Faces of the Grandman: Jeff DeQuattro
Mobile Baykeeper is hosting the 13th Annual Publix Grandman Triathlon on Saturday, June 3 at 7 a.m. at the Fairhope Pier. The event is a sprint triathlon consisting of a 1/3-mile swim, 18.6 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run along beautiful Mobile Bay. Click here to register today!
Faces of the Grandman: Jeff DeQuattro
This edition of "Faces of the Grandman" features Jeff DeQuattro, Executive Delta of Delta Bike Project, a local non-profit organization that will be a first-time beneficiary of the Grandman this year. In the interview, Jeff gives us a brief overview and background of the Delta Bike Project, explains the importance of accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians in our community, the importance of collaboration between non-profits, and lastly offers a few bicycle safety tips (in the video above) for Grandman racers.
For those who aren’t familiar, give us a brief summary of what the purpose is of the Delta Bike Project.
It’s really about helping people with forms of transportation and working on planning efforts to make our area a safer place to ride. These are the two major things we do. We’re also a brick and mortar shop that helps people work on their bikes. If any Grandman racers have older bikes they aren’t using, we’d love to have them at the shop and keep them for someone else to eventually have.
How did Delta Bike Project get involved with the Grandman this year?
I offered to help out last year. It’s a good event, good people, and a lot of our mutual partners help to put it on. We’ve gotten some great feedback from our own event, Gears & Beers, about how well the whole course was marked, so I thought we could bring some of this expertise to the Grandman bike course. To me, it’s all about making sure the experience of riding is better all around – whether it’s a ride, a race, a triathlon, or everyday commuting.
Why do you think it’s important for non-profits to support each other and collaborate on big events like the Grandman?
I think our organizations (Mobile Baykeeper and Delta Bike Project) overlap a lot in some of our priorities in that the Delta Bike Project was named after our Delta and was created by people who are naturalists or scientists and love spending time in nature. We also work on bikes, and Baykeeper is an environmental organization whose largest fundraising event is a triathlon so there are several components of what we do that match well together. Combining efforts helps leverage different audiences and builds a trust between our constituents. People that follow Delta Bike Project may not know much about Baykeeper, and vice versa. You’ll probably have a lot of riders at the Grandman who haven’t heard of us and might consider coming to our fundraising event in November. It works out well for everyone involved.
How did you get involved in cycling? What do you enjoy most about it?
I don’t even really consider myself a big cyclist – I’m more of a person who just likes to bike. I got involved because I recognized that bicycles have such an impact on people who need to get to work or need to go get groceries but can’t afford to have a car. It costs the average person about $9,000 per year to own a car – gas, taxes, fees, maintenance, etc. and that’s expensive.
Delta Bike Project started as a cooperative, a membership based hobby shop, but we realized quickly that the original cooperative model leaves out people with no money. We started having homeless people come to the shop who needed help and we saw there was a need in the community. Then we shifted our direction to meet that need.
What kind of impact do you think Delta Bike Project has had on our community?
I think DBP has brought a different level of awareness to the cycling community that wasn’t there before. We’ve helped create and shape a passion for people to want safer streets and a more livable community, better infrastructure and more opportunities for cycling.
What are some things you hope to see as you continue to make this a stronger biking community? What are some of your biggest goals?
I want to see all of these ongoing master plans – Map for Mobile, SARPC Bike Ped Plan, and other large plans that involve some aspects of transportation – to really prioritize cycling or multi-modal transportation as major components of these plans. They need to recognize that providing this level of cycling infrastructure and pedestrian infrastructure will have a positive impact on our community and our environment. That’s really our overall goal.
To learn more about Delta Bike Project, please visit www.deltabikeproject.org.