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Historic Bike Tour – A Huge Success!

by Gary Hedden Event Organizer Member of GreenTown Los Altos Leadership Team

Led by GreenTown Los Altos, 75 bike riders of all ages joined in the inaugural Historic Bike Tour of Los Altos, Saturday, Sept. 29.  Held in honour of the city’s 60th Anniversary and co-sponsored by the city and the History Museum, the riders visited old farmhouses, historic mansions and modern new “history-in-the-making” structures like the Packard Foundation Building. (Click any of the photos below to see the larger image).

Riders were split into three groups and led by Gary Hedden, Jim Thurber and Margie Suozzo.  The groups heard lots of good stories – how the Neutra House was saved from destruction, the tale of the missing Canary Island Palm at the Farnsworth Farm House and how Redwood Grove was saved from development by a single vote.

One of the highlights of the tour was the visit to the Marini House and the chance to see the beautiful gardens that extend across Adobe Creek.  There were lots of stories about the early owners, wealthy bankers, railroad and oil executives, who lived in San Francisco and had summer property in Los Altos.  We still have important families, only the brands have changed.  Now it’s Adobe, Apple, Facebook and Google.

The tour finished with lunch at the Bleibler House, a house built in 1913 by Herman Bleibler and still occupied by his grandson, Armond King.  Lunch was great with sandwiches from Le Boulanger, apples from De Martini, other treats from Andronico’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and even home baked cookies.  As if that wasn’t enough, there were also raffle prizes from two of the bike shops in town, Bicycle Outfitter and Chain Reaction.

We heard from many of the riders – lots of positive feedback:

  1. Amy Franzblau:  “It was wonderful, we learned so much.”

  2. Mary Gospe:  “It was a history lesson on wheels.”

  3. Chris Keller:  “The kids loved it.  We’d definitely do it again and bring other families.”

  4. Lee Hartley:  “It’s the best family day we’ve had in a while.”

  5. Liz Chapman:  “It is cool that so many people are game to explore by bike.”

  6. Melissa Stafford:  “I liked the section where we just rode through a neighborhood for a mile or so.”

  7. Randy Rhody:  “I appreciated the large show of support for cycling in our city.”

  8. Jim Fenton:  “We discovered new places that we didn’t even know existed.”

  9. Richard Fohrenbach:  “Nicely organized, paced and sponsored.”

  10. Peg Champion summed it up well:  “A magnificent day to ride and learn some history – Happy Birthday, Los Altos!”

GreenTown has no specific plans to host the trip next year, but with 21 people left on the waiting list, there appears to be plenty of interest.

No matter what, the volunteers this year were great. Lots of GreenTown folks – Margie Suozzo (ride leader), Karen Janowski (registration and sweeper), John and Maddy McBirney (registration and lunch), Pat Hedden (registration and lunch), Linda Ziff (lunch), Barb and Kevin O’Reilly (lunch and raffle), Arnold and Suzanne Ambiel (bike valet), and Joel Bartlett (photographer).  Lots of other folks too – Marie and Dave Backs (registration and bike valet), Nancy and Ron Ellickson (registration, bike mechanic and lunch), Jim Thurber (ride leader), Willem deLange (sweeper), Chris Hlavka (sweeper), Laura Bajuk (lemonade), Peg Champion, Kathleen Santora, and Julie Rose (pick ups and deliveries) and most importantly Armond and Marjorie King (generous lunch site hosts).  How about those wonderful t-shirts – thanks to Maddy McBirney, Matt McDonald and Mike Barnes.  Finally, a big thank you to the historians who helped with the script – Don McDonald, Laura Bajuk, Lisa Robinson, and Stefanie Midlock.

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