Doug Vincent, bicycle lover among bicycle lovers
Sacramento is one of those towns filled with bike lovers. But there are folks passionate about bikes, and then there's Doug Vincent, a bicycle advocate who got married on his bike. That’s dedication. He works a regular 9-to-5, which he commutes to on his bike of course. But with his spare time he helps out with several bike organizations like Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates and the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen. He even used to book the live music at the Bike Kitchen until a few years ago. He also organizes the biannual Cargo Bike Races, which is just a fun excuse for folks to ride their bikes around town carting pumpkins or whatever cargo they decide on for that particular race. Vincent is also a prominent local musician and has been since he moved to Sacramento in 1999. He’s most known currently as the bassist for Whiskey and Stitches. We asked him as many bike questions as we could, and a few music ones.
What kind of bike do you ride?
In my garage there are 13 bikes. My wife has, I think, seven of those. We met volunteering at the Bicycle Kitchen. We got married at the Bicycle Kitchen—on bikes. I have a mountain bike and a road bike and a cargo bike and a bar bike, one that I’m not afraid of getting stolen. I’ve been bicycle-commuting in Sacramento since ’99, when I moved here. It’s silly I guess. I want a bike for every occasion. So yeah, lots of bikes.
How bike-friendly is Sacramento?
When you’re inside of say Midtown, East Sac, Curtis Park, the city and surrounding areas, I would rate it really high as far as ease of getting around, places to lock your bike. It’s so flat. We have great weather, you can almost ride a bike year-round. If I’m going to ride out to my mother’s house who lives out on Arden and Watt area, that is not bike-able. There’s not bike lanes. It’s a much scarier scenario. Overall I think that Sacramento is such a bikeable area. Especially because we have the bike trail, where you don’t ever have to stop for a car.
Biggest faux pas for bicyclists?
I think for the most point there’s a lot of people active in trying to keep civil politeness alive. Not an “eff you” to the driver as you run a red light. There’s definitely cyclists out there that are blowing through stop signs, doing things kind of blatantly. It makes us all look bad. Same thing with cars, like they turn right in front of you, or they honk at you when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. I think that’ll always exist. We’re all trying to get to the same place. It’s not bad, but you’ll see it. Social media is one of those places where civil politeness is gone. Facebook creates animosity between groups. And someone will write, “Some bicyclist ran a stop sign this morning and I almost hit him, and when I honked at him, he flipped me off.” You’ll see a whole bunch of people jump on that. And that hurts both the cars and the cyclists. What can you do about that?
What about encouraging more people to use their bikes?
That’s one of the big things about the cargo bike races, any of these, the Thanksgiving Day Ride. Or even May is Bike Month. All the agencies that I’ve worked for, I’ve told people, “If you’ve never commuted to work before, it’s May is Bike Month. I’ll commute with you. I’ll come out to your house and let’s bike to work.” I think there’s definitely a fear of, “What’s it going to be like? Where are the one-way streets? Is it going to be safe?” Getting more riders has always been the bigger plan. I’m a passionate bicyclist. I’m going to ride my bike whenever I can. I want to get that person that’s a little bit afraid, or is like, “5 miles, that sounds like a long way.” It’s not a long way.
You got married on your bike?
We rode the bike into the wedding, and friends actually hung cans and a sign saying “just married” and we “rode off” from the wedding, too. We were married in the Bicycle Kitchen with our bikes hanging above us and tied together by flowers. So it was very much a bicycle themed wedding. Our hotel room for the night was at the Citizen Hotel, so it wasn’t too far to ride, and they were gracious enough to let us store the long cargo bike in the lobby area. We didn’t have any trouble with the bikes, and the weather was very cooperative considering we did an 11/11/11 wedding. The cargo bike we used had a child’s seat in the back that I removed, then added some padding for my wife to sit on, but otherwise, it wasn’t much of a “conversion” to get it to work. It was great, lots of guests arrived on bikes too.
Have you and your wife always been bound by bikes?
We met at the Bike Kitchen, My band Flounder was playing an anniversary show for the Bike Kitchen and my wife was a volunteer and announced the band. … A couple weeks later we ran into each other again at The Mercantile Saloon for a birthday of a mutual friend and well, many bikes, two kids and four-plus years later, here we are!