electrical bike Mark Bixby beloved biking and bringing you alongside for the trip – Press Telegram
To Mark Bixby, driving a motorcycle was about greater than feeling the wind in his hair.
To him, biking was an journey and a solution to carry folks collectively. Just like the time in 1985, when he rode his bike 3,000 miles throughout america along with his good friend, Andy Merrill, to satisfy folks alongside the best way who you’ll miss driving a automotive.
Bixby was concerned in quite a lot of group tasks, however he could also be greatest recognized for his advocacy of bicycling and championing points to make Lengthy Seaside essentially the most bike-friendly metropolis within the nation. He helped create town’s Bicycle Grasp Plan and based the Lengthy Seaside Bike Competition.
When the Lengthy Seaside harbor fee determined to construct a successor to the Gerald Desmond Bridge, he was a number one advocate to construct a bike-pedestrian path on the brand new span. Sadly, Bixby, a member of the Lengthy Seaside’s founding Bixby household, was killed on March 16, 2011, within the crash of a twin-engine Beechcraft King air turboprop aircraft at Lengthy Seaside Airport. 4 different folks on board additionally died; one, Mike Jensen, survived.
The aircraft had been sure for Salt Lake Metropolis, the place Bixby and his buddies had been going for a snowboarding trip.
Former state Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal then used her affect because the chair of the Transportation Committee to guide the Legislature to go a decision in 2012 designating the bicycle and pedestrian path on the Gerald Desmond Alternative Bridge because the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path.
“It was my honor to take this by way of the Legislature,” stated Lowenthal, who’s now a member of the Lengthy Seaside harbor fee. “Mark Bixby was a doer, a real hero within the historical past of Lengthy Seaside.”
The Gerald Desmond Alternative Bridge will open to automobile visitors Monday morning, Oct. 5.
However when the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle-Pedestrian Path will open stays unsure, based on Mario Cordero, government director of the Port of Lengthy Seaside.
“We may have a dedication ceremony for the Bixby Path inside a few months, however we don’t know but precisely when the trail will likely be open for the general public,” Cordero stated.
One situation is the forthcoming demolition of the outdated Gerald Desmond Bridge, which, in some locations is just about 2 toes away from the brand new bridge, which might trigger questions of safety for folks driving bikes or strolling on the Bixby path.
“We need to ensure that the bike-pedestrian path is as secure as doable earlier than we open it as much as the general public,” Cordero stated.
One other situation is the development of a bicycle path connector bridge that may hyperlink the Bixby Memorial Bicycle-Pedestrian Path to town’s bicycle community. That bridge will cross over the eastbound Ocean Boulevard connector ramp and Pico Avenue off-ramp from the brand new bridge for higher entry.
Earlier than the connector bridge is constructed, cyclists and pedestrians would use a 12-foot-wide route that has lanes for the general public to go from the Ocean Boulevard-Pico Avenue intersection on the east facet of the Port of Lengthy Seaside over the brand new bridge to Terminal Island and again, a distance of almost 2 miles.
Three commentary decks alongside the primary span will present scenic overlooks of town, the Port of Lengthy Seaside and, on a transparent day, Catalina Island. The Bixby path is on the south facet of the brand new bridge. 9 informational indicators will inform cyclists and pedestrians in regards to the historical past of the Port of Lengthy Seaside, the brand new bridge and Bixby himself.
Members of the Bixby household stated in interviews this week that they completely happy the bridge is lastly opening on Monday, even when the trail honoring their relative won’t.
“We’re simply thrilled that the bicycle-pedestrian path is called in honor of Mark,” stated his mom, Betsy Bixby Steen, from her residence in Tucson, Arizona. “Mark was such a humble, modest individual. He by no means appeared for private recognition. He simply wished to make issues higher. If he had been right here now, he could be completely shocked by his title on that path.”
Bixby Steen additionally recalled the final day she noticed Bixby in 2011.
“He was so excited as a result of the bicycle-pedestrian challenge was transferring forward,” she stated. “Two days later, he was killed within the aircraft crash.”
Cordero, who was a member of the harbor fee in 2011, stated he inspired Bixby to make a presentation for the bike-pedestrian challenge to the complete fee on March 14 of that 12 months. There had been some pushback, Cordero stated, from the employees about the price of the challenge.
“The assembly with the fee went properly,” Cordero stated. “Mark known as me the following night time to thank me for my assist. The subsequent day, he died within the aircraft crash.”
Cordero stated the bicycle-pedestrian path wouldn’t have been accredited if it had not been for Bixby’s involvement.
Jean Bixby Smith, Bixby’s aunt, stated the household will rejoice his legacy on the dedication ceremony, “though will probably be very unhappy, to say the least, that he received’t be there with us.
“He would have been thrilled,” she added, “though he by no means sought private recognition for his many volunteer tasks.”
Theresa Bixby stated one in all Mark’s favourite quotes was from Claude Herve, a French journalist who cycled around the globe along with his spouse.
“To journey by bicycle is a humble solution to get near folks,” Herve stated. “It’s a means of claiming we’re passing by way of with no considered invasion or conquest, solely the easy will to share part of the highway.”
Theresa Bixby, Mark Bixby’s widow, stated that’s what her late husband’s life was all about.
“It was about sharing part of his highway,” she stated. “His thirst for information, his sense of journey, his compassion for household, buddies and group all had one factor in frequent: he wished to carry you alongside for the trip, to study from you and know extra about you, and most significantly, to make a brand new good friend.”
I used to be honored to be one in all Bixby’s buddies. We met for the primary time as members of the Management Lengthy Seaside Class of 1996. He was one of the crucial extraordinary folks I’ve met in my a few years in Lengthy Seaside.
It appeared like he might do something he set his thoughts to:
He was an athlete, a pc nerd, a handyman and an astute businessman. He was the youngest president of the Lengthy Seaside Rotary Membership. He helped create Rotary Centennial Park. He chaired the YMCA Tenting Companies Board. He was an avid surfer who additionally beloved crusing. He labored as an emergency medical technician and as a gondolier through the summer time for Gondola Getaway.
And, after all, he beloved biking.
One time, I advised him he must run for mayor. He responded in his typical modest means.
“Oh, no, that’s for others,” he stated. “I simply need to get issues performed and assist folks and town in any means I can.”
Bixby’s enduring slogan was, “Go large or go residence.”
That spirit lives on within the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle-Pedestrian Path, alongside Lengthy Seaside’s spectacular new bridge. I can’t look ahead to it to open so I can stroll the stroll that Mark Bixby envisioned.