The Wind At Her Back: The Life of Transportation Visionary Deb A. Hubsmith Deb Hubsmith – Visionary, Advocate, Marin Legacy

Introducing The Wind At Her Back: The Life of Transportation Visionary Deb. A Hubsmith by Andy Peri and Amity Hotchkiss

The life of Deb Hubsmith is an inspiring testament to the power of passionate individuals and the impact they can have on their communities. Her dedication to promoting bicycling, Safe Routes to School, and sustainable transportation has left an indelible mark on Marin County and beyond. 

Book Cover - The Wind At Her Back

As the first Executive Director of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Deb built the organization into the advocacy powerhouse it is today and was the driving force behind several high-profile projects and programs in Marin, including the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, the Central Marin Ferry Connection project, the passage of SMART, and the original Safe Routes to School program.

  1. The Cal Park Hill Tunnel: Deb played a pivotal role in gaining political support and working with elected officials to find funding for the rehabilitation and transformation of a long-shuttered train tunnel into a bike/pedestrian pathway, providing a key connection for people walking or biking between San Rafael and Larkspur. The tunnel’s reopening in 2010 marked a significant victory in the effort to build a safe and separate bike network in Marin.

  2. Safe Routes to School: Deb and MCBC played an instrumental role in launching the Safe Routes to School program in Marin County, encouraging children to bike or walk to school safely. This initiative not only promotes physical activity but also reduces traffic congestion around schools. Originally limited to Marin, Safe Routes to Schools is now helping children nationwide. 

  3. Advocacy for Bike Lanes and Infrastructure: Through advocacy and collaboration with local, state, and the federal government, Deb Hubsmith’s work through MCBC was instrumental in expanding Marin County’s network of bike lanes, multiuse paths, and other infrastructure improvements that have made bicycling safer and more accessible.

Deb’s passing in 2015 was deeply felt by all who knew her and benefitted from her work, but her legacy continues to inspire those of us at MCBC, and countless others, to advocate for safer bicycling and sustainable transportation, ensuring a brighter and greener future for us all. 

The Wind at Her Back: The Life of Transportation Visionary Deb A. Hubsmith celebrates the wonderful, colorful, and passionate life she lived. We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating her life and legacy, and may the wind be ever at your back.

You can find The Wind at Her Back on Amazon and Bookshop or visit the Facebook page for more information. 

An introduction to the book is found below.


Fairfax, CA, Oct. 14, 2023:  The Wind at Her Back: The Life of Transportation Activist Deb A. Hubsmith, is the story of a woman who gave up her car to ride her bike, to ‘walk her talk’  to promote her vision of encouraging people to commute to work and schools via non-motorized modes and routes.  Deb Hubsmith helped to create monumental change in non-motorized transportation, over the span of two decades through her work with Safe Routes to School, and other major transportation initiatives.

Following her vision to make our roads and streets safe for everyone, Deb Hubsmith played an important role in helping to take the Safe Routes to School program that began in a single school in Marin County, CA, to all fifty states, in addition to founding the Safe Routes National Partnership. The transportation transformation she was instrumental in creating, through these early activist and legislative inroads, continues today.  Her work began in the mid-1990s in the San Geronimo Valley, and her career ended in 2013 with a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia.

This biography about Deb’s lifelong activist path weaves in Deb’s journey with leukemia, which ended her life in 2015, after a two-year-year struggle and courageous surrender. Her spiritual path brings a deeply felt, intimate tone to the narrative.  The book is augmented by family-style photographs and musical lyric epigraphs. 

Before she died, she asked her life partner and colleague Andy Peri and her friend Amity Hotchkiss, a local English teacher and former journalist, to help with the preparation of a book about her life.  They worked together to create this work of nonfiction. Her intention was to not only leave a record of her environmental legacy but to inspire future activists to take small steps towards change, to network for greater impact, and to hold our planet in a future vision of human life without fossil fuels. 

Readers may also remember Deb from the Bay Area’s many dance floors, where she was an active participant since the year 2000. In the burgeoning movement community, Deb participated in many dance events and festivals and later began arranging dances after key conferences, bringing her worlds together.  Her admirers included many dancers, musicians, and DJs, alongside advocates and politicians. As she used to say, “It takes movement to create a movement!”    

Deb’s legacy continues in local and statewide bicycle/pedestrian non-profits, government agencies, bike-to-school days, bikeways & multi-use pathways, tunnels, bridges, and more in our towns and cities – as well as in legislative forums on transportation.  With her tenacity and verve, and a fearless sense of purpose, Deb inspired many people to live courageously, especially when taking critical steps towards changing society.  

The Wind at Her Back: The Life of Transportation Activist Deb A. Hubsmith, published by Page Publishing, is now available online on major online platforms, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop. Find more information at “Deb Hubsmith  Book” on

Similar Articles