|If you are one of Irvine’s earliest residents or businesses, we want to hear your story. Send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org in which you “Tell Your Own Irvine Story.” Throughout 2011 we will post some of these compelling stories on this page. |
Q&A: Lon Hall, Bicycling through Irvine
Lon Hall, an Irvine resident since 1985, sold his 1972 VW Bug in Los Angeles some 33 years ago en route to Mexico and hasn’t owned a car since. But he has biked nonstop through Irvine, first as an analytical chemist hired by Allergan in late 1980 (he also was involved in quality control and project management) and since February 2008, when he retired. The University Park resident’s parents had lived in Irvine since 1970, so when he and his wife first returned to the United States, they needed a place to stay. The Seattle native found his home: “I had 56 addresses by the time I landed in Orange County,” he says. “I take that as an indication that I like it here.”
Q: What got you going on a bike as a mode of transportation?
A: You can cover a lot more ground than you can by walking. Bus service wasn’t very good back in the 1980s. First, I couldn’t afford a car, then I bought a house instead of a car, and I was 8 minutes by bike from work.
Q: Irvine has more than 44 miles of bike trails; have you been on all of them and do you bike through our open spaces such as Bommer Canyon and Quail Hill?
A: I have been on every one, and I know a zillion routes through Irvine, Costa Mesa and Tustin. I’m a traffic avoider. I bike to (Bommer and Quail Hill) to go hiking. I like to hike 8-12 miles at a time … and I ride at least two hours a day.
Q: What is your favorite bike ride in Irvine?
A: Probably the Hicks Canyon Trail, among the trees the whole way. The one I use the most is San Diego Creek – that’s the way I come up for events such as the Irvine Global Village and Memorial Day observance.
Q: How do you encourage others to ride a bike?
A: When people first learn of it, you can see the gears moving but not engaging: “He does not own a car.” It’s not within the realm of reality in Southern California not to own a car.
Q: What’s your impression of Irvine at its 40th Anniversary?
A: I think it’s a fantastic place to get old in; the senior services are wonderful. There are all kinds of activities. Lots and lots of parks and places to walk. And I volunteer at Lakeview Senior Center with food prep for Meals on Wheels and for the lunches there.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I do a lot of traveling, with mission work and the plain enjoyment of seeing different places. I’ve been to 36 countries and will be to three new ones next year – Croatia, Slovenia and Israel
Are you a multi-generational Irvine resident? Tell us your story by writing to email@example.com.
Mary Ann Gaido
The Russell and Peggy Frank Family