San Mateo

San Mateo County

Bay Area’s Team Bike Challenge Shatters Records

Olympic Club cyclists
Mai Le —

OAKLAND, CA, June 4, 2014 – In a competition to bike the most miles possible in order to rack up points for the team, 2014’s Team Bike Challenge shattered records as more than 9,630 San Francisco Bay Area bike commuters pedaled over half a million miles in May. Team Bike Challenge is part of the annual Bike to Work Day Program that happens during National Bike Month in May.

An astounding 1,370 teams took part in this year’s Team and Company Bike Challenges, nearly 350 more teams compared to 2013. Additionally, there was a nearly 280 percent increase in individual participation compared to only 3,454 individuals registered in 2013. For the Company Bike Challenge, 443 companies registered to compete, a 25 percent increase from 2013. In the end, a total of 572,871 miles were biked — enough to circle the Earth 23 times over — while saving 286 tons of CO2 and burning over 35 million calories. Winners represent the wide range of bicycling enthusiasts in the Bay Area.

As in years past, a Santa Clara County team was number one in both the regional and county contests. This time it was United Velo, which beat out other contenders by cycling over 9,200 miles. Second place in the regional competition went to San Francisco’s Partycar.com, with an awe-inspiring 7,490 miles. Santa Clara County’s Sun Blinding–Head Winders took third place by pedaling over 3,600 miles. All three teams garnered 465 points.

In the Company Bike Challenge, Apple, Inc. in Santa Clara County continued their domination by continuing their first-place winning streak — unbroken since 2010 — in the Large Company category. With 660 employees participating, Apple amassed over 51,000 miles and racked up 6,264 points. Sun Light & Power of Alameda County won first place in the Medium Company category, cycling 6,908 miles and earning 1,039 points. In a tight race for the Small Company category win, kW Engineering once again emerged victorious with 3,142 miles, 548 points and an impressive 1,110 total trips.

There has been an increase in interest and participation from both individuals and companies in Team Bike Challenge as the San Francisco Bay Area becomes more and more committed to active transportation and residents become aware of the health benefits of bicycling.

Team Bike Challenge is presented by Typekit and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District with support from Canary Challenge. The San Francisco Bay Area's 2014 Team Bike Challenge is part of the annual Bike to Work Day Program made possible through the generous support of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 511.org and Kaiser Permanente in partnership with the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition. Additional support is provided by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Clear Channel, Clif Bar, Beyond Pix, Adobe, Revolights, REI, the San Francisco Bay Trail Project and Public Bikes.

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 and SF2G Commuter

Brett Lider, by Mai Le

"It's the closest thing to flying that I can experience on a daily basis. It's fast, efficient, and empowering. It keeps me healthy."

With such enthusiasm for biking, it isn't surprising that for the past 14 years, Brett Lider has celebrated Bike to Work Day.

Brett works in UX at Google, so it’s an impressive one-way trip of 40 miles from his home in San Francisco's Mission District to the office in Mountain View. (To be effective at work, he takes the Google shuttle home.) And he’s not a solo cycler: as a co-founder of the SF2G cycling club, he’s encouraged coworkers to bike commute by leading the monthly ride down the peninsula for the past nine years.

Brett started biking to work in 2005. It took some planning, but at least once a month, he and some colleagues would meet at a local coffee shop and bike together, trying out different routes, along the Bayway. Soon, a website was set up and SF2G was born.

Workers at other companies on the peninsula started inquiring about the Googlers’ routes asking if they could ride along. What began with seven bike commuters on their first Bike to Work Day in 2005 ballooned to 500 by 2013. The media has noticed and in 2012, news helicopters followed the cohort on their Bike to Work Day commute as they cycled from SF down the peninsula. SF2G has flourished, in part, because companies in Silicon Valley, such as Google, offer shuttles with bike racks, a flexible work day, access to showers and space for bike storage. This infrastructure supports active transportation, as long as employees are willing to do the hard work of pedaling.

Brett's love of cycling started at an early age with his parents encouraging his need for constant motion.

"From as long as I can remember, I was hungry for the speed that wheels gave me,” Brett says. “I had pushcarts as a toddler, a big wheel, and as soon as possible, a bicycle. So I guess I can thank my parents for overcoming their protective urges and providing me with the technology to move at speeds no child was engineered to reach."

Brett never grew out of his need for speed.

"I was a huge fan of riding my BMX bike on dirt and dirt trails. That got me into mountain biking as a teenager and despite the allure of cars, I mountain biked all through high school and got into road cycling in college. So I guess you could say that I never stopped being into bikes," he says.

If Brett isn't on a bike you can see him urban hiking the hills of SF or on a traditional hike in the Bay Area.

"I like to go on long hikes in the Bay Area, such as a McKnee Ranch to San Francisco coastal hike we did a year or so ago," he says.

