Tag Archives: Valley College bus

Passenger gains new lease on life through biking and riding

From racing as a teenager growing up in San Bernardino and Highland, to riding to and from class as an adult, bicycling has been a life-long hobby for eight-year Omnitrans passenger Adrian. A fun, leisure activity has since evolved into a practical mode of transportation that has made a meaningful impact in his life, and we are pleased to have been along on his ride.

“I used to bike race when I was younger,” Adrian tells us while waiting for Route 4 at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC). “I stopped when I got a car and started working. At 43, I needed a career-change and I began taking courses at San Bernardino Valley College.”

“Because of the unlimited student rides with GoSmart, I started riding again regularly. When Omnitrans started allowing bikes on the bus, it made getting around so convenient. I can go anywhere that I want now without walking!”

This was not always the case. Suffering from high blood pressure, Adrian was told that living past 40 was not possible. He refused to become dependent on the drugs that regulated his heart disease, and was determined to make a change that reunited him with his passion – bikes.

“I used to weigh 260 pounds,” recounts Adrian. “I quit drinking and started to make changes toward becoming healthier. I thought, ‘Wait a minute.’ I used to love riding and racing mountain bikes. I straightened myself out and thought about what I used to do before all this mayhem,” he says.

Adrian now studies water supply technology at Valley Colleges and is interested in a career at a water plant. He is drawn to the scientific aspect of the field, the job stability, and flexibility. Riding the bus helps him complete assignments before class or squeeze in extra study time before an exam.

“Sometimes I ride the 11.5 miles from my house to Valley College, but if I need to relax, or read an article before class, I do that on the bus ride,” says Adrian. “By the time the bus arrives at the transit center, I am done and ready to ride over to class.”

Adrian takes advantage of low-cost bike maintenance at the Bike Hubitat at the SBTC. Using skills learned along the way, he now helps friends with their own bike maintenance and has become an enthusiast of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

“It can get very pricey to maintain bikes,” says Adrian, who enjoys giving back to the cycling community when he is not with his teenage son or working toward his educational goals. “I’ve taught myself to work on them myself. The Bicycle Hubitat here at the SBTC also helps me with bike repairs, so I don’t have to waste money on expensive tools that I’ll only use one time.”

Adopting this alternative mode of transportation definitely has contributed to the betterment of Adrian’s life. He credits biking for bringing some of his youth back into his life and keeping him active and focused. His health has improved, and he even was successfully taken off of high blood pressure medication! “I’m grateful that Omnitrans has been a part of that journey,” he says.

“Now, when drivers on the road cut me off, or yell at me to get out of the way, I always end up catching up to them at a red light and look at them through their window. The look on their faces is pretty funny, as if they are asking themselves – ‘how did he catch up to me so fast!?’” he laughs.

Talking geography & dinosaurs aboard sbX

An sbX ride-along interview with Andrew and Mark Strickert

Andrew Strickert on Omnitrans sbX BRT, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

I met 4-year old Andrew on his first sbX BRT trip. “It’s really fast!” he grinned.

I offered him a gift from my prize bag if he would let me interview him. He eyed the bag thoughtfully. “Do you have any dinosaurs in there?” he asked hopefully.

I shook my head. “Nope. Sorry, fresh out of dinosaurs. I have a cap, a tote bag or a cell phone pouch.”

“A hat then,” he decided. He pulled it on his head, peering up from under the brim. “I like dinosaurs a lot.”

Andrew and Mark Strickert on sbX BRT

I snapped a few photos and talked a bit with Andrew’s dad, Mark Strickert, a student at Valley College. Thanks to the Go Smart program, Mark gets unlimited free bus rides with his student ID. Although he has a car, he prefers to park it at the Loma Linda Park & Ride and take the bus to school. It saves him money and time.

“It’s also much easier than trying to find parking on campus,” he points out.

Mark told me he used to work for Orange County Transportation Authority doing stops and zones but had decided to head back to school to study geography. His goal is to eventually do urban planning for cities or transit.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of geography, maps, and transit ever since I was a little boy,” he confessed. “I rode the bus by myself for the first time when I was seven. Of course it was a different time and place then. Chicago in the 60s was a lot different from what it is now. But I was always interested in cities and how to get around.”

Andrew Strickert on sbX BRT, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

He smiled over at his son.  “Andrew’s pretty good at getting around too. He knows when we’re close to home and can tell where he is from places that he recognizes.”

“Do you help your dad out if he gets lost?” I asked Andrew.

The 4-year-old shook his head giggling. “He never gets lost!”

His dad laughed.

Andrew was so excited that it was hard for him to sit still.   He moved from one seat to another between stops to check out the ride.

“So what kind of dinosaur do you like best?” I asked him curiously

“The one that stands up” he answered promptly.

“A T-Rex? He’s a little scary. You must be very brave. I think I prefer the kind of dinosaurs that eat veggies.”

Andrew nodded and turned around to look out the big window for a moment, swinging his legs back and forth.

“I have a dog named Roxie,” he said suddenly.  “She does tricks.”

“Really? What kind of tricks?”

He peered at me over the top of the seat.  “She sits down.”

“Wow. . . That is a pretty cool trick.”

“I know!!’ he said proudly, then added. “Dinosaurs don’t know how to sit.”

He hopped off the seat and went over to join his dad in the articulated section of the coach.

“Whoa!!” he laughed and held on to his head when the driver made a right and the turntable seats spun in a circle. “That was fun!”

“You know,” I said suddenly inspired. “I’ve never met a dinosaur but, if I do, I will have him call you.”

“Yeah?” Andrew looked up interested. “Do you think dinosaurs can talk on the phone?”

“I’m not sure, but if I meet one I’ll ask if he can call you.”

“Cool.” Andrew hesitated for a moment. “Not a big dinosaur though, okay? And not the one that stands up. A little one. Maybe like a baby or something.”

I agreed. “Besides, a big one might accidentally step on me. We’ll stick with little dinosaurs. Anyway it was nice meeting you. Thanks for the interview!”

Andrew grinned, “Bye.”

He grabbed his dad’s hand and the two got up to try out yet another seat.

You meet the most interesting people on board sbX!

This one’s for you, Andrew.

 – Juno Kughler Carlson
  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

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