Bike Champion of the Year: Sherry Adams

(Since work and transportation patterns have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, Bike to Work Month has been re-branded as Bike to Wherever Month; the award formerly known as Bike Commuter of the Year is now Bike CHAMPION of the Year!)

Cotati resident Sherry Adams, a Senior Ecologist at Marin Municipal Water District, has been selected as Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s Bike Champion of the Year. Certified as a cycling instructor by the League of American Bicyclists, Sherry is also a self-taught bike mechanic, sharing her knowledge with others for over fifteen years. While she is a fit and expert cyclist – she once road all the way from Berkeley to Denali National Park in Alaska! – it isn’t the miles she’s covered, but her service to others that has earned her this award.

Diving into the local cycling community when she moved to Sonoma County in 2007, she served four years on the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s Board of Directors. She volunteered at local nonprofit Community Bikes, a reuse and repair training program, and worked as a bike mechanic at the ReCyclery Bike Thrift Shop operated by Trips for Kids. Her biggest and most recent achievement has been the creation of Changing Gears, an educational program for inmates at the Sonoma County jail.

Sherry is passionate about social justice and serving those in our community who are unseen, despised, disadvantaged, pushed to the margins. She saw a need: upon release, most inmates lack transportation, a job, possibly even a driver’s license. Many lacked vehicles even before their incarceration. Her vision was a three-tiered program:

  1. Teach classes in bicycle safety and basic maintenance & repair
  2. Create a bike shop where inmates could learn bike repair and fix donated bikes
  3. Give inmates a restored bicycle upon their release

She spent over a year working with corrections staff, going through the required background checks and training, and soliciting donations of bikes, tool, and parts. She had gotten the bike shop set up and had run a couple of class series when the COVID pandemic started, ending all volunteer programs for the time being. She remains in contact with the staff and continues to prepare for the day when she’s allowed back in again.

With typical humility, when we told her she’d been selected for this award she demurred, naming other people she thought were more deserving.  That selflessness and dedication to service exemplifies the very definition of Bike Champion.