MCBC Member Spotlight Stephen Altman – Touring, Trails and Fondos

I have never finished a ride less happy than when I started.” -Stephen Altman

Here at MCBC, we love hearing about why our members love to ride and what makes cycling important in Marin. Fairfax local Stephen Altman joined MCBC as a member at this year’s Dirt Fondo in August 2018, and has since volunteered his time at our wildly successful Biketoberfest event on October 13th. We asked him about his cycling story and found some pieces of wisdom plus quite a few route recommendations in Marin. Stephen, a tile contractor, has been riding his bike for over 30 years so you can trust he’s got some great ideas!

Stephen’s cycling fleet consists of:

A Salsa Vaya for local city cycling and touring, a Specialized Roubaix for road riding, and a Santa Cruz 5010c for mountain biking.

The best part of riding:

Mountain biking for sure. It is the ultimate free therapy. The silence of the trails through Redwoods and communing with deer and coyote.

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

It was only in the last few years when I did my first bike tour to Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam did I realize that biking is the absolute best way to visit a country and discover its culture.  I would have liked that knowledge much earlier, that the bicycle is a wonderful tool for adventure and exploration.

Some of Stephen’s most frequented routes:

Now that I live in Fairfax, I love offroad Deer Park via Phoenix Lake via Eldridge Grade to the top of Mount Tam, or by road, Alpine Dam to Ridgecrest to Seven Sisters to Stinson Beach and back up Fairfax Bolinas Road to home.

What’s your favorite route, turn by turn?

Fairfax via Sir Francis Drake to Nicasio Reservoir, Point Reyes Petaluma Road to Hicks Valley Road, Marshall Petaluma Road to Marshall, Highway 1 south to Point Reyes and either Sir Francis Drake at Olema back along the Reservoir or stay on Highway 1 to Fairfax Bolinas Road.

What is your vision of the bicycling in the future?

The future is already here with the electric road, commuter and mountain bike. I think cities will become so congested that large sections will be closed to cars and only buses and bikes will have access during the busy times of the day.

What would like to share with the people who ride bikes in Marin County – whether simple, encouraging or aspirational?

People come from all over the world for the experience of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot or by bike. Many but not all do not adhere to the rules and flow that we would ordinarily expect. I have seen some very aggressive riding by locals that is unacceptable in this context. Crossing the bridge by bike is not the place for Time Trials or impatience. The tourists with their kids can be frustrating when we have to share the east side, but it is our duty as “hosts” to show restraint and composure. If slowing down causes us to get across 5 minutes longer, then enjoy the magnificent views and the happiness of the tourists who come from all corners of the globe.

More profiles of MCBC members can be found here.

Editor’s Note: These interviews contain the words and thoughts of the featured rider.  As such, the views expressed in this profile do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

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