Hallie Baron —

OAKLAND, Calif., … The forecast of rain could not keep tens of thousands of bike commuters across the Bay Area from participating in Bike to Work Day’s 21st anniversary celebration. Warmed by the excitement of their commutes — many for the first time — and cheered on by thousands of volunteers at over 400 Energizer Stations throughout the region, participants turned a normal Thursday commute into an occasion to be remembered.

Downtown Oakland, courtesy of Noah Berger

Downtown Oakland, photo courtesy of Noah Berger

“The Bay Area is a national leader in ‘green’ commuting,” said Dave Cortese, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and president of the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “In the past several years, MTC has elevated bicycling and other ‘green’ commute options to the top of our agenda. The Commission’s most recently adopted regional transportation plan, called Plan Bay Area, will invest billions of dollars to increase the safety and ease of walking and bicycling for Bay Area residents.” MTC has funded the regional Bike to Work Day event since 1994.

Energizer Stations located near bike lanes, trails, transit stations and employment centers were crowded with bike commuters sipping coffee, fueling up on Clif bars and other goodies, and collecting their reusable, commemorative 2015 Bike to Work Day bags.

Morning counts tallied from all nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) showed a slight decrease in the number of riders who stopped at an Energizer Station for goodies and encouragement compared to the 2014 Bike to Work Day numbers. And while the threat of rain kept some riders away, adding in those commuters who did not stop at an Energizer Station totals out the 2015 rider count to well over 100,000 participants.

Not to be outdone by the commuters themselves, local politicians also came out on two wheels or helpedat various Energizer Stations. Community members and elected officials, Benecia Mayor /STA Board Chair Elizabeth Patterson; Fairfield Mayor Harry Price; Suisin City Mayor Pete Sanchez; Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine; Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor; Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates; Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley; Oakland Commissioners Dan Kalb, Abel Guillen, Lynette McElhaney, Noel Gallo, Annie Washington and Rebecca Kaplan;  Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears; San Francisco Supervisors Eric Mar, Mark Farrell, Julie Christensen, Katy Tang, Jane Kim, and Malia Cohen; San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee; Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee;  Pacifica Councilmember Sue Digre; and many others.  And a challenge between first-term Mayors Libby Schaaf (Oakland) and Sam Liccardo (San Jose) to see who could get more riders out brought out city workers and residents alike. Both are MTC commissioners. There was even a special guest – Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen, Denmark!

Mayor Ed Lee, courtesy of Kingmond Young

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, photo courtesy of Kingmond Young

Several other MTC commissioners also participated in Bike to Work Day. Greeting commuters at Energizer Stations or pedaling as part of rider convoys, the commissioners showed their commitment to making bike commuting a priority across the Bay Area. In addition to Mayors Schaaf and Liccardo, participating MTC commissioners included Campbell Vice Mayor Jason Baker, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates – who brought a special guest, Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen, Denmark, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi, Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering and Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce.

Mayor Libby Schaaf, courtesy of Noah Berger

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, photo courtesy of Noah Berger

“Incorporating exercise into our daily routine is so important for our health and well-being,” said Dr. Eshwar Kapur, Sports Medicine Specialist at Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco. “It’s a key tool in stress reduction and sleep maintenance, and exercise can prevent many chronic illnesses. Cycling, as thousands of people throughout the Bay Area did today on Bike to Work Day, is a great way to incorporate low-impact, heart-healthy exercise into our busy daily schedules.”

While the Bay Area’s celebration of Bike to Work will mostly be over as this week ends, Team Bike Challenge— a friendly competition that encourages participants to increase their personal bicycling mileage — continues throughout May. The possibility of winning prizes and much-coveted bragging rights keep participants pedaling. To date, over 12,000 individuals and more than 500 companies have registered to ride on 1,640 teams. Together, they’ve logged almost 191,600 miles, saved over 191,000 pounds of CO2 and burned more than 8.2 million calories!

Another important Bike Month program, celebrated throughout the Bay Area, is the Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY)awards. Each of the region’s nine counties nominates bike commuters who consistently ride their bike for transportation and inspire others to do the same. The winners are selected by the county’s Bike to Work Day representative. The 2015 Bike Commuters of the Year are:

•                    Alameda County — Gail Lillian

•                    Contra Costa County — Eric Odell

•                    Marin County — Juliette Busiek

•                    Napa County — Jim Christman

•                    San Francisco City & County — Rheema Colloway

•                    San Mateo County — Nathan Losch

•                    Santa Clara County — Katie Heaney

•                    Solano County — Mac Halsted

•                    Sonoma County — Eric Eisenhart

Congratulations to these amazing, dedicated bicycle commuters. Read their stories at http://www.youcanbikethere.com/2015-bike-commuter-year-winners.

Golden Gate Bridge Bike to Work Day 2015 Downtown Berkeley, courtesy of Rebecca Long

                  Golden Gate Energizer Station             Downtown Berkeley, photo courtesy of Rebecca Long                         

In addition to MTC (the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area), 511 (the region’s traveler information system) and Kaiser Permanente, Bike to Work Day 2015 receives regional support from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district, KPIX5, Clear Channel Outdoor, Canary Foundation Challenge, Bay Area Bike Share, REI and Clif Bar, as well as from many sponsors at the local level. Prizes for Bike Commuter of the Year and Bike to Work Day are donated by Chipotle, Mike’s Bikes, PUBLIC Bikes and Monkeylectric. The event is made possible through the cooperation of thousands of volunteers, MTC, county congestion management agencies, local jurisdictions, local bicycling coalitions and the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition.

