Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jarie Bolander Doesn't Like to Bike but...

He looks like he likes to bike.

Jarie and Jon at the peak of Death Ride. Photo by Jarie Bolander.

Jarie Bolander had never heard of the North of the Panhandle before his wife, Margaret, found their condo on Baker and Grove Streets, but NOPA had what he was seeking. “I want to be able to walk to a restaurant. If I can’t do that, then what’s the point of living in the city?” He also likes that NOPA has an edginess of its own.

Although he was born in San Francisco, Jarie spent much of his life in Belmont. When he and Margaret married, they settled first in Redwood City where Jarie worked as a chip designer. Fed up with the corporate work, Jarie and Margaret moved to San Francisco in 2004. She now works at a Mission Bay pharmaceutical firm, and he works at Tagent, a company he co-founded in 2004. We track blood tubes,” he told me over coffee at Apollo Café on Divisadero at Turk. My blank look prompted more. “That’s the simplest way to say it. We track the blood tubes from the time of the drawing and through the system.”

Jarie has an easy, low-key manner about him. So it seems. But he’s a man of discipline, determination, and ambition. Take bicycling for example. Jarie never biked as a kid, and even today he admits, “I don’t really like to bike.” He explains, “I’m a triathlete, and biking was the activity I liked the least. There just seemed to be too much equipment to deal with.” But biking was his worst event, and he had to perform better. Did he start with rides through the park and along the Great Highway or perhaps an afternoon spin across the bridge? No, he signed up for the AIDS Lifecycle, a 500 mile trip to Los Angeles. For nine months he rode with a friend for six hours on every Saturday and he biked to his job in Mountain View.

The Lifecycle ride itself was “fantastic,” Jarie recalled. “It was truly a life-changing event. There’s something about waking in the morning, knowing all you have to do that day is ride your bike.” He said he was surprised and pleased that there wasn’t one negative person on the ride. “Everyone was so positive, even the roadies who dealt with all the logistics of the riders and their equipment and their meals.” He beamed when he said, “I couldn’t believe there were so many really nice people.” The experience also “opened my eyes to the real situations with AIDS, how global it is, but also how many people today with the right medical care and medications can live to a very old age.”

With a bike trip to LA to his credit, Jarie next undertook the “Death Ride,” a tour of the California Alps that features a 129 mile trek with 15,000 feet of climbing in one day. He did it because his friend Jon had non-Hodgkins lymphoma and asked him to ride along. Now Jarie bikes to the train to get to work, and his friend is clear of cancer.*

Jarie also volunteers with SCORE, an operation that helps small businesses with questions and concerns about management. To help clients even more, he started a blog, that provides a FAQ list to consult first. His volunteering led him to writing a book for technical managers. “I want to help reduce managers’ technical management frustrations,” he said. He will self-publish Frustration Free Technical Management in the next few months. There will definitely be a book party. “I really want to sit and sign books.”

And in his spare time…Jarie serves as Vice-President of the NOPNA board, a group dedicated to enhancing all the good things that brought Jarie to NOPA in the first place, including nearby restaurants.

* Jarie wrote "Death Ride: Beating Cancer on a Bike" for the September/October issue of the North Panhandle News.

1 comment:

  1. What a nice story!
    I've always admired everyone that has done the lifecycle. Thanks for sharing and Go Jarie! :D