Biker Spins Wheels For Trails

Friday August 08, 2003

Jim Muellner believes America needs more bicycle trails to link its major cities, and he’s showing the rest of us just how much. Two converts to his cause, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and City Council member Kriss Worthington, will join him Friday as he bikes from Berkeley to Oakland. 

After setting off from Washington on May 2 on a cycle of his own devising, the 67-year-old inventor has been pedaling his way through 25 cities as part of the National Bicycle Greenway (NBG) Mayors’ Ride, which is scheduled to end in Santa Cruz Aug. 17. 

Friday’s ride will take the Great Lakes, Minn., resident and the two Berkeley officials from City Hall to downtown Oakland. 

“Berkeley is a great city for bike advocacy,” said Muellner, noting that Worthington has been “car-free” since 1983. “It’s an honor to get to be here representing NBG.” 

A legendary figure in the biking world, Muellner said Wednesday that his ride has been “an opportunity to educate people about the project and get them involved in helping make it a reality.” “The chance to bike from city to city on specially-designated bicycle paths is great for bike advocates.” 

Arrived in Berkeley after the 38-mile ride from Napa on Wednesday, Muellner said he was excited to continue on and ready to participate in the festival. 

“Some of the rides are a lot longer than 38 miles, so this was pretty easy,” said Muellner, who completed the 520 miles from Salt Lake City to Reno in just five days. “It’s a beautiful ride.” 

The founder of Just Two Bikes, a company that makes tricycles for adults, Muellner also invented the Smart Carte system for transporting luggage in airports, but left the firm to devote more time to riding and inventing bicycles. 

Muellner is one of the most beloved NBJ members and relay riders, attracting crowds at every stop. 

At Friday’s City Hall send-off , Muellner will be named an honorary Berkeleyan, and when he arrives in Santa Cruz for the festival that will mark the end of his run, he’ll be inducted into the NBG Hall of Fame as a rider who has made a significant difference in the life of the bikeway.