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.
Logo courtesy Bike to Work Day