruz and went out to the ocean’s edge to do planning work, here in Davis I go to the Arboretum to plan…….

I also touched on our new strategy for making the National Bicycle Greenway real. I talked about how we would be working to make our NBG Anchor CIites attractive destinations for cyclists in the same way that in 1905 the Bureau of Pubic Roads worked to sell a nation of fledgling motorists on the beauty that could be found in our National Parks and Forests. I pointed out that their promotion work came at a time when car roads were called peacock alleys thought of as being only playgrounds  for the rich.

I touched also on how we are taking example from the Lincoln Hwy playbook. I pointed out that the Lincoln people hyped the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco to get people to use the route they were calling the Lincoln Highway that stretched from New York to San Francisco. Like ours, theirs was no more than a smorgasbord of roads and paths that connected the coasts, a thoroughfare that kept getting improved with time. In sum, I noted that much of the Lincoln right of way became the I-80 that now connects the coasts with high speed travel.

img_4063In the last hour we were honored with Dr. Tilahum Yilma’s words. Many of you have seen me talk about this amazing man, the Jonas Salk of veterinary medicine and quite arguably the top educator in the world. Yilma, as he likes to be called, is 73 and still rides his road bike like a hammerhead. It’s nothing for him to do a 30-mile brisk training ride to and from Winters, do a weight lifting routine that includes 500-pound leg presses and for him to swim well over a thousand yards all in the same day.

He told us how at age 50 a sports therapist suggested he substitute bicycling, weight training and swimming for the rigorous running program that was tearing his body down. He spoke of how he uses his long rides to concoct experiments and solve other science questions. He explained that when he became the slightest bit irritable, his colleagues would implore him to go for a ride so that he would be easier to work with. His students knew and loved him so much they gave him the beautiful bike jersey he was wearing at our that reads Teacher of the Year!

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-24-43-pmDavis Mayor Robb Davis arrived at the end of the event. He was late because his train from Boulder had been delayed.

Mayor Robb being late was perfect as it gave me time to explain the importance of the Virtual Tour of Davis that I’d like to see us replicate in all 18 of the NBG Anchor cities that stand between San Francisco and Washington DC. Once we are able to show that businesses here are benefiting from being part of an on-line guide that shows cyclists where to ride, eat, sleep, shop and play in this city, we will have the model we can use that will allow us to monetize the National Bicycle Greenway.

By the time I had wrapped up, not that many people were there, only 20 or 30. But I asked Robb if he could still speak about the vision he held for Davis for the documentary that will result. He was more than happy to.

Robb went on to preface his talk with a short discussion of the Complete Streets work he had just been involved in in Colorado. Explaining to us that we could no longer design streets that made the needs of all other users secondary to the automobile, he had us look at the intersection next to the park. He pointed out all the various people that were using that space. He pointed out the walkers, the cyclists, the buses, the kids on skateboards, the dogs that were being walked, the cars, the buses and the trucks. He said that the road builders of the future, as well as those who retrofit for them, will have to consider all users .

He then went on to say that his vision for Davis itself was not sexy enough to be newsworthy. That the city would stay its course of striping bike lanes and repairing bike infrastructure that needs such attention. He did say that there was a hierarchy for doing so. He explained that special attention was brought to the roads that accessed those schools where bike ridership counts were lower than others.

At which point it was time for the raffle. For the purpose of drawing the tickets out of the little box we had fashioned, we put Yilma’s ten year old son, Solomon in charge. Toward that end, here are the winners:

Webb Hester – $200 worth of groceries at Whole Foods Davis
Michael Gabriel – Free month at Get Fit Davis with free personal trainer
Tilahun Yilma – $50 worth of hair car products at J Cunningham Salon
Steven Ross – $50 worth of Yolo Berry Yogurt
Tom Nowen – $50 worth of Mishka’s Coffee & Tea Lab
Phone No – $50 worth of Three Mile Brewery
Stan Ross – $25 Grocery Outlet
Phone No – $25 Grocery Outlet
R Morrison – $50 Steve’s Pizza

The grand prize winner of the Lightning Phantom was Joshua Singh.




Nor could there have been a person more worthy. Josh is a fervent pedaler of BMX bikes. He also possesses a keen know how of the mechanical underpinnings of self propelled two wheelers. So much so, in fact, that he was uninterested in taking the time of of having a professional bike shop do a safety check. He wanted to ride! Armed with his worthy collection of bike tools, he had everything tweaked and humming like a Swiss watch almost as soon as he got the machine home.

The fun day that resulted for all of us was made seamless by Whole Foods. Not only did they help us with our music, but the behind the scenes ways in which they supported our event were also well thought out. For our musicians and the staff that made the day possible, they had a large supply of energy food and drink – that lasted throughout the day, even!

Whole Foods also supplied us with all the folding tables we needed. And extra efficient Whole Foods workers put up our event signage as well as transferred the bike we were raffling off from inside their store where it sat above the coolers to a platform right next to the band. And this was complete with all the museum quality signage that Eric Warp created for our bike, the Lightning Phantom!

Brent Posey (pictured above with Steve Stevens)  who introduced me for my booksinging the night before at Avid Reader once again brought Kathy Williams-Fossdahl to help run our program. More wow as the two of them helped with event setup, servicing the meeds of the musicians and other staff and they also ran the raffle.

Seated next to them was Meredith Sweet, a true dynamo almost beyond compare. At the Avid Reader table from which she sold my “Awake Again” books, she also had a fun collection of bike related merchandise that her store also sells.

Nor was Hot Italian going to be content as a behind the scenes supporter. They outfitted us with well over a dozen brand new 700c tires and rims (sans spokes and hubs). In pink, green and blue no less. They suggested we give therm away free to people who bought more then two raffle tickets. Which we did!

All in all, the raffle, however, did not generate a lot of money for us. Including on line sales, we were still well under a thousand dollars. It however give us a rallying call. And helped us call attention to the fact that bringing the NBG to Davis is not free.

As the fund raiser that our event was, it also broke ground for next May when we will do so again. And with a new and much improved version. One that we are also making plans to replicate in Sacramento next May as well, and in Oakland and Reno in the Fall. All as a way to sell the Virtual Tours that will make our NBG Anchor cities desirable two and three wheel destinations!

THX 4 all of U!!