Brett's founding of SF2G and his lifetime of cycling has made him a cheerleader of both transportation policy (he's gone to public meetings in support of completing the SF Bay Trail) and of those interested in bike commuting. To hold true to SF2G's policy of "no rider left behind," members of SF2G place (water soluble) arrows along the "best" route from SF to the Google campus in the days leading up to Bike to Work Day. The arrows are invaluable in keeping novice bike commuters on the easiest route down the peninsula and in ensuring that pedal power is the only concern of the day.

Brett promises that bike commuting is not an exclusive endeavor.

"Despite the fact that I'm obviously a bit of dedicated cyclist, SF2G and Bike to Work Day is not for people like me, it's for everyone!" he says.

Team Bike Challenge 2013

Kaiser Permanente cyclists
Mai Le —

In a fierce competition to bike as many commute miles as possible while racking up points that depend on an algorithm of team work and amount of trips taken; Bike to Work Day’s 2013 Team Bike Challenge broke records as 7249 Bay Area commuters rode over a million miles in May.

There were a record number of 1029 teams with 7249 individuals registered as part of 2013’s Team and Company Bike Challenges. This was a large jump from the 4,425 registered in 2012. Additionally, 356 companies participated in Company Bike Challenge, 30% more than 2012’s 249. A total of 1,126,332 miles were biked, a leap over 2012’s 701,710 miles during the same time period. The distance ridden was enough to circle the world 45 times over while saving 563 tons of CO2 and peddling 69,229,154 worth of calories.

Regional winners represent the wide range of bicycling enthusiasts in the Bay Area. Santa Clara County’s Tsunami of Hurt, was number 1 in both the regional and county team bike challenge contests with an impressive 462 points and 3,611.4 miles; second place in the region goes to Santa Clara County’s KTCC 7 with 456 points and an awe-inspiring 6,103.6 miles; San Francisco County’s Partycar.com blew everyone away by bicycling 8,466 miles throughout the month, coming in third place with 445 points. Partycar.com, also had the two highest mileage individuals on their team: Ramesh G rode 2,646.6 miles and Peter Chang, 2,394.0 miles. Taking third place in the individual contest, Daniel Ferriera of overall number 1 team, Tsunami of Hurt, cycled 2,133.3 miles.

In Company Bike Challenge, Apple in Santa Clara continued their domination. Consistently winning first place since 2010, in the large company category, they beat out the other 98 large companies in their category. Employees cycled 43,079 miles and earned 4,905 points. In the medium company category, Sun Light & Power of Alameda County covered 7,132 miles, winning 1,066 points. In the small company category, kW Engineering won with 2,729 miles, 509 points, and their ace in the hole, 1074 total trips.

This year’s interest and participation of both individuals and companies in increasing their bicycle commuting through a month-long challenge competition speaks to the Bay Area’s commitment to active transportation and the health benefits of bicycling.

The San Francisco Bay Area's 2013 Team Bike Challenge is a program of Bike to Work Day and is made possible through the generous support of: 511.org, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Kaiser Permanente. Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Clif Bar, Beyond Pix, Typekit, Balance Bar, Adobe, Revolights, REI, Public Bikes, Joshu Vela, ModCloth, and MonkeyLectric provide additional support for Bike to Work Day.

@ICC Sevathon
Mai Le —

(April 16, 2013) In less than a month, tens of thousands of Bay Area commuters will take to the road and trails as part of San Francisco Bay Area’s 19th Annual Bike to Work Day. On Thursday, May 9th, the largest event in California that encourages bike commuting as a fun, affordable form of transportation that supports better health every day takes place throughout the nine counties. Over the last 19 years, Bike to Work Day has put more people on the road to bike commuting than any other event in the Bay Area.

Presented by 511.org, MTC and Kaiser Permanente, Bike to Work Day is the largest of many events during National Bike Month in May. Events include Team Bike Challenge where teams clock miles biked during May for a chance to win prizes and bragging rights. A Bike Commuter of the Year award is presented in each county for dedicated commuters, these individuals are inspiring bicycling in their community by example. (Nominations close April 22nd.)

Biking to work is a great way to get physical activity in before a workday. In addition to the heart health benefits, a Japanese study in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health showed that men engaged in leisure-time exercise and cycling during commuting to work may be associated with better mental health.

Employers also benefit by encouraging employees to bike to work. Biking to work builds morale, reduces the number of sick days and the demand for car parking. Bike to Work Day will see hundreds of volunteers staff energizer stations throughout the SF Bay Area, offering complimentary refreshments, official reusable canvas bags, bicycle information and encouragement to push on.

Throughout May and on May 9th community events will be held by local bicycle coalitions and traffic congestion agencies throughout San Francisco, Sonoma, Solano, Napa, East Bay, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Silicon Valley and Alameda counties. For a complete list of stations and to register for a chance to win a Public Bikes bike, a Joshu Vela bag with MonkeyLectric lights or a ModCloth gift certificate visit the Bike to Work Day website.