Hallie Baron —

San Jose and Oakland City Employees Heed Mayors’ Call to Ride During National Bike Month in May

However you measure Team Bike Challenge’s impact — whether it’s the number of people who participated, the amount of green miles cycled, the pounds of carbon dioxide removed from the air or the aggregate calories burned — the friendly competition that attracts commuters from across the nine-county Bay Area logged some impressive numbers in 2015. A total of 11,724 Bay Area residents were inspired to take part in the month-long cycling competition that pays big dividends for the environment and their own good health, a 22 percent increase over the 9,630 who participated in TBC in 2014 and reportedly an all-time high for the program. While many were hardcore cyclists, some were novices who were trying bicycle commuting for the first time.

The number of riders who committed to riding their bikes to and from work, as well as for errands, shopping and the like, throughout the month of May tells only part of the story. By the close of competition on May 31, over 1,600 teams (compared to 1,370 in 2014), each composed of up to five riders and representing 535 local companies, logged an incredible 481,734 miles — saving over 400,000 pounds of CO2 and burning close to 20 million calories.

Adding a new twist to the competition, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf challenged San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to a Bike-Off, to see which of the two cities’ employees could log the most miles during the month of May. Both mayors sit on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a presenting sponsor of the region’s annual Bike to Work program that includes Team Bike Challenge.

“Bike commuting is an inexpensive and healthy commute option that supports our goals of reducing congestion and air pollution in our region,” said Mayor Schaaf. “As a new mayor and new member of the MTC, this friendly challenge with Mayor Liccardo was a fun way to promote Bike to Work Month and show people the benefits of the no-pollute commute. I’m thrilled to celebrate the hardworking Oakland and San Jose employees who together biked over 10,000 miles over the course of the month, and I want to especially acknowledge the employees at our Oakland libraries who did more than their share to make sure Oakland came out on top in this year’s Mayors’ Challenge.”

City employees in Oakland and San Jose lived up to the challenge by racking up impressive numbers — Oakland with 7,110 miles biked and San Jose with 2,622 miles. While Oakland won the bragging rights for this year, San Jose has pledged to come back even stronger in 2016. “Everyone who participates in Team Bike Challenge is a winner,” said Mayor Liccardo. “The Bay Area benefits from the savings of harmful emissions and participants gain the health benefits of increased physical activity.”

Team Bike Challenge Winners

When all the tallying was done, San Francisco’s partycar.com team (2014’s second place winner) won the regionwide team competition with an incredible 9,274 miles biked and 398,761 calories burned. The individual winner in the Team Bike Challenge competition was the remarkable Peter Chang, also from partycar.com, who rode 3,114 miles and burned a whopping 133,898 calories. Second place in the regional team competition went to the Resolvers from Santa Clara County, with 6,425 miles and 276,266 calories burned. Third place went to Sun Blinding, also of Santa Clara County (also 2014’s third place winner), with 3,659 miles biked and 157,255 calories expended.

Partycar.com also dominated the individuals’ competition, with team captain Peter Colijn coming in second place (2,132 miles and 91,667 calories) and team member Cordelia Link taking third (1,626 miles and 69,897 calories). 

Company Bike Challenge Winners

In addition to the individuals and team competitions, the Company Bike Challenge also plays a key role in getting employees motivated and inspired to commute by bike. Corporate participation is a huge part of what makes Team Bike Challenge and Bike to Work Day a success, and the Company Bike Challenge results show what a difference that can make.

For the fifth year in a row, the competition in the large company category (over 300 employees) was won by Apple, Inc. with 824 employees participating. Apple employees tallied an impressive 40,135 miles biked during the month of May, earning them the top spot in the competition. Caltrans District 4 came in second place followed by Tesla Motors.

And big does not always mean better, for there were fantastic showings in the medium-company (50-300 employees) and small-company (1-50 employees) competitions as well. Marmot Mountain LLC won the medium size race with 5,894 miles biked, ahead of second-place winner Sun Light and Power and third-place finisher LitePoint. The small company competition was won by kW Engineering, logging 3,680 miles, followed by Alexa Internet in second and IBM Watson, Redwood City in third.

Team Bike Challenge is presented by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District with support from the Canary Challenge as part of the annual regional Bike to Work Day program sponsored by MTC and Kaiser Permanente.

