For Immediate Release - Women on Bikes California Launches the Groundbreaking “Active Living Plugged In” Training Camp to Cultivate 500 Spokespeople for a "Civil Streets Conversation for California"

From: Melissa Balmer - Director Women on Bikes California/ t. (562) 221-9672 email:

Note: Excellent images available upon request


Long Beach CA – Three of the major challenges facing Californians today are; the sedentary diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, colon and breast cancers), economic uncertainty, and the rising cost burden of car ownership. Ordinary Californians are responding by making remarkable changes to their lives by switching to “car light” or “car free” lifestyles by incorporating biking, walking and taking public transportation. What’s missing to help this positive trend become a true culture shift however, is a dynamic and ongoing “Civil Streets Conversation for California.”

Enter Women on Bikes California’s (WobCal) Active Living Plugged ” training camps to teach 500 people - mostly women and those from underserved communities - across the state over the next three years to become masterful spokespeople for this much needed conversation. The first of these new media, communications and leadership labs will be held March 15 and 16 in downtown Los Angeles in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Bikeable Communities and Carmichael U.S.A. which is donating a pair of beautiful panniers for the trainee who wins as best overall presenter at the camp. There are just 20 spots still available but they will go quickly. Please register online here:

Each lab will host a maximum of 35 trainees for a day and a half intensive “hands on” and very collaborative training that will give attendees measurably improved skills in:

  • Delivering engaging live presentations

  • Creating a powerful political presence via leadership and community organizing skills

  • Artfully employing new media skills and social media outreach tools in smart ways to expand and motivate audiences.

  • Successfully creating relationships and credibility with a broad array of media professionals to become a valued source.

To illustrate the opportunities of a focused social and traditional media outreach strategy the WobCal initiative in just two and a half years, it’s creative team, trainers and events have been featured in American Bicyclist (multiple), Apparel News, Atlantic Cities, Bicycling Magazine, Bicycling Retailer, CNN Blogs, The Gazettes (multiple),, KABC News, KCAL 9 News, KPFK’s Bike Talk, KPCC's Air Talk, LA Observed, Los Angeles Magazine, The (multiple),, The Los Angeles Times, Momentum Magazine (multiple), O.C. Weekly, The Press Telegram (multiple), Refinery 29, Streetsblog L.A. and more.

Three inspiring examples of women making extraordinary changes to their lives by bike, who will be participating in the training, are Maria Sipin 28, who writes the “License to Ride” blog for WobCal’s website, Kellie Morris 60, who writes the “We All Ride Bikes” blog for WobCal, and  and Henriette Alamillo 27 who is a volunteer coordinator for L.A.’s very popular CicLAvia events. Both Sipin and Alamillo represent the “experience versus ownership” driven Millennials, a growing number of young people who find that using public transportation and bicycling are more appealing and sustainable than car ownership.

Sipin is a community health professional who relocated to downtown Los Angeles from East San Gabriel Valley in order to make time for doing things she loves by reducing her daily two-hour commute to a quick bus/rail and bike ride to work at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She bikes for transportation and to new and familiar places to eat, shop and complete other daily activities such as errands and spending time with friends.

Sipin is the co-host of the new #Womentalkbikes segment of the new Pedal Love show on KPFK's Bike Talk. She will also represent WoBCal/Pedal Love at the upcoming National Bike Summit and Women Bike Forum in Washington D.C. on March 3rd as well as share her social media expertise on a special pre event media training this Sunday. Learn more about Maria here:

Alamillo realized that she wouldn’t be able to both own a car and go to college. She decided to invest in a bike instead. The healthy benefit? She lost 50 lbs. by biking/commuting from her home in Southeast L.A. (Florence) to college on the West Side. Alamillo has also found a close knit group of friends and support for her car free life, as well as bright career future by being a volunteer coordinator for L.A.’s popular CicLAvia events.

Kellie Morris is a wife, mother, grandmother and former IT executive who moved to North Long Beach in 2008 when she and her husband downsized. Kellie’s work life had come to a halt with the onset of the autoimmune disease Connective Tissue Disorder. She has regained much of her health by revolutionizing her eating habits and returning to her love of bicycling – but this time rather than focus on it as an athlete for training she decided to use her bike as her main form of transportation and loves nothing more than teaching others to do the same.

All three women have also become certified bicycling education instructors via a scholarship from the WobCal initiative and now teach throughout greater L.A.

The price to attend this inaugural training is just $100 for private citizens and advocates working with and for non-profits, and $200 for active living professionals and bike industry, health,and  transit professionals – if purchased by 3/3 at 6:00 pm: Further trainings are scheduled for Silicon Valley in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition April 5 & 6th, and in Long Beach in collaboration with Bikeable Communities, and interTrend Communications July 19 20.

This training campaign was created by Women on Bikes California Director Melissa Balmer in collaboration with Charlie Gandy the Vice Chair of the California Bicycle Coalition - which WoBCal is an initiative of. Once Active Living Plugged In participants have completed their training they will begin collaborating with both WobCal and Calbike for ongoing new media storytelling, live events and media outreach to catalyze this “Civil Streets Conversation for California.” For more information, including very attractive sponsorship opportunities, please contact Melissa Balmer at (562) 221-9672 or via email at To learn more about the Women on Bikes


About the Active Living Plugged In Lead Trainers

Melissa Balmer is a writer, speaker, and media relations specialist Melissa's mission is to bring the connecting power of storytelling to showcase the bike as a tool for optimism. Her active living projects include being a creative team member for Bike Long Beach’s “Share Our Streets” multi-media information campaign, 2012 Host Facilitator and Media Coordinator for the 2012 Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place Conference, and 2013 Summit Coordinator for the California by Bike Summit. Melissa serves on the national Women Bike “Marketing & Media” committee for the League of American Bicyclists.

Charlie Gandy is a nationally recognized expert in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy, Charlie is a popular consultant and speaker known for sparking innovation. Charlie founded Bike Texas, created the Thunderhead Alliance retreat for biking and walking advocates, and the Bike Friendly Business Districts program in collaboration with Bike Long Beach. As a program facilitator he has organized trainings in all fifty states and played a role in launching more than 30 biking and walking advocacy organizations around the U.S. Charlie has recently been featured on the cover of the OC Weekly, on KPCC’s Air Talk and in the Los Angeles Times  for his leadership in bike advocacy.

Allan Crawford is the former Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Long Beach, he is an active volunteer for the bicycle advocacy organization Bikeable Communities. Allan is an accomplished videographer and professional photographer. His images appear throughout and appeared on the cover of American Bicyclist, Momentum Magazine, Road Magazine, and in Bicycling Magazine, The Press Telegram, The Long Beach Register and more. His images and videos are also used frequently by statewide and national advocacy organizations such as the League of American Bicyclists.

About Women on Bikes California

An initiative of the California Bicycle Coalition, the mission of Women on Bikes California focuses on the bike as a tool for optimism in the lives of women. We work to engage, connect and cultivate opportunity for women of all ages, races and walks of life interested in bicycling, active living advocacy and bike-related/bike-friendly industries with emotionally engaging storytelling and proactive media outreach as key to our strategy. Learn more about us at

About the California Bicycle Coalition

The mission of CalBike is to enable more people to bicycle, creating safer, healthier and more prosperous communities for all. Our goal is to double the amount of bicycling in the Golden State by 2017 and triple it by 2020. Learn more about us at