Opening the interview, Bill Fallis stated Peninsula Velo Cycling (Pen Velo or PV) provides rides, coaching and training for all ages and all levels in Brisbane, San Francisco and the Peninsula. He spoke about the first ever 2018 Brisbane Criterium which was held in July 2018 at the Brisbane Marina. It was a great success with 224 riders participating. Race Director Matt McNamara and a small steering team put this race together with the crack crew of about 75 PV volunteers, several of whom where there all day long! Race director Matt noted “This course and the City of Brisbane have a rich cycling history and we wanted to do something to honor that by focusing on back-to-basics racing that is local, convenient, high quality, and fast as heck!” Sierra Point Parkway and the Brisbane Marina have long been the home of the legendary “Night Race” cyclocross event. Bill spoke about the Brisbane Criterium circuit. The race offers eleven different categories which riders enter according to their appropriate race category. The course offers 4 corners, a u-turn and plenty of speed over its 0.5-mile loop. Each race has several primes. I asked what a prime is. He replied, “A prime is a prize or bonus given to the rider who is the first to pass a certain point during a race. In the Brisbane race, it is the start/finish line. The riders are advised a lap in advance that the next lap will be a prime lap. The first rider to cross the line on the next lap wins the prize. In our race we offer all cash primes. Examples are the popular “Crowd Prime,” a novel “Racer Prime,” where riders can lay some cash down on themselves, a “Team Prime,” and the innovative “Charity Prime” – where all dollars are donated to a local organization of the winner’s choosing.”
Bill founded Pen Velo, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, 43 years ago in 1975. The mission of Pen Velo is to promote safe cycling, good road etiquette and bicycle advocacy. Pen Velo members ride both recreationally and in amateur races in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California. I asked Bill why he selected San Mateo as the home base for Pen Velo. He replied, “I live in San Mateo. San Mateo was a logical home base as it is midway between Stanford University in Palo Alto and the city of San Francisco.” He emphasized the importance of riding safely, both when riding alone and riding in groups. Pen Velo has riders of all levels from beginners to advanced. Bill said, “our club is for all levels. We offer coaching and training clinics to help each individual rider build fitness and the necessary skills to ride safely in a group. Pen Velo includes a Performance Racing Team coached by Matt McNamara of Sterling Sports Group, Sunnyvale, California.”
Peninsula Velo Cycling Club strives to (1) Develop a racing program for individual and team achievement and support the Northern California and Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) through promotion of and volunteering at local races and events; (2) Organize club rides, connect club members through cycling events, and share knowledge of riding skills, etiquette, and best practices; (3) Promote bicycle awareness and safety in local communities and businesses through advocacy, education, and charity; (4) Have fun while serving as ambassadors of the sport of bicycling; and (5) sponsors in the cycling community and beyond.
Today PV has approximately 300 members and is growing. It is one of the oldest established bicycle clubs in the area and is a unique mix of riders of all levels. Pen Velo offers two membership levels, one for the recreational rider and one for racers. Juniors 18 and under may join at no cost. PV offers support for racers (men and women of all ages) in four cycling disciplines, i.e., road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike. Members enjoy weekly club rides throughout the year. Special events for club members include PV Track Days at Hellyer Velodrome, picnics at local parks and an annual club banquet. In addition, members enjoy riding in great-looking uniforms and casual wear from clothing sponsor, Castelli, discounts and frequent group buys from the many Pen Velo sponsors as well as a significant club presence at many local and regional charity rides.
We spoke about the significant problem of bike safety relative to car traffic. Bill commented that Pen Velo is helping to solve this issue with an active partnership with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition (SVBC). The safety of all riders is extremely important to Pen Velo. In addition to riding recreationally and racing, many members of our community are bicycle commuters.
At the end of the interview, Bill said to make sure to let the readers know that Pen Velo welcomes all riders who would like to join the club. Check out https://penvelo.org/. You will find more information about Pen Velo and how to join, info about sponsors and links to the monthly newsletter. Check out Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/penvelo and Instagram: @penveloracing There is still time to sign up as a rider or volunteer for the New Year’s Day San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb https://penvelo.org/san-bruno-mountain-hill-climb. The 2019 Brisbane Criterium will be held on Saturday June 22nd. See details at https://penvelo.org/brisbane-criterium.