At 6:15am yesterday morning in a blue pre-dawn haze, hundreds of neon-clad cyclists gathered at the 24th Street BART station in the Mission District of San Francisco. Some had coffee in hand staring blankly into space, others were chatting with friends excitedly, and all were sporting canvas tote bags labeled "Bike To Work Day 2012" given out by friendly San Francisco Bicycle Coalition volunteers. This was my third year participating in Bike To Work Day, and I've been hooked ever since that first 45-mile ride from San Francisco (my home) to Los Altos (my job) in 2010. Yes, you may call us crazy, those of us who somehow think that bicycling for 2-3 hours before beginning a work day is a great idea. I thought so too - until I tried it. The ride is organized by SF2G, a group of cyclists loosely affiliated with Google but open to anyone. Their tag line is, "Skip the traffic. Skip the gym. Add joy" and boy is that joy part accurate. Picture it: you're gliding silently along the edge of the San Francisco Bay, the sun rising blood-orange above the East Bay hills and casting a rosy glimmer over glassy water, shorebirds softly calling and swooping around you, the sweet salty smell of marshland, and dew sparkling on the grasses. You've got friends around you, you're getting incredible exercise, and by the time you've reached the office you'll have had this amazing sensory adventure to prime your work day. It's pretty hard to be grumpy on bike-to-work days.
To aid cyclists on Bike To Work Day, cities, counties, and local cycling groups sponsored Energizer Stations along major bike routes, providing juice, bagels, coffee, the complimentary tote bags, and other goodies that varied by location. In Los Altos there were several Energizer Stations: at Main and Foothill in Downtown Los Altos, at Loyola Corners, along the Stevens Creek Trail, and at the Whole Foods on El Camino. This year, Passerelle donated 100 blinking red bicycle lights to the Los Altos Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) as one of the tote bag goodies with which bike-to-workers were rewarded for their commitment to cycling. The lights read, "I (bike) Los Altos" and apparently were a big hit.
For more information on Bike To Work Day, visit youcanbikethere.com so you can participate next year! If you're interested in learning more about how to safely (and scenically!) bicycle up and down the peninsula along the San Francisco Bay, contact Brooke Ray at email@example.com and she'd be glad to give you her route recommendations.