Bike Man Dan
You’ve probably seen him around town, pedaling his way to the post office or grocery store or volunteering at the community bike shop. Dan Woloz, also known as “Bike Man Dan,” is a local evangelist for bicycle use.
Six years ago, he escaped a suburban L.A. beach town and moved to the Bay Area, giving up computer science degree prospects and experiencing a life shift when he chose to live simply and frugally over having a “career.”
“Bicycles are a natural extension of that,” Woloz says. “One of the simplest and most effective means of locomotion humans have ever harnessed.” Soon after his move, Woloz joined the Rohnert Park Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee and began hosting free bike tune-up events in Rohnert Park and on the Sonoma State University Campus.
Struck by how expensive bike shops are, Woloz opened his first bike business in 2006, scouring the Sonoma County dump each weekend for salvageable bikes. Along the way, he learned how to run a business with the help of the Internet and the late Sheldon Brown (sheldonbrown.com), a gem of a web source on technical bicycle information.
“I’m aiming to keep prices low and encourage people to maintain the bikes they have instead of buying new ones,” Woloz says.
The 25-year-old just opened the third incarnation of Bike Man Dan on San Pablo and 60th in Oakland. “It’s a very down-to-earth and approachable, small, cozy shop below our communal house accessed through our food-growing garden,” he says. Woloz also teaches workshops on bicycle maintenance at the North Oakland Farmers Market, the Actual Café and other locales as a way to encourage self-sufficiency and help people feel confident about getting on a bike. “It feels good to see useful, practical knowledge spread. Bikes are definitely not rocket science. Anyone can learn to fix
Look for Bike Man Dan at Actual Café workshops and the Phat Beets Food N’Justice Workshop series at the North Oakland Farmers Market. Also, follow his biking stories and knowledge of all things bike at bikemandan.com. “I go out and travel by bike whenever I can and use the blog to post photos and trip details. Seeing the way that people open up their homes and hearts when you’re out traveling the world by bike is amazing, and it’s been an inspiration in my life.”