Interviews, photos and video available.

Rain or shine, Bike to Work Day is on!

Hallie Baron —

There is always a lot to celebrate on Bike to Work Day. This year, we’ll add rain to the list of things to celebrate since California is in a drought.

Here are a few tips to follow: 

  • Take it slow and steady. Streets, train tracks and white paint can get slippery when it rains. AND, your brakes will grab more slowly. 
  • Dress for the weather. Wear a rain jacket for sure and, if you have them, a pair of rain pants. You’ll stay much drier that way. 
  • If you don’t have rain pants, wear old pants you don’t mind getting wet and then bring a dry pair to change into at the office. 
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes – much easier to push off from a wet pavement than those with leather soles.

As Golden State Warrior Shaun Livingston says, one of the reasons biking to work is so great is because it feels good to be outdoors and in the elements. So rain or shine, put on your gear, saddle up and come pedal with us! We’ll be out in force to make it a great Bike to Work Day!

The Challenge is on!

Hallie Baron —

Oakland and San Jose mayors go pedal to pedal to get riders out on Bike to Work Day!

Bike to Work Day changed my life!

Hallie Baron —

For Angie Perez, biking was just an occasional leisure-time activity. But that all changed on Bike to Work Day (BTWD) 2011.

Angie Perez

Angie worked at an insurance company right next door to the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition (SBC). In 2011, she saw the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition bag stuffing party underway in preparation for Bike to Work Day. On the spot, she decided to ride her bike to work on BTWD that year – something that had never before occurred to her to do. And on BTWD 2011, she did just that.

The ride to work on her heavy hybrid was easy – all downhill. But the ride uphill on the way home was a different story and she had to walk. But she wasn’t deterred. In fact, Angie got inspired and decided to ride her bike to work as often as possible until she could pedal all the way up the hill.

And that hill did more than just give her a physical challenge. Not only did she ultimately accomplish that goal, but got hooked on cycling in the process. Her commitment inspired her husband to also get on his bicycle – and they’ve not looked back since. They traded in their hybrids for road bikes and started to ride regularly, and soon, the hill climb to their house was not a problem.

Angie Perez

“Bicycling has changed my life,” said Angie. “And now I want to use bikes and bicycling to help others change their lives as well.”

Today, Angie bikes 16 miles round trip to work whenever she can – but now it’s to her office in the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition. She joined the staff in August 2013 when she came on board as the bilingual school coordinator. In late 2014, she became the Coalition’s community outreach coordinator.  

 

 

A few other highlights of how Angie’s passion of cycling has impacted her life and the life of her community:

  • On Mother’s Day 2014, Angie organized a 90-mile ride for family and friends

  • She and her husband rode The Tour of the California Alps (aka The Death Ride); Angie completed two passes, her husband did all five. For 2015, they’re aiming to complete all five passes together.

  • As an outgrowth of the Coalition’s “walk and roll” program for kids, she’s establishing class to teach mothers to ride

  • She’s trying to use bicycle riding to help the community heal from the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez

Bike to Work Day is Coming!

Hallie Baron —
  • 1day – May 14, 2015
  • 9 counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara
  • 400 Energizer Stations located across the Bay Area along the most popular commute routes to give riders the fuel and encouragement to ride
  • Over 2,000 volunteers committed to helping riders get to work and have a great time doing so 
  • Almost 75,000 cyclists stopping at an energizer station and thousands more participating in the event

Where will you be on May 14? Come ride to work with us!

Bike to Work Day (BTWD) makes it easy and fun to try bike commuting. In fact, BTWD has put more people on the road to bicycle commuting than any other event in the Bay Area. And if you’re a seasoned commuter, it’s a great way to celebrate your commitment to biking.

That’s not all. Bike commuting makes a big impact on the environment. It helps improve air quality across Bay Area communities and reduces automobile traffic congestion.

3 Fun Ways to get Involved

1. Register to be entered into a drawing for two great prizes. First prize is your choice of a bicycle from Public bikes – choose from their popular “C7” (left) or “V7” models.

C:\Users\Hallie\Documents\Clients\Active Clients\BABC\BTWD 2015\Implementation\Public C7.jpgC:\Users\Hallie\Documents\Clients\Active Clients\BABC\BTWD 2015\Implementation\Public V7.jpg

Second prize is a set of Monkey lights from Monkeylectric!

2. Be part of the Team Bike Challenge! In 2014, almost 1,400 teams – made up of more than 9,600 riders – participated in the Challenge. Together, they rode almost 573,000 miles in one month! If you don’t already have a team, putting one together is easy. Just get 4 coworkers, friends or family members together (five riders total) and sign up. Then get ready to pedal during May, National Bike Month. Winners will be announced in June. Interested in a little friendly competition? Register for Team Bike Challenge here.

3. Recognize someone who inspires you to ride. There’s still time to nominate your favorite bike commuter as the Bike Commuter of the Year! Nominate your commuter today!

Bike to Work Day 2015 is presented by 511.org, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Kaiser Permanente. Additional support is provided by KPIX TV 5, BART, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Canary Foundation Challenge, San Francisco Bike Share, Clear Channel and Clifbar, with prize donations from REI, Mike’s Bikes, Public Bikes, Monkeylectric and Chipotle. This day is made possible through the time and commitment of local bike coalitions and traffic congestion agencies, as well as thousands of volunteers.