In addition to MTC (the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area), 511 (the region’s traveler information system) and Kaiser Permanente, Bike to Work Day 2015 received regional support from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, KPIX5, Clear Channel Outdoor, Bay Area Bike Share and Clif Bar, as well as from many sponsors at the local level. Prizes are donated by REI, Chipotle, Mike’s Bikes, Public Bikes and Monkeylectric. The event is made possible through the cooperation of thousands of volunteers, county congestion management agencies, local jurisdictions, local bicycling coalitions and the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition

Hallie Baron —

OAKLAND, Calif., … The forecast of rain could not keep tens of thousands of bike commuters across the Bay Area from participating in Bike to Work Day’s 21st anniversary celebration. Warmed by the excitement of their commutes — many for the first time — and cheered on by thousands of volunteers at over 400 Energizer Stations throughout the region, participants turned a normal Thursday commute into an occasion to be remembered.

Downtown Oakland, courtesy of Noah Berger

Downtown Oakland, photo courtesy of Noah Berger

“The Bay Area is a national leader in ‘green’ commuting,” said Dave Cortese, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and president of the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “In the past several years, MTC has elevated bicycling and other ‘green’ commute options to the top of our agenda. The Commission’s most recently adopted regional transportation plan, called Plan Bay Area, will invest billions of dollars to increase the safety and ease of walking and bicycling for Bay Area residents.” MTC has funded the regional Bike to Work Day event since 1994.

Energizer Stations located near bike lanes, trails, transit stations and employment centers were crowded with bike commuters sipping coffee, fueling up on Clif bars and other goodies, and collecting their reusable, commemorative 2015 Bike to Work Day bags.

Morning counts tallied from all nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) showed a slight decrease in the number of riders who stopped at an Energizer Station for goodies and encouragement compared to the 2014 Bike to Work Day numbers. And while the threat of rain kept some riders away, adding in those commuters who did not stop at an Energizer Station totals out the 2015 rider count to well over 100,000 participants.

Not to be outdone by the commuters themselves, local politicians also came out on two wheels or helpedat various Energizer Stations. Community members and elected officials, Benecia Mayor /STA Board Chair Elizabeth Patterson; Fairfield Mayor Harry Price; Suisin City Mayor Pete Sanchez; Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine; Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor; Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates; Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley; Oakland Commissioners Dan Kalb, Abel Guillen, Lynette McElhaney, Noel Gallo, Annie Washington and Rebecca Kaplan;  Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears; San Francisco Supervisors Eric Mar, Mark Farrell, Julie Christensen, Katy Tang, Jane Kim, and Malia Cohen; San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee; Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee;  Pacifica Councilmember Sue Digre; and many others.  And a challenge between first-term Mayors Libby Schaaf (Oakland) and Sam Liccardo (San Jose) to see who could get more riders out brought out city workers and residents alike. Both are MTC commissioners. There was even a special guest – Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen, Denmark!

Mayor Ed Lee, courtesy of Kingmond Young

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, photo courtesy of Kingmond Young

Several other MTC commissioners also participated in Bike to Work Day. Greeting commuters at Energizer Stations or pedaling as part of rider convoys, the commissioners showed their commitment to making bike commuting a priority across the Bay Area. In addition to Mayors Schaaf and Liccardo, participating MTC commissioners included Campbell Vice Mayor Jason Baker, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates – who brought a special guest, Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen, Denmark, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi, Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering and Napa County Supervisor Mark Luce.

Mayor Libby Schaaf, courtesy of Noah Berger

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, photo courtesy of Noah Berger

“Incorporating exercise into our daily routine is so important for our health and well-being,” said Dr. Eshwar Kapur, Sports Medicine Specialist at Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco. “It’s a key tool in stress reduction and sleep maintenance, and exercise can prevent many chronic illnesses. Cycling, as thousands of people throughout the Bay Area did today on Bike to Work Day, is a great way to incorporate low-impact, heart-healthy exercise into our busy daily schedules.”

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 personal bicycling mileage — continues throughout May. The possibility of winning prizes and much-coveted bragging rights keep participants pedaling. To date, over 12,000 individuals and more than 500 companies have registered to ride on 1,640 teams. Together, they’ve logged almost 191,600 miles, saved over 191,000 pounds of CO2 and burned more than 8.2 million calories!

