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New Bicycle Guru Hopes to Keep Cycling Easy

By Cody Kitaura/Dateline on May 22, 2018 in University

When Aaron Curtin was a student, he would see longtime Bicycle Program coordinator David Takemoto-Weerts around campus and joke with him: “Someday I’m going to have your job.”

Now he does.

Curtin ’02 joined Transportation Services, or TAPS, in February to work on bicycle infrastructure and programs to support cycling, and to help maintain UC Davis’ status as a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University.

As a successor to the retired Takemoto-Weerts, Curtin said he is excited to have the chance to “improve a community that was very influential in my life.” Not to mention, “It’s great to be able to roll past my old lecture hall,” he said.

Curtin said the first issue he hopes to focus on is reducing bicycle theft — something he dealt with firsthand as a student, when someone stole the front fork and wheel from his bike.

He’s already increased the frequency of Transportation Services’ patrols for bicycles that appear to have been abandoned. They are “a magnet for crime,” he said, unless TAPS gets to them first and starts the process of trying to reunite the bikes with their owners.

He also hopes to continue to encourage cyclists to register their bikes so they can be more easily retuned if they’re recovered, and work with the campus Police Department on anti-theft programs.

He has a long history with bicycles: Growing up in Stockton, instead of hanging around the deli where his parents worked, he would wander over to a nearby bicycle shop. They eventually put him to work cleaning up and fixing flat tires, and he continued repairing and building bikes for friends throughout college.

Formerly ran APEX Cycles

His circle of customers slowly expanded from friends to friends of friends and complete strangers, and his garage filled up with bikes. Curtin moved the operation to his own bike shop in downtown Davis, APEX Cycles. The store was open for 13 years; it closed six months ago but Curtin plans to keep repairing bicycles in his free time.

He also has worked with the North Natomas Transportation Management Association and Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, overseeing pop-up bike repair stations, bike valet parking and more.

Now he’s promoting cycling in a much different environment: a “beacon” for bicycle transportation. Even though there are some 20,000 bicycles on campus each day, Curtin said there’s always room to get more people on two wheels, and he thinks the key to convincing people is to appeal to convenience, cost and health benefits rather than environmental concerns.

“I never considered myself a tree-hugger,” he said. “I just liked bikes. I just felt it was easier and potentially cheaper to ride.”

Curtin has lived in Davis since he was a student, and still lives in town with his wife, Princess. They are raising three boys: Aaron Jr., 17, Alex, 14, and Mark, 13.

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