Bike to Work Day 2014 Survey

Trio selfie on GG Bridge Vista Point on May 8, 2014

After each Bike to Work Day, we assess how we can improve bike commuting in May (and beyond). If you have an opportunity, please take this short 10 minute survey and let us know how we can improve Bike to Work Day.

We look forward to hearing from you!

GG Bridge Vista Point on Bike to Work Day 2014
Mai Le —

Oakland, CA — Brisk temperatures throughout the region greeted morning commuters celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout the region, Energizer Stations located near bike lanes, trails and transit stations were crowded with bike commuters — an indication that commuters are increasingly choosing two wheels over four.

“Bike to Work Day makes it easy and fun to try bike commuting,” said Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Chair and Orinda Council Member Amy Rein Worth. “For the past 20 years, this event has put more people on the road to bicycle commuting than any other event in the Bay Area. Bike commuters help improve air quality in our communities and reduce traffic congestion throughout the region.” MTC has funded the regional Bike to Work Day event since 1994.

Region-wide bike counts were 19 percent more than last year’s Bike to Work Day. Things were particularly busy in Contra Costa County, where volunteers counted 56 percent more bikes over the 2013 total.

Eager bike commuters rode to Energizer Stations where coffee flowed and reusable canvas bags were distributed. Volunteers from throughout the region showed up early to pass out snacks and cheer on fellow bike commuters. Community members and elected officials, including Mayors Ed Lee (San Francisco), Jean Quan (Oakland), Margaret Fujioka (Piedmont), Jerry Thorne (Pleasanton), Stephen Cassidy (San Leandro), Tim Sbrianti (Dublin), Gayle McLaughlin (Richmond), John Marchand (Livermore) and many others, led bicycle convoys throughout the region.

MTC Commissioners are also active participants on Bike to Work Day. Early this morning, Chair Worth was at the Orinda Energizer Station cheering on fellow cyclists. Other Commissioners who participated in Bike to Work Day include San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, San Jose Council Member Sam Liccardo, Rohnert Park Council Member Jake Mackenzie, Los Gatos Council Member Joe Pirzynski, Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

As another presenting sponsor of the event, Kaiser Permanente supports Bike to Work Day because of its positive effects on health. “Exercise is a win, win, win. On a regular basis, it will improve your quality of life,” says Dr. Eshwar Kapur, Sports Medicine Specialist at Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco. “It relieves stress, helps you sleep better and decreases your chance of developing a chronic disease. Cycling, like so many people are doing this Bike to Work Day, is a great way to get your exercise, even with a busy schedule.”

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 bicycling mileage — continues throughout May. Points and medals are awarded as bicycling habits are reinforced. The possibility of winning a prize and much-coveted bragging rights keeps participants pedaling. To date, 9,119 individuals on 1,342 teams have registered and logged over 88,000 total miles.

Other Bike Month programs include the Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) awards, winners are selected after community nominations. The 2014 Bike Commuters of the Year include: Rachel Donovan of Alameda County, Ray Pixton of Contra Costa County, Rich Steele of Marin County, Paul Schapiro of Napa County, Bao-Tran Ausman of San Francisco City & County, Lori Burns of San Mateo County, Michele Rowic of Santa Clara County, James Oliver of Solano County and Liz Klaproth of Sonoma County. These BCOYs personify the benefits of active transportation. Read their stories at YouCanBikeThere.com/bcoy2014.

Bike to Work Day 2014 is presented by 511.org, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Kaiser Permanente, additional support is provided by Adobe, BART, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Beyond Pix Studios, the Canary Challenge, Clear Channel, Clif Bar, REI, Revolights and Typekit. This day would not be possible without the cooperation of local bike coalitions and traffic congestion agencies, as well as numerous volunteers.

20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day

This PSA for San Francisco Bay Area’s 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day’s video is produced by award-winning Beyond Pix. San Francisco Bay Area's annual Bike to Work Day involves all nine Bay Area counties and is part of National Bike Month in May. Bike to Work Day couldn’t happen without the generous support of our sponsors. The 20th Anniversary of Bike to Work Day would not be possible without our presenters, 511.org, MTC and Kaiser Permanente. Additional support comes from Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Typekit, BART, Clear Channel Outdoor, Beyond Pix Studios, Adobe, the Canary Challenge, RevolightsREI and Clif Bar. This event is made possible through the cooperation of volunteers, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, congestion management agencies, local bicycle coalitions and the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition.
 

Thanks to Producer: Danielle Cheifetz, Director: Taylor Carlso, Editor: Jenn Rubin at Beyond Pix and model, Carlie Kinnear.

Biking is Constant

Aparna Jain by Natalie Orenstein

It’s been a year of transitions for Aparna Jain. She left her job at Zynga to work at the Fox Network and she moved with her husband from Mountain View to the Bay Meadows housing development in San Mateo.

