If you have ever considered the possibility of bicycling to work, Thursday, May 12 is the perfect time to give it a go - it is the 22nd annual Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area!
"For those of us who ride all the time, you get the appreciation of going by an Energizer station and getting a goodie bag and some great giveaways," says Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. "And for people who don't bike regularly, it's a great way to start, to try riding for the first time, because there's going to be lots of other people out there biking that same day. I hear from a lot of people and they say, 'When did you start biking?,' and they say, 'I tried it out one Bike to Work Day.' They try it out and see how easy it is and end up sticking with it."
Biking to work is a great way to get exercise while lessening your environmental footprint since it entails no burning of fossil fuels. While the idea might seem daunting at first, Bike East Bay provides no-cost assistance to get started.
"We provide free bike safety classes all year round, but there are particularly a lot in April and May, leading up to Bike to Work Day - you can find a listing of classes at bikeeastbay.org/education ," says Rivera. "We really encourage people to go to a class - it's fun, it's quick, and you're going to come away with a lot more confidence and skills in terms of riding on the road. We hear from people that they feel much more confident on the road after taking one of our classes."
On the day itself, there's more encouragement provided in the form of Energizer Stations. "There are over 120 Energizer Stations in the East Bay, and one of the biggest Energizer Stations in the East Bay is at the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station," Rivera says. "It's one of our most popular stations - hundreds of people come through. You get a goodie bag with some giveaways from local merchants, there's coffee and healthy snacks, and most of all you're getting a lot of encouragement for riding. People are out there, cheering you on!"
A full map of Energizer Stations is available at bikeeastbay.org/energizer. "Last year, over 20,000 people in the East Bay stopped by one of those Energizer Stations, so it's very popular," she adds. "It's great to give people a boost on their way to work."
Bike to Work Day offers one more opportunity to celebrate two-wheeled commuting in the evening. "At the end of the day, we have a number of what we call Bike Happy Hours, where people meet up after the work day is over. We have eight different events happening in the East Bay, and for the first time there is going to be one happening in Pleasanton - at New Leaf Community Market at 3550 Bernal Ave.," Rivera says. "They'll have food and drink and some prizes, and that will be happening from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. It's another way to give yourself a pat on the back for bike commuting."
For additional information on Bike to Work Day, access www.bikeeastbay.org .
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