Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition welcomes new Executive Director, Gary Helfrich

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Gary has been involved with bicycles since crashing into the garage in 1961 after his grandfather launched him down the driveway shouting, “training wheels are for sissies!” Despite this early setback, he became involved in the bicycle industry as an adult, spending nearly 25 years as a framebuilder and industry consultant. Gary began as a welder at Fat City Cycles and later founded Merlin Metalworks. After leaving Merlin, he moved to Sonoma County where he worked as a custom framebuilder and consultant for companies such as Trek, Serrotta, Santana, and Ibis Cycles.

In 2000, Gary sold his company and returned to college to earn a degree in environmental studies and planning, with a concentration in transportation planning. After graduation, he took a position with Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department’s comprehensive planning division. During his tenure at PRMD, Gary was responsible for developing the County’s 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and revising the County’s General Plan to be compliant with the Complete Streets Act.

Gary says:
“Being selected to serve as the SCBC’s next executive director is a great honor, and I am passionately committed to the growth and success of SCBC. It is my vision that through our advocacy and outreach, Sonoma County will become a place where driving is a choice, rather than a necessity, and be recognized nationally as an example of the critical role that bicycles provide in creating sustainable, healthy communities. SCBC will also continue to develop a bicycling culture in Sonoma County and improve the image of bicycling through education and outreach.”