The wheels are set in motion for Berkeley’s annual Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 14, which is being organized in conjunction with the local Walk and Roll to School Day.
The event, hosted by Bike East Bay, will feature a number of two-wheel-friendly events, including the “Mayor-Palooza Bike to Work Day Ride,” featuring two visiting mayors from Europe, and a pop-up bikeway on Milvia Street.
Bike East Bay and Berkeley High School will also host a morning energizer station at Berkeley City Hall from 7:30-9:30 a.m. serving tasty pick-me-ups from La Note Restaurant and snazzy cyclist swag bags.
“We’re expecting a record-breaking turnout,” said Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director at Bike East Bay.
The biggest highlight of the day will probably be the participation of two politicians from leading bike-friendly cities in Europe. Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen and Mayor Albrecht Schröter of Jena, Germany — sister city to Berkeley — will join in public bike rides and conversations about proposed improvements to Berkeley’s existing bike boulevards.
“I think what can really help distinguish Berkeley’s bike lanes is that they can start borrowing many concepts from Copenhagen and Germany, and implement strategies that Europe has already done,” said Campbell.
Registering in advance for the event at You Can Bike There gives participants access to forum discussions on bicycling, entrance into a prize drawing, and the chance to nominate a cyclist for the Bicycle Commuter of the Year title.
Dozens of local schools are joining in on the action with the simultaneous Bike to School Day that encourages kids and families to go green with their school commute transportation.
In 2014, over 80 schools participated in the event, a 13% increase from the previous year according to Bike East Bay. A list of participating schools shows schools from Alameda to Union City supporting the event. Over 4,700 students hopped on their bikes last year for the event, a figure that has been increasing every year.
Bike to Work Day activities:
- Start the event with a little competition and sign up for the Team Bike Challenge with your friends, family or co-workers. Track your bike trips during May for the chance to win prizes from event sponsor REI. Bike East Bay reported that 9,631 people rode over a half million miles during last year’s competition.
- Always dreamed of cruising down the Berkeley streets on two wheels with Mayor Bates? The official meet-up time for the Mayor-Palooza Bike to Work Day Ride is 7:30 a.m. at the Sproul Plaza energizer station. Cyclists will roll out at 8:00 a.m., aiming to arrive at Berkeley City Hall at 8:30 a.m.
- Following the ride, a press event hosted by Bike East Bay is scheduled for 8:40 a.m. with invited speakers including Copenhagen’s Mayor Kabell.
- Check out the interactive map of all of the Bike to Work Day and Bike to School Day Energizer Stations. Bike East Bay Ambassadors will be at select stations giving away bigger and better swag bags to anyone who joins Bike East Bay or renews their membership.
- After the success of a pop-up bikeway on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland last year, this year’s Berkeley-based bikeway constructed of temporary street striping and barriers will be staged on busy Milvia Street in front of City Hall. Bike East Bay is also supporting three other pop-up demos in Fremont, Castro Valley, and Walnut Creek.
- Kick back and celebrate a ride well done at the Berkeley Bike Happy Hour from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the streets outside of Sports Basement Berkeley. Mayor Kabell will reportedly be among the revelers. Volunteer at the event and get a free shirt and choice brew.
- Not in Berkeley for the night, but want to join in the fun? Bike Happy Hours will also be held in Downtown Oakland, Fruitvale BART Station, and Concord! Locate your nearest watering hole.
Campbell said one of the city’s most exciting updates for better cycling in Berkeley is the upcoming overhaul of the city’s current bicycle plan. “Mayor Bate’s has said it will be the best bike plan in America,” he said. The plan is set to be adopted in early 2016.
Feeling inspired? Head on over to Bike East Bay for pro cycling tips, for motivation to join the growing number of two-wheel commuters, and more information about this family-friendly event.
We’ll leave you with this video from UC Berkeley Campus Life of one cyclist’s adventure during last year’s Bike to Work Day. Happy riding!
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Emily Dugdale, a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, is a summer intern at Berkeleyside.
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