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Monday, May 9, 2011

Sonoma County Bike to Work in May

Bike Commuting: A Simple Solution
By Sandra Lupien

Which of these applies to you?
I want to save money.
I want to improve my health/get more exercise.
I want to spend more time outdoors.
I want to reduce my carbon footprint.
I want to have more fun.
Most of us probably relate to most, if not all, of those statements. And, while might perceive some of them to be in conflict with others, the truth is that there’s one simple action that serves every one of these desires: getting around by bike!

Think about it: automobile fuel prices are climbing toward an all-time high (not to mention insurance costs); the best exercise is outdoors and the utilitarian kind is easiest to schedule; the only energy required by you to pedal your bike comes from the food you eat, and you (um, hopefully) emit far, far, far less carbon than your car; and riding a bike will make you feel like a kid again.

Haven’t ridden a bike in years? Do you ride for fun or for sport, but feel daunted by the idea of turning your commute into a training ride? Getting answers to your questions is a key to getting started.

“How do I get my kids to school?”
Make it family time. Get a trail-a-bike, tandem, kid seat, or trailer. Learn great riding skills and teach them to your kids. Have fun with it. Bike the kids to school, then continue on to work.

“Won’t I be all sweaty and disheveled?”
If your company doesn’t have onsite showers, advocate for them. In the meantime, stow toiletries in your desk and bring a shower in a coffee cup (a warm washcloth in your portable mug). Keep a couple changes of clothes in your office if necessary.

“How do I find the extra time?”
If your commute is just a few miles, you might find yourself getting to work more quickly when you bike. If it’s a longer commute, deduct the time you spend biking to work from your regular workout schedule.

“How do I ride on the road with all those cars?”
This can feel intimidating, but with a little education, biking on the road becomes second nature. Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s monthly “Street Skills for Bike Riders” class is a great resource. Remember to wear layers, bright colors, and to have lights on the front and back of your bike for night time riding. It helps to plan your route in advance and try it out on a weekend when you’re not under time pressure.

“How do I carry what I need?”
Bike commuting is hot, and the bike industry knows it. New racks, baskets, bags, trailers, and cargo bikes make it easier than ever to tote everything you need on your bicycle. A regular old backpack works great, too!

“How do I ride in the rain?”
Get started in the Spring and Summer, and you’ll be ready to don rain gear come January. If not, don’t worry about it… you’ll start again when the weather clears up.

Get started in May!
May is National Bike Month and Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and its amazing community partners will be celebrating all month long. The biggest celebration is May 12th, Bike to Work Day, when we’ll set up nearly 30 “Energizer Stations” throughout the County. Plan your morning commute to coincide with one of these stops, where you’ll find coffee, food, great prizes, and other people biking to work. Then, that evening, find a Bike Home Celebration in your community!

Bike to Work Day is great, but repetition and support are the keys to forming a new habit, so get some co-workers together and register for the Team Bike Challenge. Throughout the month of May, you and your teammates will log points for each day you use your bicycles for transportation. You could be the winning team in Sonoma County – or in the entire Bay Area region. Warning: People who participate in this popular contest report becoming addicted to bike commuting and tend to start pedaling to work year-round.

The key is to give yourself a break. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to bike every day. For long commutes, drive part way, and ride the rest. Try it once a week for starters, and build from there.
Once you get started and get into a routine, you’ll be amazed how much you look forward to your bike commute.

Sandra Lupien is the Outreach Director at Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition (SCBC), a non-profit organization that promotes bicycling for transportation and recreation. Visit for details about Bike to Work Day, Bike Month events, Safe Routes to School, and to learn how SCBC is making Sonoma County the best possible place to ride a bike.


Bike Commuter of the Year: John Daly

celebrates his 66th birthday by pedaling to a Giants Game

As thousands of Sonoma County residents prepare to celebrate Bike to Work Day this Thursday, May 12th, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition introduces Sonoma County Bike Commuter of the Year, John Daly.

Daly, a counselor at Santa Rosa Junior College, was nominated by his co-worker, Roberta Delgado. “Two years ago I changed offices and moved into the building where he [Daly] works,” writes Delgado, “and it became increasingly difficult for me to justify driving from my Northwest Santa Rosa home to our SRJC office. I was inspired to acquire a commuter bike and to begin riding to work myself. Soon three others in our department began riding frequently---one from as far away as Sebastopol. Nominee’s question every dry day is "Did you ride today?" and he has a high-five for me every time I can say ‘yes’.”

Daly, has been bike commuting from his home in Occidental to SRJC, rain or shine, for 30 years. In the darker winter months, he drives 5 miles East to Graton, and bikes the rest of the way to avoid riding in the dark.

“To me,” says Daly, “It’s a lifelong commitment. By bike commuting, I’m guaranteed my daily work-out, which is just wonderful. There’s no better way to start the day – it clears your mind. It’s like shaving – something I just get up in the morning and do! Plus, I just love to ride…”

Read a full interview with Daly at

Daly celebrates his 66th birthday on Bike to Work Day, May 12th, by riding his bike from Occidental to the Larkspur ferry to enjoy the San Francisco Giants game.

“John Daly is a great role model for anyone who wants to try bike commuting,” says Sandra Lupien, Outreach Director of Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. “He’s especially committed, and has an especially long commute. Luckily, most of us in Sonoma County live less than 5 miles from work, so it really is possible to enjoy getting to work by bike.”

Bike to Work Day is a great time to start!

Visit one of 30 Energizer Stations throughout the County between 6-9 a.m. And, be sure to attend one of four Bike Home From Work Celebrations (Sonoma, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa) that evening.

Find a Bike to Work Day Energizer Station or Celebration, and a list of more Bike Month events at Or, call Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition at 707-545-0153.

And, make sure to register for Bike to Work Day online at If you pledge to try riding for transportation even once in May, you’ll be registered to win great prizes, including a new bike!

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