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Sunny Skies Spur Thousands to Celebrate Bike to Work Day

Video by Mark Jones: 2012 Bike to Work Day

San Francisco Supervisor and MTC Commissioner Scott Wiener (center, in jacket and tie) celebrates with fellow Bike to Work Day commuters at the intersection of 17th, Castro and Market Streets. (Photo: Noah Berger)

San Francisco Supervisor and MTC Commissioner David Campos leads the way as a Bike to Work Day peloton makes its way to City Hall. (Photo: Noah Berger)

Berkeley Mayor and MTC Commissioner Tom Bates takes to the streets of his city on Bike to Work Day, and thanks to some flashy fingerless gloves, keeps a steady hand at the tiller. (Photo: Karl Nielsen)

MTC Vice Chair and Orinda City Councilmember Amy Rein Worth (left), volunteered for Bike to Work Day duty at an Energizer Station in Orinda, where she shares a laugh with a two-wheeled commuter. (Photo: Karin Betts)

Flanked by Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti (left) and MTC Commissioner and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty (right), Chuck Tyler, Dublin Chamber of Commerce board president and owner of Dublin Cyclery, steps up to welcome bicyclists to the Energizer Station at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. (Photo: Georgia Lambert)

The sun is just rising above the Bay Bridge in the distance as these cyclists make an early-morning stop at an Energizer Station in San Francisco — one of more than 350 around the Bay Area for Bike to Work Day 2012. (Photo: Noah Berger)

Suit? Check. Tie? Check. Helmet? Check. Bike? Check. "OK, let's ride!" says MTC Commissioner and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, as he leads a contingent of cyclists to the Bike to Work Day celebration at San Francisco City Hall. (Photo: Noah Berger)

May 10, 2012
Assessing apparent record-breaking numbers of Bike to Work Day participants at more than 350 Energizer Stations around the Bay Area this morning, veterans of the annual celebration agreed that ideal weather conditions played a key role in the robust turnout of two-wheel commuters.

“The weather is perfect!” declared Sean Co, a daily bike commuter and MTC staff member who rode with a group including Berkeley Mayor and MTC Commissioner Tom Bates from the North Berkeley BART station to downtown Berkeley before continuing on to Oakland. “The Energizer Station at North Berkeley and the Bike Station downtown were both packed,” noted Co.

An Energizer Station set up on the Google campus in Mountain View had accommodated more than 1,500 bike-riding employees by midday Thursday. Smaller but no less enthusiastic crowds were reported at other stations, including one hosted for the second consecutive year by the City of San Ramon and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on the Iron Horse Trail near the San Ramon/Danville city line. By 7:15 a.m., some 60 cyclists had stopped by for refreshments and to fill their Bike to Work Day messenger bags with goodies, including reflectors provided by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

For the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition (BABC), which orchestrates Bike to Work Day events under contract with MTC, months of preparation culminated today before dawn at the Golden Gate Bridge vista point, where executive director Diana Rohini LaVigne briefed the media on the day’s activities and goals. On the scene with her was veteran TV reporter Mark Jones, who soon will be filing a story for the MTC Web site.

A popular Energizer Station in the East Bay was at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, where by 7:45 a.m. more than 200 cyclists had stopped to fuel up on complimentary coffee, pastries and fruit; to get a quick tune-up at a bike repair area that had been established for the day; or to pick up a Bike to Work Day T-shirt, a messenger bag or one of the hundreds of water bottles donated by Kaiser Permanente, a major Bike to Work Day sponsor. Volunteers expected the Energizer Station would accommodate 350 to 400 guests before they closed up shop at 9 a.m.

Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti had his bike fixed on the spot after getting a flat tire on the ride into the station. “You ride in and realize how easy it is. The morning air was great; it really is a good way to commute with the added benefits of fitness, the environment and cost savings.”

Another cyclist who stopped at the Dublin/Pleasanton Energizer Station was Alameda County Supervisor and MTC Commissioner Scott Haggerty, who enjoyed a 15-minute ride from his home to the BART station on his way to work in Oakland.

“As I was riding,” commented Haggerty, “I was thinking how more people should ride their bikes to work. You learn about the hazards and understand what cyclists are up against. We need to help people get to work safely. It’s a growing trend and we have to make sure it’s safe as we continue to have more people riding to work and school.”

Other MTC Commissioners who participated in Bike to Work Day activities included Vice Chair Amy Rein Worth, who volunteered at an Energizer Station in Orinda, where she serves as a member of the City Council, and San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos, each of whom rode from their homes to a Bike to Work Day press event on the City Hall steps. The BABC reports that during the peak of the morning commute, bicycles accounted for more than 73 percent of all eastbound traffic at the nearby corner of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue.

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBCC) counted more than 17,000 riders at 143 Energizer Stations, a 22 percent increase over last year’s Bike to Work Day turnout. The EBCC for the first time reported more bikes than cars passing its Energizer Station at Bancroft and Telegraph Avenues adjacent to Sproul Plaza on the University of California campus in Berkeley.  On previous Bike to Work Days, bikes had never accounted for more than 25 percent of traffic. The EBBC also noted a 30 percent increase in bicycle traffic at Broadway and 27th Street north of downtown Oakland.

Bike to Work Day is presented by MTC, MTC’s 511 project and Kaiser Permanente, with additional support from some two dozen public and private sector sponsors.
— John Goodwin, with field reports from Peter Beeler, Karin Betts, Sean Co, Susan Heinrich, Mark Jones and Georgia Lambert

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