REGION — Thousands of San Diego County residents strapped their helmets on and headed to the office on two wheels for 2018’s Bike to Work Day on May 17.
During the morning commute hours of 6 to 9 a.m., there were 100 pit stops set up from San Ysidro to Oceanside and eastward to Escondido and Lakeside.
Offerings by pit stop varied, but snacks, refreshments, tune-ups, a T-shirt for registrants and high fives were some of the most common free courtesies provided by volunteers across the region.
Estimated participation rates were not yet available, but last year’s Bike to Work Day recorded more than 10,500 pit-stop visits countywide.
Stephen Kelly, who works in sales for Revolution Bike Shop in Solana Beach, manned the store’s stop along Highway 101. He counted 101 riders who pulled up to the tent and 89 who kept on pedaling by. This is the fifth year that Revolution has hosted a pit stop for Bike to Work Day.
Along with GoGo squeeZ packets, Chipotle coupons and other goodies, Kelly had tools on hand for anyone needing mechanical service. He was surprised by how many riders commuted in the dark around 5 a.m. and was happy to find so many participants in a good mood.
Kelly said, “They might only be riding 2.5 or 3 miles, but they’re excited to be out. For many of them, it’s the one time a year that they ride their bikes to work.”
Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear rode to City Hall, stopping to pick up her free T-shirt at the Nytro Multisport, Dudek and Clif Bar pit stop on Highway 101. She said, “I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of the people at City Hall who rode and those I passed on the street.”
Blakespear rides to work once or twice a month. “It’s hard to look professional with helmet hair, so I usually ride only on days when I have exclusively office work and no speaking responsibilities,” she said.
SANDAG has been hosting Bike to Work Day in conjunction with local jurisdictions and other partners for more than 20 years. The San Diego County event is an offshoot of the national one, which is typically held on the third Friday of May as part of National Bike Month.
The League of American Bicyclists started Bike to Work Day in 1956 to promote public interest in biking in general and as an alternative way to commute. The league’s website ranks California as the third most bike-friendly state in the country.