Welcome Bjorn! Bjorn Griepenburg Joins MCBC as Policy & Planning Director

Bjorn Griepenburg has joined the Marin County Bicycle Coalition as Policy & Planning Director as of July 2016. In this position, Bjorn leads MCBC’s Road Advocacy Program as it continues building the community and political support needed to create safe and extensive bike facilities throughout Marin County.

Prior to joining MCBC, Bjorn spent a year in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Sustainable Streets Division. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s Degree in Community & Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. His graduate exit project focused on the importance of integrating bicycle networks with rail transit.

But Bjorn’s history with MCBC has an even longer heritage – before heading off to school, he had worked as a volunteer through the early days of the Safe Routes to Schools program.

Now, his passion for transportation is driven by his desire to connect people of all ages, physical abilities, and income levels with their communities.

  • Bjorn Griepenburg
  • Policy & Planning Director, MCBC
  • Years Riding: I’ve known how to bike for 20 years, but only began to ride to get from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B’ about 10 years ago.
  • Most Likely Place to Be Found Riding: I’m new to riding in Marin, so it has to be my commute route between the San Rafael Transit Center and the MCBC office in Fairfax.

What bicycle do you like the best?

A beat-up hybrid that I bought from a friend’s dad for $100 and converted into an upright, European-style bike. It’s served me well on commutes for the past four years, including two spent slogging through rainy Eugene, Oregon. It’s not the nicest bike, but it has done everything I could possibly ask of it.

What part of your ride do you like the best?

I love biking along the calm, tree-lined streets between downtown San Rafael and Fairfax and seeing people heading home from work biking alongside those heading out for recreational rides. It’s a nice reminder that people of all ages and abilities benefit from low-stress bike routes.

What do you like best about the benefits of riding your bike?

I’ve seen a quote that says “I don’t ride a bicycle to add days to my life; I ride a bicycle to add life to my days.” Any opportunity to incorporate movement into a 40-hour work week is a huge positive, but I love the sense of connection to community and my surroundings that I experience while riding.

What would you have liked someone to tell you when you started?

Personal conduct while riding has implications for everyone else who rides. There are lots of folks looking for excuses to accuse people who bike of dangerous, illegal behavior. Being courteous goes a long way.

Where do you most like to ride your bike?

I might go astray from many of MCBC’s members here, but I love urban areas that have bicycle infrastructure woven into their transportation networks. The Neighborhood Greenways in Portland and The Wiggle in San Francisco come to mind as favorites. That being said, I’m really excited to explore all of Marin’s great off-street paths.

Why would others like to ride in Marin?

It’s absolutely gorgeous, the climate is favorable, and it’s got something for everyone. You can bike to the coast, you can bike to the City, you can bike along the Bay, and you can bike through redwood forests. Along the way, you can stop in beautiful downtowns to grab a bite and a drink. Most importantly, you can do much of it on off-street paths. You can’t really beat that.

What is your favorite ride/route?

Biking the stretch between Anderson Drive in San Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal is impressive because it offers world-class bike infrastructure; it looks like something out of Denmark. I’m really looking forward to it being part of a completed North-South Greenway.

What part of riding would you most like to improve?

As I’ve noted, Marin County offers some great off-street paths and bicycle routes on neighborhood streets. We’ll continue to work to integrate these in a legible network that doesn’t have any gaps. A bicycle route is only as good as its weakest link, in my opinion.

523068_10150686252861986_1362667038_nWhat is your favorite vision of the bicycling in the future?

I’d like it if we didn’t have to recognize “bike-friendly” communities as such because it’s the norm. I’d also like to see children riding everywhere; that would be a sign that we’ve succeeded in designing for everybody.

Finally, if there’s a further message you would like to share with the people who ride bikes in Marin County – whether simple, encouraging or aspirational – what would that be?

I’m looking forward to working with MCBC members to make Marin’s streets safer for people on bikes! Please keep your eyes peeled for important meeting dates and comment requests in future bulletins.

Bjorn Griepenburg evaluating the London BikeShare program during a recent trip to the UK.

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