Al Lim: Contra Costa Bike Commuter of the Year!
511 Contra Costa congratulates Al Lim, 2011’s Bike Commuter of the Year!
What does it take to be a Bike Commuter of the Year?
In Al’s case, it requires a lot of determination and being an inspiration to others.
“Our man Al commutes on his bikes, including ?fixed gears, in all weather conditions and against many challenges – including darkness, strong head winds and several difficult intersections,” says Michael Thomas, Al’s cycling companion and the person who nominated Al for Contra Costa Bike Commuter of the Year. “Humility is true about everything Al does and because of this he is an inspiration to all who know him,” Mr. Thomas adds.
Every day, Al’s commute takes him from his home in Brentwood on the far east side of the State Route 4 Bypass, eastward along the Delta De Anza Trail, to the west side of Bay Point where Al works as the General Manager of Criterion Catalysts & Technologies, making products that allow petroleum products and fuels to be cleaner. An employee at the plant, who now regularly bicycles to work, had told Al that at his previous employer, bicycle commuting would not have been considered acceptable. But since the boss was now doing it every day, it legitimized bicycle commuting at Criterion. “When our staff saw that their boss bicycled to work, it showed them that it was OK to do,” says Al. “When I started work at Criterion, I was the only one who biked. Now, several of our staff have regularly bicycled to work, from homes in Oakley, San Ramon and Oakland.” Al takes a lot of pride in the fact that Eastern Contra Costa is more bikeable every year. When friends from out of state visit, Al always seems to fit in a bike ride and he delights when his out of town guests marvel at the Bay Area’s great weather and the many bike lanes and bike trails in the East Bay.
Al makes a point to ride to work dressed in normal attire, because “that’s what bicyclists do” but Al is also inspired by how colleagues at Criterion’s European affiliates view and utilize bicycles. They think of their bikes quite differently. “Here, bicycling is a pastime and a bike is a possession that you take care of. In Europe, everyone rides a bike to get where they are going and it would be a joke to wash your bike. It would be like washing your hammer-a bike is tool.” And there are more bike facilities in Europe on which to commute to work. On that note, Al is looking forward to the re-connection of the Mokelumne Trail at the State Route 4 Bypass, which severed the bike trail several years ago. “Before the bypass, it was much better and safer to bicycle down Lone Tree Way,” Al recalls. “Now, Lone Tree is a dangerous street. The re-connected bike trail would open up the shopping centers to the residential neighborhoods for short trips to places like Trader Joe’s, and get more people biking to work.”
Al and his wife Mai have three kids, all of whom bicycle. His teenage sons, Zack and Max run track & field and sometimes cross train on their bikes, while his 12-year old daughter Sydney rides the most. “My cycling sets a good example to my kids for their good health,” emphasizes Al.
Al also runs an orphaned bike garage, accepting all bikes that his friends have abandoned over the years. He fixes many up and has given several away to friends in need of a bike. Al is also a regular guitar entertainer at the Delta Pedalers annual holiday party. Because of his commitment to bicycling and his inspiration to co-workers, friends and family, Al Lim is our Bike Commuter of the Year in Contra Costa County.
Read about this year’s other winners.