| S.F. Bicycle Coalition to Host Bike to Work Day
By Constance Cavallas Apr 16, 2009
Make your commute count by joining the thousands of first-time and experienced commuter cyclists during this year’s annual Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 14 hosted by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC).
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With its sunny weather and flat geography, the Mission District is naturally an inviting area to bike in. Resources provided by the SFBC make participation in the event even easier. Pedal by an Energizer Station on Bike to Work Day (there will be one at 17th and Valencia in the morning and evening as well as a bilingual/Spanish station at Cesar Chavez and Valencia in the evening). Volunteers will be handing out free goodies like the popular Bike to Work Day tote bag and tasty treats to keep you going. And you can learn more about bike lane projects proposed for Cesar Chavez and 17th Street, part of 56 bike improvement projects that are up for City approval this spring.
If your bike commute takes you downtown and your building doesn’t allow bikes, use the SFBC’s Secure (and free) Bike Parking Corral (8 a.m.-6p.m., Market at Battery). If you’re not quite ready for the day’s festivities to end, you’re invited to the Bike Away from Work Party at the Rickshaw Stop (6-10pm, Fell and Van Ness) where you can celebrate a day of commuting success with fellow cyclists.
The SFBC wants to help and encourage first-time bike commuters. Build your confidence and get an idea of how quick your commute can be by joining other cyclists in a Commuter Convoy heading out on Thursdays April 30, May 7 and May 14 (7:45 a.m.) from Nervous Dog (30th and Mission). Or, participate in the Bike Buddy program, through which you can be paired up with an experienced bicyclist to help get you in gear-literally!
Obvious benefits of biking include good health and contributing to a cleaner environment — but until you give it a try you might not realize how easy and convenient it is.
Time, for example, is a significant factor to consider when it comes to commuting, and biking can save you a lot of precious minutes. Since traffic does not have the same effect on bikes as it does for cars or transit, and time spent waiting for the bus or looking for a parking space can be eliminated, bike-commute times tend to remain pretty consistent.
“Nothing compares to the freedom and effectiveness of a bike,” says 28-year-old Mission resident Kati Jackson. A commute from 23rd and Potrero to the Dogpatch takes her an average of 10 minutes. On the rainy days she has opted to take the bus, Jackson says it can take up to 45 minutes for the same bus commute to Rickshaw Bagworks, where she is a customer service representative and factory manager.
If you’re interested in saving a little cash, note the average cost of owning and driving a car, according to 2008 AAA calculations, is $780 a month. Owning and maintaining a bicycle, on average, costs around $300 a year. And, as of January 2009, a Federal Bike Commuter Benefit went into effect, allowing employers to offer bike-commuting employees a pre-tax benefit of up to $240 a year for bike maintenance. “The money savings [of not having a car] is HUGE,” says Jackson. “To think- the amount I spent on keeping my old beater car running for two years.”
Last year on Bike to Work Day, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency counted twice as many bikes as cars during the morning commute at Market and Van Ness.
“Don't hesitate. Get out and ride,” says Jackson. “It is easy to get around and it’s a great way to meet new people as well as see your friends.”
For more information on Bike To Work Day events, visit the SFBC’s website at www.sfbike.org. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is a 10,000 member nonprofit that promotes the bicycle for everyday transportation.
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