Summer vacation, the TransForm way

Bianca Taylor Headshot

 Flickr Rodrigo SoldonAhh summer...a time for sunshine (or if you’re in the Bay Area, rolling fog), barbeques, long days, and - hopefully - a day off (or two)! At TransForm we very much value taking time to recharge our batteries in order to keep us energized throughout the year.

Joel Ramos, TransForm’s Regional Planning Director, says it best: “People who are affiliated with TransForm in any way are hard-working, dedicated, committed people who are passionate about creating more equitable, sustainable communities. However, it’s sometimes easy to get too caught up in the work and forget to take care of ourselves.”

To recharge his batteries this summer, Joel took a trip to the desert island of Aruba, where he found a public transit paradise waiting for him:

“Summer is the time to check out and do a little recreation, so that when the fall comes, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. That means spending some time away from the internet, taking some time off, and if I’m lucky, taking a trip! For my recent summer recharge, I visited the desert isle of Aruba. Even though the island has a population of just about 100,000, it has managed to build a street car system, on rails, to cater to the car-free. The streetcars run with no cables, no overhead wires, and no combustion engine. Yup! They're hydrogen powered (partially powered via the hot island's cooling tradewinds)! This video shows how the streetcars run (and shows off some of the city views).”

While some people’s idea of a relaxing vacation is lying poolside with a cool drink, TransForm’s Community Planner Clarrissa Cabansagan prefers something a little more active:

“As a Community Planner at TransForm, I manage a number of bicycle/pedestrian improvements to transit hubs and stations throughout the Bay Area, as well as encourage cities to develop innovative plans that get people biking and walking. When I did Climate Ride last year, I caught the bug for bike touring. I recognized the value of our advocacy: to ensure future generations also get to enjoy these same open spaces and landscapes. And biking by far is my favorite ways to experience them.  That summer I assembled a group of my adventure pals—some girlfriends— from college to go on a bike tour in Oregon for my 30th birthday. We decided to go low key and do what they call “credit card tour”—i.e. stay in inns/B&Bs along the way instead of lugging all our camping gear. We even came up with a hashtag for ourselves: #TeamOmbreLegs, for the wonderful tans you get when you wear bike shorts and roll them half way up in the middle of a ride.

Team Ombre Legs has made this an annual event. This year we went hardcore and bike camped down the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) with one stop at friend’s parents’ place in Monterey.

In five days, we rode over 250 miles from Half Moon Bay to San Luis Obispo. We all agreed that the highlight of the trip was the glorious ride through Big Sur on Day 3—close to 70 miles and 5,500 feet in elevation gain (how have I lived in California all my life without experiencing the wonder of Big Sur?). That was also the most treacherous part of the tour, sometimes with little or no shoulder to ride on. We visited a number of state beaches and camped at a few California State Parks. I also was ecstatic to find out that State Parks always have a few campsites reserved for people who hike or pedal to their campsites, with fees of only a few dollars a night. Feel free to email me if you want any pointers or recommendations for this ride. And if you decide to bike camp down Highway 1, please watch out for the poison oak!”

Wherever your summer travels may take you, we hope you are able to take a moment to relax and recharge. And if you’re able to leave your car behind and explore on public transportation, two wheels, or two feet – all the better! 


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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit