Half Moon Bay’s Marin Holt remembers riding a loop around Edgewood and Cañada roads with her family as a young girl. She kept on pedaling through the years and much later trekked up from Panama through Mexico — a 2,800-mile journey that proved people the world over use bikes not just for recreation but as their primary mode of transportation.
She has always championed bicycles. So, it’s only fitting that the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has named her 2023 Bicycle Champion of the Year. The recognition comes just before May’s Bike Month festivities that include “Bike to Wherever Days,” formerly known as Bike to Work Day.
Holt is founder of Coastside on Bikes, a relatively new organization that has since merged with Coastside Mountain Bikers. Together the bike enthusiasts advocate for safe bicycling on the coast and work to ensure everyone has the opportunity to ride on two wheels.
Holt has four bikes of her own — a mountain bike, a road bike and two gravel bikes — but she doesn’t just ride for her own enjoyment. During the pandemic, when Coastside on Bikes was formed, she began working with area nonprofits to help their clients get around the coast.
“I noticed that a lot of people rely on bikes not just for recreation but for their main form of transportation,” she said. And she knew that a lot of her neighbors had bikes collecting dust in their homes.
“I realized there was an opportunity there,” she said. “During the pandemic I
had this idea that if we could get those bikes out of the garage we could act as a conduit.”
She began working with local organizations like Ayudando Latinos a Soñar, Coastside Hope and Abundant Grace to get reconditioned bikes to their clients. That meant she had to get the donated bikes repaired and road ready, which meant getting her own hands dirty.
“It kind of all goes through my garage,” she said with a laugh. She has repaired about 200 bikes so far. “It’s fun. A side benefit is I wanted to learn how to be a bike mechanic.”
When not riding through the coastal breeze, Holt focuses on her children and students; she teaches government and economics to high school students through a Cañada College program.
Holt wanted to thank all the other volunteers that make her work possible, including Ric Barker, founder of Coastside Mountain Bikes, as well as Tony Pereira and Amy Henry of Straight Wheel Cycling. Holt has made an impression on many Coastsiders, including Amy Henry, who was among those who nominated Holt for the recognition.
“Marin’s passion for biking and her community turned her small idea of fixing up bikes for a few folks in need to a nonprofit benefiting the entire Coastside community,” Henry said in a release prepared by the coalition.
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