Tri-Valley Accountant Enjoys the Open Road Around Pleasanton
By Jim Ott
Picture a 49-year-old man, a successful certified public accountant who cares about his community and is a partner in a Pleasanton firm that employs 105 people. Now picture a guy riding a Harley-Davidson on a Friday along the coast, his sweetheart along for the ride, her arms wrapped around the biker.
Meet John Sensiba, who is both an accountant and a motorcycle enthusiast.
“I bought my first motorcycle when I was 15 years old for $75,” said Sensiba, who grew up in San Carlos and moved to Pleasanton 19 years ago. “I rode that bike everywhere: to school, on dates, to work, rain or shine.”
Sensiba recalls how grown up he felt when he was finally able to sell the 250 Suzuki motorcycle to buy a car: “But after I sold the bike, I started missing it.”
In the mid-1980s as he attended San Jose State University, Sensiba was back riding motorcycles, adding occasional skydiving to his weekends. When in 1985 he met his future wife, Marianne, she joined him on the bike for long, romantic rides.
Fast forward to the birth of their first child, Clay, and Marianne encouraged Sensiba to consider suspending the skydiving and motorcycle riding now that he was a father.
“She was right,” he said. As the family grew to include daughters Melanie and Megan, Sensiba gave up riding motorcycles and settled into his chosen career.
Then, 9 years ago, his lost love of riding motorcycles prompted him to sit down for a talk with Marianne. He suggested that he wanted to start riding again, that children shouldn’t grow up seeing their father be afraid to live life to the fullest. She agreed.
In fact, after his purchase of a 2003 V-Rod Harley-Davidson, Marianne joined Sensiba on a ride, and they have been riding together ever since.
“We’ll sometimes rent a motorcycle when we’re on vacation,” said Sensiba, who said he and Marianne once took a beautiful ride in the Kaanapali region of Hawaii to secluded, hard-to-reach places.
More often the rides begin in Pleasanton with several friends, who include retired police chief Mike Fraser, retired fire chief Bill Cody, retired deputy fire chief Jeff Zolfarelli, and others.
“If the weather is nice, we ride to the coast; if the weather isn’t as good, we ride to the valley,” Sensiba said.
While most excursions are day rides, sometimes the group will stay overnight on a longer ride, such as the one that took the bikers to Lake Tahoe for lunch, then on to Bridgeport, then along Highway 395 near Mono Lake to Lee Vining where the group stayed in what Sensiba called a “cowboy” hotel with little more than a bed. The next morning the bikers rode up and over Tioga Pass, stopping along the way for a short hike within the stunning landscape of the Sierra Nevada.
The rides, of course, provide a welcome reprieve from an otherwise busy professional schedule. In fact, busy doesn’t begin to describe Sensiba’s life. In addition to his leadership role at Sensiba San Filippo, which is one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in Northern California, he serves on several non-profit boards, including the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the Las Positas College Foundation, the ValleyCare Medical Foundation, and the ValleyCare Health System Board where he is in line to serve as chairman.
“When we ride, it’s a way to see so much of the beauty of the Bay Area and where we live,” Sensiba said. “And with no phones, no texts, no email—it’s wonderful.”