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May 13, 2009 > Bike to Work Day good for riders, planet

Bike to Work Day good for riders, planet

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Robert Raburn

Want to burn calories, improve your mood, delay aging and keep your heart healthy at no cost?

On Thursday, May 14, thousands of bicyclists will grab the opportunity to do just that during Bike to Work Day. Everyone is invited to join the biggest celebration of biking in the Bay Area.

East Bay Bicycle Coalition founded Bike to Work Day 15 years ago, and it soon spread throughout the Bay Area. This community event promotes bicycling for a cleaner environment and less traffic congestion. "Bicyclists will be treated to free canvas bags filled with goodies at energizer stations throughout the Bay Area," said Robert Raburn, the coalition's executive director. Over 200 stations, located along bike commute routes in all nine Bay Area counties, will provide food, free beverages, snacks and good cheer to encourage cyclists on Bike to Work Day. Every year, bicyclists who stop by these booths receive a free reusable Bike to Work Day bag full of tips on safety and useful bicycling information. "Many employers have Team Challenge riders who participate throughout Bike Month in May," said Raburn.

"Team Bike Challenge Registration is ongoing and open till May 31," informed Dave Campbell, Bike to Work Day coordinator. Each year more new and seasoned bike commuters join the Team Bike Challenge. This contest encourages bicycle commuters to recruit their colleagues, friends, neighbors, and local 'Big Wheel' figures to join their team. The challenge is for these teams to pedal their way to work, school and errands as many days as possible in May. Teams sign up at the Bike to Work Day website, where they track their bike trips as they compete against other teams.

"Join a team or gather your friends, colleagues or neighbors to form a team, find a captain and set up your team on the website," said Campbell. Volunteers are needed to help staff energizer stations and sign up new bicycle coalition members. Those interested should contact safety@ebbc.org or (510) 701-5971.

At the end of the month, the team with the most trips wins a grand prize. According to Raburn, "The Challenge for month of May has novice commuters gaining five points for each time they ride. Additional points are for leaders, notable "big wheels" - like the principal of a school who can influence others to join in - and a couple of points are awarded to those travelling daily on a bike."

Registration is open for Spring bicycle safety classes. Sign up at www.ebbc.org/safety. "We offer our regular Day 1 and Day 2 safety classes, and later in the Spring EBBC will offer our first bicycle safety class taught in Spanish," said Raburn.

Nine energizer stations in Hayward, Fremont and Union City will participate. REI Fremont bicycle shop will have a booth set up at Fremont BART to provide free inspections and minor repairs if necessary. Visit http://btwd.bayareabikes.org/energizer for more information on Tri-City activities.

"For the past 10 years, the City of Milpitas has participated in Bike to Work Day," said Janice Spuller, assistant transportation planner for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. "We are hosting energizer stations at City Hall and at the corner of Montague Expressway and Main Street. At these stations, we greet bicyclists from 6:30-8:30 a.m., thanking them for biking to work with refreshments and giveaways."

If you are interested in volunteering, sign up at www.svbcbikes.org and fill out the form under the "Bike to Work Day."

A proper fitting bicycle helmet, gloves and sunglasses (eye protection) are recommended.


Bike to Work Day
Thursday, May 14

Energizer Stations:

Union City:
BART Station, 7-9 a.m.

Fremont:
* Driscoll and Paseo Padre Parkway, 7-9 a.m.
* Fremont BART Station, 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.
* Mission Court and Warm Springs Blvd., 7-9 a.m.

Hayward
* Hayward BART Station, 7:30-9 a.m.
* Harder Elementary School, 495 Wyeth Road, 7:45-9 a.m.
* Fairview Elementary School, 23515 Maud Ave., 8:15-9:15 a.m.
* Ruus Elementary School, 28027 Dickens Ave., 7:45-9 a.m.
* Treeview Elementary School, 30565 Treeview St., 7:45-9 a.m.

Milpitas
* Milpitas City Hall, 455 E. Calaveras Blvd., 6:30-8:30 a.m.
* Montague and Main/Old Oakland Rd., 6:30-8:30 a.m.
* Great Mall Transit Center, 5:30-8:30 a.m.


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