Another important Bike Month program, celebrated throughout the Bay Area, is the Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY)awards. Each of the region’s nine counties nominates bike commuters who consistently ride their bike for transportation and inspire others to do the same. The winners are selected by the county’s Bike to Work Day representative. The 2015 Bike Commuters of the Year are:

•                    Alameda County — Gail Lillian

•                    Contra Costa County — Eric Odell

•                    Marin County — Juliette Busiek

•                    Napa County — Jim Christman

•                    San Francisco City & County — Rheema Colloway

•                    San Mateo County — Nathan Losch

•                    Santa Clara County — Katie Heaney

•                    Solano County — Mac Halsted

•                    Sonoma County — Eric Eisenhart

Congratulations to these amazing, dedicated bicycle commuters. Read their stories at http://www.youcanbikethere.com/2015-bike-commuter-year-winners.

Golden Gate Bridge Bike to Work Day 2015 Downtown Berkeley, courtesy of Rebecca Long

                  Golden Gate Energizer Station             Downtown Berkeley, photo courtesy of Rebecca Long                         

In addition to MTC (the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area), 511 (the region’s traveler information system) and Kaiser Permanente, Bike to Work Day 2015 receives regional support from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district, KPIX5, Clear Channel Outdoor, Canary Foundation Challenge, Bay Area Bike Share, REI and Clif Bar, as well as from many sponsors at the local level. Prizes for Bike Commuter of the Year and Bike to Work Day are donated by Chipotle, Mike’s Bikes, PUBLIC Bikes and Monkeylectric. The event is made possible through the cooperation of thousands of volunteers, MTC, county congestion management agencies, local jurisdictions, local bicycling coalitions and the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition.

Interviews, photos and video available.

Rain or shine, Bike to Work Day is on!

Hallie Baron —

There is always a lot to celebrate on Bike to Work Day. This year, we’ll add rain to the list of things to celebrate since California is in a drought.

Here are a few tips to follow: 

  • Take it slow and steady. Streets, train tracks and white paint can get slippery when it rains. AND, your brakes will grab more slowly. 
  • Dress for the weather. Wear a rain jacket for sure and, if you have them, a pair of rain pants. You’ll stay much drier that way. 
  • If you don’t have rain pants, wear old pants you don’t mind getting wet and then bring a dry pair to change into at the office. 
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes – much easier to push off from a wet pavement than those with leather soles.

As Golden State Warrior Shaun Livingston says, one of the reasons biking to work is so great is because it feels good to be outdoors and in the elements. So rain or shine, put on your gear, saddle up and come pedal with us! We’ll be out in force to make it a great Bike to Work Day!

The Challenge is on!

Hallie Baron —

Oakland and San Jose mayors go pedal to pedal to get riders out on Bike to Work Day!

Bike to Work Day changed my life!

Hallie Baron —

For Angie Perez, biking was just an occasional leisure-time activity. But that all changed on Bike to Work Day (BTWD) 2011.

Angie Perez

Angie worked at an insurance company right next door to the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition (SBC). In 2011, she saw the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition bag stuffing party underway in preparation for Bike to Work Day. On the spot, she decided to ride her bike to work on BTWD that year – something that had never before occurred to her to do. And on BTWD 2011, she did just that.

The ride to work on her heavy hybrid was easy – all downhill. But the ride uphill on the way home was a different story and she had to walk. But she wasn’t deterred. In fact, Angie got inspired and decided to ride her bike to work as often as possible until she could pedal all the way up the hill.

And that hill did more than just give her a physical challenge. Not only did she ultimately accomplish that goal, but got hooked on cycling in the process. Her commitment inspired her husband to also get on his bicycle – and they’ve not looked back since. They traded in their hybrids for road bikes and started to ride regularly, and soon, the hill climb to their house was not a problem.

Angie Perez

“Bicycling has changed my life,” said Angie. “And now I want to use bikes and bicycling to help others change their lives as well.”

Today, Angie bikes 16 miles round trip to work whenever she can – but now it’s to her office in the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition. She joined the staff in August 2013 when she came on board as the bilingual school coordinator. In late 2014, she became the Coalition’s community outreach coordinator.  



A few other highlights of how Angie’s passion of cycling has impacted her life and the life of her community:

  • On Mother’s Day 2014, Angie organized a 90-mile ride for family and friends

  • She and her husband rode The Tour of the California Alps (aka The Death Ride); Angie completed two passes, her husband did all five. For 2015, they’re aiming to complete all five passes together.

  • As an outgrowth of the Coalition’s “walk and roll” program for kids, she’s establishing class to teach mothers to ride

  • She’s trying to use bicycle riding to help the community heal from the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez