Dennis Stein: Public Figures and Leaders in San Diego Need to Start Riding to Work Regularly

Part of our focus for our third year is strengthening and establishing our business partnerships and showcasing true business leaders to our members and supporters. Are you a business that supports our work because you understand how bike infrastructure makes communities prosper and thrive? Don’t hesitate to join us and support our work. If you’d like to incentivize your customers to ride to your business, please join the SD Bike Commuter Discount Program.

Over the holidays, our volunteer (and very talented designer), Sandra Pimental designed our membership brochures. Dennis Stein owns and operates six UPS stores in the city of San Diego (listed here) and has been a strong, vocal supporter of our work since the very beginning. Stein made a very generous donation of printing them at no charge to us – something that an organization like ours really appreciates.

Bike advocates have long known how quality bike infrastructure is good for communities and good for business as well. But it’s even more gratifying when small business owners like Stein also take the extra step to also support our work, creating a symbiotic relationship, if you will. Below is a short profile of Stein.

Dennis Stein and his Soma

Q: What is your name, where do you live and work?
A: Dennis Stein, live and work in North Park.

Q: What sort of riding do you do?
A: I ride to commute to work, run errands, and for most other transportation within a few miles of where I live.

Q: What do you do professionally?
A: I own and operate six UPS Stores in San Diego.

Q: What do you think are the biggest barriers to making bicycling a viable choice for the majority of San Diegans?
A: One problem is the priorities that many individuals set for themselves place living in a certain neighborhood above having a short, bikeable commute to work. Until gas prices go up to a point where people are forced to live reasonably close to where they work for financial reasons, people will likely keep choosing to live far away. When I worked in Mira Mesa, I moved there. When I worked in UTC, I moved to PB. When I started working in North Park, I moved here. I guess most people don’t do that.

A second problem is that even when people have a short commute, they choose to drive a vehicle because of their desire for fashion and comfort. This is understandable. There is a certain amount of physical pain involved in riding up a hill or being hot or cold when on a bike. You may not be able to wear the same clothing as if you drove a car without a certain amount of inconvenience, such as changing at work. You may arrive at work sweaty. You may have to wear a backpack to carry your things instead of leaving them in your trunk. To be a bike commuter, you have to embrace these things. It needs to be cool to show up at work all sweaty on a bike. We need some important public figures and leaders in San Diego to start riding to work regularly showing that it’s cool. Going on bike ride as a PR event isn’t enough. (ed. note: sweating can be a choice in a temperate climate like ours, despite the hills. See this article or this on Momentum Magazine. To carry your stuff on a bike without a backpack, check out this piece on panniers).

Q: What do you think is the best thing about riding in San Diego.
A: The weather is moderate, so it’s rare that you have to deal with bad weather.

At least in downtown, uptown, and mid-city, density is sufficient so that there are enough interesting things to do (work, friends, shopping, entertainment), so that distances you need to ride aren’t excessive.

Q: You recently made a very generous donation (membership brochure printing donation with a remarkably fast turnaround time during the holidays) to support our work. Why did you do so?
A: BikeSD has proven its ability to influence how San Diego changes. Giving to an effective organization that shares your vision for your community is a worthwhile investment.

For more inspiration on riding, check out this “little bike to work video” that Stein made last year. Thank you Dennis for being such an incredible supporter!

Bike to Work Project from Dennis Stein on Vimeo.