How do you recycle, use eco friendly commuting and get in shape all in one swoop?
After talking to this guy I learned it’s actually quite easy, and it’s so worth it! It just takes a bit of dedication. I met Kenneth Dahmen at our 3rd annual Earth Day Celebration at the Natural History Museum on April 22, 2017. I was busy setting up my own pop up tent when he rolled up in a bike hauling all his event gear. He asked for directions to where he should set up his information booth for the event. I must say I was quite taken aback by what I saw not only was he a pretty good looking young man but he just rode out there in a bicycle and hauling all this stuff!! I don’t know how far he rode out but because he was hauling all his event gear with him when I personally need an entire SUV full of stuff to get ready for an event, I must say I was impressed.
As the months rolled by, I’d run into him again and again.
Turns out he’s a great networker and participates in lots of Chamber and community sponsored events. Little by little I got to learn more and more about him and his organization the Bici Centro. Ken functions as the Program Manager for this nonprofit based out of Santa Barbara, CA. The Bici Centro is a low to no cost community bike repair shop and education center. Their education program teaches members of all ages how to work on bikes. Their participants learn to repair and rebuild used bikes. Many of which are either donated or collected weekly from the city dump. They keep a wide inventory of used bike parts on hand. The Bici Centro offers a variety of benefits to its members from bike safety education to self-sufficiency and work skills. They also offer an earn a bike program where members can work in the shop to earn their rebuilt bikes.
I was happy to learn that Ken graduated from my old stomping grounds!
Ken received his bachelor’s degree in Sports Psychology from Cal State University of Northridge otherwise known as CSUN located in the Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley. This is where I grew up! Though he grew up here in the Santa Maria Valley and graduated from Santa Maria High School. His love for cycling grew out of necessity while he worked at Big Boys Toys. He needed a way to commute from High School to work and back home again to Tanglewood, Ca. “Back then it was a means to an end” as he couldn’t yet drive. But then when he moved to attend CSUN he couldn’t help but notice how much money cycling was saving him and quickly saw the potential not just in getting from point A to point B and the financial savings but ALSO the physical health benefits and the benefits to our environment. We talked about the future of Bici Centro and Santa Maria we compared it to the San Fernando Valley and how bicycle friendly the valley has become over the past few years. He took part in helping grow the right of way to cyclist at the university and the city has increasingly become cyclist friendly by adding additional cycling lanes and building protected lanes for cyclist. We need this in Santa Maria.
He explained that there is a huge cyclist community in Santa Maria.
“We just don’t see them as they’re riding their bikes off the main roads for safety reasons.” But he would love to see our cities infrastructure grow to be more biker friendly. He’s currently working on educational programs with two local schools St. Louis De Montford and St Mary’s. They have donated various bikes to local school children in need. He hopes to soon get in with the Santa Maria Bonita School District and see where that takes them. Maybe some day they’ll get to the point where they would need additional help at the shop. Beside the regular volunteers they have now. So far, the Bici Centro in Santa Maria has been open since April 2017 and it has been a very popular place. Which is a good thing because when they 1st opened he didn’t think they would be as busy as they are. Looks like all that networking is paying off Ken! Good job!
If you’re interested in supporting or learning more about Bici Centro please contact Ken at 805-623-5763 or visit their website.
Also come like their Facebook Fan Page here!!