The two cyclists — Jenn Rodriguez of Santa Clara County and Mark Leeper of San Mateo County — have been chosen by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition as this year's 'Bike Commuters of the Year.'
The award celebrates National Bike Week, which kicked off Monday with elected officials (including San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Palo Alto Councilwoman Yoriko Kishimoto donning cycling attire and riding bikes to San Jose's City Hall, according to Corinne Winter of the Bicycle Coalition.
On Thursday, thousands of other Bay Area residents will take to the streets on bicycles for "Bike to Work Day," an event encouraging commuters to take their bike to and from work.
Rodriguez has biked 11.5 miles from her Santa Clara residence to Palo Alto since 1994, when she began commuting by bicycle to build endurance for weekend recreational rides.
Her employer, Roche Palo Alto, LLC, provides bike lockers, showers and even emergency rides home if needed.
"These are good times for bike commuters and it keeps getting better," she said; citing recent improvements on Forbes Avenue and on Homestead Avenue in Santa Clara.
Leeper teaches woodshop at Menlo-Atherton High School. For more than 12 years, the teacher known as "Leapdog" to his students has pedaled to work from San Carlos, inspiring others to do the same by wearing a T-shirt with the message "One less car" on the back.