Butte County bicyclists have reason to ride

Sandy Fisher

Photo By dane stivers

Sandy Fisher has lived in Chico most of her life. She moved here at 2 years old, when her dad got a job teaching at Chico State, and she went on to earn a degree in art with an emphasis in weaving from the university. A long-time bicyclist, Fisher is a member of Chico Velo Cycling Club and friend of Ed McLaughlin, who suffered a terrible bicycle accident a few years ago, leaving him paralyzed. Since getting to know McLaughlin, Fisher—who earns her living as a weaver and runs her own shop, Sandy Fisher Woven—has grown into an activist for the Chico Cycling Care Fund, which has been around since 2007. The fund has helped four recovering bicyclists thus far, one each year, and has raised $25,000 thus far through the annual Tour de Ed ride. To qualify as a recipient, one must be a Butte County resident who was obeying the law at the time of the accident. Fisher says bicycle accidents in Chico are more prevalent than people think. Anyone who is interested in providing services to the Chico Cycling Care Fund should contact the Chico Velo office at 343-8356 or <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,118,101,108,111,64,99,104,105,99,111,118,101,108,111,46,111,114,103,34,62,118,101,108,111,64,99,104,105,99,111,118,101,108,111,46,111,114,103,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

How do weaving and cycling relate with you personally?

Both are a passion. Both give me a sense of freedom. I am also commuting, meaning that I can ride my bike and I can get from point A to point B on my own power, so it’s really empowering. The other thing is I appreciate the solitude I have, I like solitude time. If I’m on my bike and also when I’m weaving, it’s a real solitude kind of thing. And both of them are similar; you have to stay focused, and to me it’s a parallel, they work together.

What advice would you give to new bike riders?

I think the key thing is to be always alert; to be always looking around, and being on the defense. You know, you’re pretty vulnerable out there. If you have a big truck that’s two times taller than you and it comes by, you have to be aware. It’s something you can’t take lightly. I think sometimes people do think a bicycle is a toy, and it’s really something you use to get around town; it’s a vehicle. So take it seriously, it’s not a play thing.

What do you hope for the future of the Chico Cyclist Care Fund?

I hope that there will be more education. That people will have an awareness of bicycle safety and realize it is another alternative to a car, and become fully aware of that. Again, it relates to my weaving, incorporating the art, I think there’s a merger. And in this town, both cycling and weaving are well-respected fields.