The constant throughout all the change? Aparna’s bike.

The software engineer began biking at the age of six in rural India, where she lived until she came to California to get a Master’s in Computer Science at the University of Southern California. There, her bike gave her access to the massive campus and to a totally new environment. Now she brings it with her on Caltrain each morning and bikes the rest of the way to work from the station in San Francisco, significantly cutting her commute time by avoiding walking.

And once or twice a week, Aparna wakes up early and pedals with a few friends all 24 miles between San Mateo and the city.

Although she’s a seasoned cycler, getting out of bed and biking for two hours before work didn’t come entirely naturally for Aparna. “Since I moved here I had been thinking of riding, and every day I’d say, ‘Next time, next time,’” Aparna remembers. “One day we just said, ‘OK, you better be there at 7 a.m.!’ It’s a hard commitment but if you have company, that helps a lot.”

As soon as she got into the new routine, Aparna began “craving” the morning rides. “It’s more of a stress-buster than a commute,” she says.

And probably the prettiest stress-buster around.

“One of the really interesting routes we took was the Bay Trail,” Aparna says. “I took the train to Milbrae and from there went to the SFO area. There’s a nice stretch of the Bay Trail which is about 45 minutes to an hour, and it was so beautiful. You bike along the bay and you see planes flying in and out, and the ocean and people fishing and running. There’s no traffic so it’s just a peaceful route.” And she still got to the office in time to shower and eat breakfast before settling into work.

Aparna figures biking is good for herself and her surroundings. “I’m not burning any fuel – just the extra calories!” she says.

She doesn’t limit her adventures to the work week. Recently, she and her husband took their bikes to Monterey’s 17-Mile Drive. “It was just a different world on our bikes,” Aparna said. “We’ve been there in cars, and you can stop and get out, but it’s not the same at all. A bike doesn’t have windows – you’re always actually experiencing the moment.” Plenty of her best commutes and bike trips wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t spotted a hidden trailhead or new route while on her bike.

Aparna’s advice to new bikers is to find people to ride with.

“It’s a lot more fun. You can discuss your ride and learn from them,” she says. “I have friends who do longer rides so I’ve taken inspiration from them and become a stronger, better biker. Especially when we do something like Twin Peaks. Those are nasty climbs, but it’s so fulfilling to reach the top of the mountain. And you’re 40 miles an hour coming down.”

Aparna appreciates that her housing complex encourages residents to make even simple trips to the grocery store by bike. And she cites resources like REI’s free tune-up classes as crucial. Support is out there, she says.

If you’re in San Mateo or San Francisco on Bike to Work Day, look out for Aparna and her cohort.

“I really like the spirit of Bike to Work Day,” she says. “I’m making sure I have my morning clear!”

Bike to Work Day Volunteer

Jean Kao, by Bonnie Walton

Jean Kao is a longtime San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member and volunteer. She volunteers at many of the SF Bike Coalition’s fundraising events, but there's one event in particular she is excited to be a part of year after year. Bike to Work Day is one of Jean's favorite events, where she has volunteered for the past six years.

Jean started volunteering because she had such a positive experience bike commuting, seven years ago on Bike to Work Day. “My first Bike to Work Day in 2007 was so much fun - bagels and coffee and happy volunteers - that next year I decided I wanted to return the favor and help cheer on those cyclists myself.”

Wanting to share cheer and encouragement with cyclists is what has kept Jean motivated to volunteer and she celebrates this year, her sixth, volunteering at an evening Energizer Station on May 8th.

Beyond the positive experience she has had as a bike commuter, the camaraderie and joy she feels and spreads while manning an Energizer Station during Bike to Work Day keeps Jean coming back. “Everyone is excited to talk to passing cyclists. It's also a lot of fun to step aside and watch the commute from the sidelines. As someone who's usually in the scrum, you don't really get to see the big picture. It's really amazing to see how many cyclists are commuting to work now, and the variety of bikes and styles is incredible. Also, the cyclists themselves are so happy to get snacks and goodies. It's nice to bring a smile to someone's face.”

When Jean isn’t donating volunteer hours to the SF Bicycle Coalition, she is organizing bike tours and camping trips as one of the principal organizers of the NorCal Bicycle Touring and Camping Meetup. “We’re just a group of people who love touring by bike and organize trips to explore the local area - or even further.”

If you’re thinking of possibly volunteering on Bike to Work Day, Jean would like to share this advice: “It's fun! It's easy! Think of it more like a social where you can hang out with other cyclists with a tiny bit of "work." One piece of real advice is dress in layers. I usually work the evening shift and it gets cold as the sun goes down.”

Ridden on Bike to Work Day before? Felt the love from the Energizer Stations? Want to help spread that love? Consider volunteering on May 8th! It takes hundreds of volunteers to make Bike to Work Day a success.

Sign up to volunteer for Bike to Work Day with your local bicycle advocacy organization:

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