MCBC Community Member Spotlight: Andrew Waite
Each month, we’ll feature an MCBC member who showcases Marin’s celebrated bicycling culture and inspires us to get out and ride. Do you know someone we should highlight? Email email@example.com to suggest a member spotlight!
Editor’s Note: Before you hear from Andrew, we want to first acknowledge his outstanding support for MCBC. Andrew is one of those special members who goes above and beyond; he’s spent more hours than we can count assisting with our ongoing database refinement and is a dedicated trail volunteer to boot.
Occupation: Software Engineer
Years riding: 30
Location where you ride most frequently: Big Rock Ridge (my backyard)
How many bikes do you have and which is your favorite?
3 mountain bikes, favorite is the Santa Cruz Hightower LT
What do you like best about riding your bike?
Every ride, no matter how short, is an adventure. That same feeling of freedom and joy I had when I first rode a bike comes back every time, you know, like riding a bike!
Where are we most likely to find you riding?
That depends on the weather, of course. On a clear day you might find me riding down Coastal View trail from Pantoll Station on Tam. It’s one of the most fun, visually stunning and incredible rides in Marin. This is where I always point people new to the area if the weather is cooperative. Other days I could be anywhere in Marin or beyond. Annadel, Skyline in Napa and pretty much anywhere in Santa Cruz are my go-to day trip destinations but I’m always looking for new ones!
What part of your ride do you like the best?
The best part of the ride is always when I get to that place where all other thoughts, concerns, and stresses are forced out of my head and it’s just me and the bike outside in nature. This can happen when I’m challenged by the conditions, which forces me there, but often this comes right around sunrise, which is by far my favorite time to ride.
Do you have a pre-ride and or post-ride routine?
Pre-ride is always checking the weather so I can get geared up for whatever forecast I’m facing as quickly as possible. Lately the pre-ride routine has started with turning on the boot heaters I have for my riding shoes. Post-ride, my routine usually involves my favorite beverage, coffee in the am or beer otherwise with friends. If I just did a solo ride it’s typically enjoyed while washing my bike.
Are there any hurdles to riding your bike? If yes, how might they be overcome?
Many hurdles, like most riders I’m sure. Mine are probably pretty typical. I own the carpool to high school every morning, work in the city, and am always on the lookout for volunteering efforts to improve our riding opportunities in Marin. The single best way to overcome all these things is to ride while others are asleep which means having good lights and forcing yourself out of bed to give you the time you need to ride.
What would you have liked someone to tell you when you started riding?
A couple things I can think of, first is to get a good set of lights and go out and ride in the dark. Riding at night or early in the morning opens up a huge opportunity to get out more. I wish someone had told me to ride flat pedals longer before switching to clips. The secure and efficient feeling of being clipped in is great but I didn’t get to build the skills that flats force you to learn.
Why would others like to ride in Marin?
There are trails for all skill levels in Marin: lots of fire roads for beginners as well as fun trails in China Camp, intermediate to advanced with flow in Camp Tamarancho, and challenging trails for advanced riders scattered across Marin with new opportunities coming! There are incredible views all over and outside of our short rainy season you can ride all year. The community and culture of mountain biking in Marin is strong. If you get the chance to join the Appetite Seminar ride on Thanksgiving morning you’ll experience it in full effect while enjoying the same trails the pioneers of mountain biking rode in the ’70s!
What part of riding would you most like to improve?
Specifically in Marin the obvious thing is access, but frankly the thing that currently affects me most that needs improvement is attitudes on the trail. If you venture out, you’ll realize that things are definitely different here. I don’t know what it is, no matter how courteous and friendly you are, there are just some unfriendly attitudes out there and unfortunately it can be hard to recover sometimes.
Do you have a favorite bicycle website and/or social media page?
I’m sure I’ll catch hell for this, but I’m a fan of Strava. I have participated in races across the western part of the country and Strava has helped me stay in touch with people I’ve met along the way. I can see them training, they see my training, we encourage each other and of course share photos that might not otherwise be “Instagram worthy.” Strava is also a great tool for planning rides and discovering popular ride locations when I travel.
Two podcasts I really like are the “MTB Podcast” which covers mountain bike news by a couple guys out of Reno, they do a great job with current topics focusing on their listeners, and the other is “Front Lines MTB” which covers advocacy related issues. Anyone reading this on the MCBC website would probably enjoy that one–I recommend episode 12.
Finally, if there’s a message or advice you would like to share to inspire others to ride a bicycle, what would that be?
It’s hard for me to think of what to tell someone that doesn’t really ride but one story comes to mind from an experience with my family. A few years ago we visited Yosemite Valley and decided to ride the valley floor loop. My wife who hadn’t really been riding much was amazed at the difference riding provided compared to walking or driving the same loop. In the same time we would have seen one or maybe two falls by foot, or even by car given the traffic that day we saw it all! So my message would be to think of your favorite place to walk or otherwise be outside, now try exploring that place on a bike. Put in the same amount of time just spend it on a bike and see what more you can discover!
Thanks for all that you do, Andrew!