"You feel guilty if you don't," she said, only half-joking. Lee works for Stanford University, which offers strong incentives to convince people not to drive themselves to the office.
On Thursday, May 10, Lee was one of hundreds of bicycling commuters who stopped by the Bike to Work "energizer station" on California Avenue in Palo Alto. The 18th annual Bike to Work event, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, along with the City of Palo Alto, Stanford University and Hewlett-Packard Company, aims to encourage and celebrate two-wheeled transportation.
Volunteers hosted stations at strategic spots around town, replete with oranges, Hobee's coffeecake, bagels, coffee, free tote bags and plenty of literature on how to cycle safely in traffic.
"Thanks for biking to work!" a volunteer called out to cyclists exiting the California Avenue underpass, next to the Caltrain station.
The California Avenue area is like Grand Central for bicyclists. It's at the intersection of the underpass, the train station and Park Boulevard. This year, 682 people biked past between 6:30 and 9 a.m. — more than last year, according to volunteer David Coale, who was counting the cyclists.
He surmised that the good weather helped the turnout.
"We get a little bit of everyone," he said, gesturing to a woman in a chiffon skirt and heels, straddling her bike amid a sea of spandex-clad riders.
It was Coale's fifth year of volunteering.
"It's fun to give a little bit of something as a benefit," he said.
For Lee, the commute times by car and bike are about the same — 20 to 30 minutes. She could get to campus quicker by car, depending on traffic. But then she'd have to find parking and walk or catch the Marguerite shuttle to her building on the sprawling campus.
She's been commuting by bike for about a year. The key lesson she's learned is to map out a safe route, which provides a greater incentive to continue biking, she said.
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