OAKLAND, CA — Bicyclists across the country are gearing up for National Bike Month in May. In the Bay Area, events include a Team Bike Challenge and the region’s 14th annual Bike to Work Day on May 15, which will celebrate bicycling as a healthy, green, fun and practical form of everyday transportation.
Team Bike Challenge started May 1 and continues through May. An overwhelming success for the past few years, this event encourages bicycle commuters to recruit their colleagues, friends and neighbors to ride their bicycles to work, school and other destinations throughout May, tracking their trips made by bicycle and competing against other teams to earn the most commute points and win great prizes. Winning teams will be announced on June 2. For further information, visit the Team Bike Challenge page.
Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 15 will feature over 150 Energizer Stations located along local bike-commute routes in all nine Bay Area counties. The stations will provide free beverages, snacks and good cheer to bicyclists. Organizers expect tens of thousands of bicyclists to participate, making this a great day for new or hesitant bike commuters to get started. To be eligible to win raffle prizes, including a brand-new bike and other bike-related prizes, bicyclists can visit the Bike to Work Day site and pledge to ride to work on May 15, or at least one day during the month of May.
2008 Bike Commuters of the Year from each of the nine Bay Area counties have been chosen and will receive an award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in recognition of their exemplary commitment to commuting by bicycle (see list by county of Bike Commuters of the Year at end of story).
Dozens of Bay Area events during the month of May will get people excited about the benefits of bicycling. In the face of global warming, skyrocketing gas prices and the daily stress caused by sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, many Bay Area residents are turning to bicycling as an alternative form of transportation. “The benefits of cycling are numerous. More people bicycling means less road congestion, more physically active adults and children, and a cleaner environment,” said Cole Portocarrero, Bike to Work Day coordinator.
Visit the Bike to Work Day pages for details about local events in all nine Bay Area counties, or call 511 and say “Bicycling.” Get your bike tuned up now, and get ready to hop on and go!
The San Francisco Bay Area’s Bike to Work Day 2008 is sponsored by MTC in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente and support from the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, county bicycle coalitions, county congestion management agencies and hundreds of local volunteers.
Alameda County: Dave Jones. “Three years ago and 45 pounds heavier, my husband decided he wanted to live a fuller and healthier life,” says Dave’s wife, Margi. “He has since adopted the bike mentality and lives the bike lifestyle to its fullest. He is responsible for getting our four-year-old to preschool – he takes her on his bike. When he commutes to the South Bay from Alameda for work, it is never by car – he bikes to BART and then rides from Fremont to Milpitas. He likes the adventure and freedom of getting to work by bicycle. He is never in a car – he pedals to get groceries and bikes to the ferry when he needs to go to San Francisco. He sets a great example for our kids and we bike as a family all around Alameda.”
Contra Costa County: Patricia Campbell. Patricia is a middle-school teacher at Antioch Middle School and a dedicated bicycle commuter. Rain, shine, wind or dark, biking has become her default mode of transit. Every day she parks her bike in her classroom, exposing her 140-plus students to the possibilities of cycling. She continues to encourage and inspire her students and co-workers to give bicycle-commuting a try. Her example has spread to her husband and on to his co-workers, creating an even larger community of cycling commuters.
Marin County: Kirk Knauer. Kirk has pedaled from his home to work in San Francisco every day for more than eight years. Why? “He says it keeps him healthy, wealthy, and wise,” says his son, Benjamin. “My dad gets his exercise, saves lots of money on gas, tolls and parking…and those two things alone seem wise!” Kirk sets a great example for his kids and all who encounter him.
Napa County: Doug Wilson. Doug is an avid cyclist who bike-commutes his kids to school and then to work, where he is a family-medicine doctor at a community health clinic. He says he encourages his patients to live healthy, active lifestyles and often points to his bicycling as an example. Doug cares deeply about his community and attends city council meetings to speak up about local issues that affect the safety and accessibility of bicyclists. He definitely pedals what he preaches!
San Francisco County: Kathleen Hollingsworth. Kathleen pedals everywhere, including to one of her jobs at the top of Twin Peaks. She has endured rain, traffic and a bad accident, but has never given up her commitment to the zero-pollute commute. She is passionate about reducing auto use and turned down a job because it required that she get a car. “She would rather ride her bike than sit with me and have a nice conversation in the car,” says her boyfriend.
San Mateo County: Mark Leeper. Mark is a woodshop teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton. For more than 12 years, “Leepdog,” as he is lovingly known by his students, has pedaled his way to work from his home in San Carlos. Often seen wearing a t-shirt with the message One Less Car on the back, he has inspired countless co-workers and students to choose the zero-pollute commute on Bike to Work Day and every day. As one colleague put it, “Mark absolutely, 100 percent epitomizes all that is good about being socially conscious and turning that consciousness into action…he is the green ‘pied-piper’ of Menlo-Atherton.”
Santa Clara County: Jenn Rodriguez. Jenn is an inspiration to many commuters who witness her making the 11.5-mile trek from Santa Clara to Palo Alto. She has been bike-commuting since 1994 in order to build endurance for weekend rides with the local bike club. Jenn is dedicated to educating others about the benefits of cycling. “In general, bicycling is not just good for your physical health,” she says, “but because it’s so easy to do it’s great for your emotional health as well.” Jenn says her employer, Roche Palo Alto, LLC, is supportive of bicycling, providing bicycle lockers, showers and even emergency rides home if needed. Her employer’s support of bike commuting continues to encourage Jenn and her colleagues to take the zero-pollute commute.
Solano County: David Siruno. David is a Vacaville letter carrier. He consistently uses his bike to get to work, regardless of the weather forecast for the day, and avidly follows the rules of the road. David also uses his bike to contribute to the community. He is involved in many fundraisers for different causes; his favorite is the “Tour de Cure” for the American Diabetes Association. He is a huge fan of Lance Armstrong and is proud to wear his bright yellow post office logo jersey. David’s biking habit contributes to his healthy body and mind. He is truly an inspiration to those around him.
Sonoma County: Tom Robinson. Tom is the epitome of a true bicycle commuter. Each morning, Tom mounts a baby-seat to the front of his bike and rides his 12-month-old son two-and-a-half miles to daycare. After he drops off his son, he rides an additional two miles to work. However, it is not only the daily nine-mile round-trip, rain-or-shine bike commute that makes Tom deserving of the Bike Commuter of the Year award. Tom empowers fellow staff to ride to work as well, and is a great teacher and resource when it comes to bicycle maintenance. In January, he organized a workshop for fellow staff during lunch on how to patch a flat tire. Tom coordinates the Santa Rosa Free Ride Program at his job and, through his encouragement, one-third of the staff earned incentives for using alternative transportation to commute to work last month. Plus, Tom coordinates Bike to Work Day for staff each year and generously offers to tune up his co-workers’ bikes so that they can participate.
Cole Portocarrero, Bike to Work Day Event Coordinator: (415) 246-8078