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Bikers in heat

Original post made on May 12, 2008

As bicyclists hit the streets today for "Bike to Work Day," they will also be dealing with an "extreme" heat wave and the most recent Bay Area Spare the Air day.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 15, 2008, 10:06 AM

Comments (27)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

I hope the police will also be out in force ensuring that all these extra bikers obey stop signs and so on. I am also concerned that they are going to be on Alma as this street is much too busy to bike on, particularly for Paly and other students who should all use Bryant.


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Posted by sally
a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2008 at 11:18 am

Yes, cars usually drive 10mph to 20mph above the speed limit on Alma and other streets. I hope the police are out to enforce the speed limit and other traffic laws on bike to work day (and other days). Cars that blow through stop signs are another big safety problem in Palo Alto.


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Posted by James
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Bike to work is NOT the answer. We need to put all are efforts towards MASS TRANSIT. Our commutes are long enough! Who is going to get up 1 to 2 hours earlier and pedal a bike in the dark and cold, with all the laptops, iPods, cell phones, etc. that we need for work?? Then shower, change and start work. Then do it again on the way home with another 1 or 2 hours added to the commute.
I much rather ride a train or bus where I could use my laptop or phone to get the "day started" or even sleep.
Save the bike riding for the weekends with family and friends. Plus, look who is the biggest promoter of this, the bike manufacturers! I wonder why?!!


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

James, you are exaggerating. The average commute distance is about 7 miles, an easy biking distance. I have a commute of about that distance and it only takes 10-15 minutes longer than by car in the morning and only 5-10 minutes longer in the afternoon (when congestion slows the car commute and my bike commute is downhill). Yes, I need to take a shower but I don't have to make a separate trip to the gym to get my exercise, so it actually saves me time. Taking transit would take me an hour longer each way.

Look at the list of sponsors for this event and you will see that there are some bike shops and manufacturers, but they are many others. At the top of the list are also: Webcor, 511.org, VTA, Palm, Gordon Biersch, Sun, Yahoo, Genentech, Sunpower, Adobe and Hobees.

If you would rather take transit than bike to work, then go ahead. Supporting Bike to Work Day does not mean working against transit. Many people combine biking with transit, and many bicycle supporters are also transit supporters.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Anyone that wants to participate, but needs help with a route, feel free to ask. I ride 16 miles from PA to Milpitas, so if anyone needs help with a route that direction, I'd be willing to give it a try.

If anyone works off the lightrail line, riding to Mountain View to pick up the lightrail is about 7 miles and its easy to take your bike on board.

James, I can help you with what the bike commute experience is really like if you are interested, but mass transit is also a good thing. This isn't a bike vs mass transit thing. I rode with a woman that takes caltrain from San Franscisco to Mountain View, then rides to Milpitas. Some times when I have something I really want to read, I ride to Mountain View, catch the lightrail and read for 1/2 an hour. If you dont enjoy biking then this is not the thing for you, but I have to get my daily hour of exercise somewhere and this for me is a good choice, it saves me time and money and keeps me fit.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Professorville
on May 12, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Richard,

I have a friend that works for Webcor who gives inceitives for biking to work and using mass transit. 95% of the 100+ employess use the mass transit only.

The company I work for in PA has 124 employees. 4 live within 15 miles of work.

A another friend works for a big bike manufacturer in the south. All employees are "order" by the owner to bike to work on the 15th of this week. My friend said more than half of the employees parked in the shopping centers (about 100 yards away) from the building and take their bikes off their car bike rack and ride to the front door.
These are employees of a bike company!!

It should be not just call "bike to work week" because that is a joke.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm

So I guess you wont be biking to work then.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Professorville
on May 12, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I will be walking as always.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 13, 2008 at 7:30 am

I am assuming you dont work for a shoe company and no one is forcing you to walk. Be aware that the bulk of people riding their bikes are getting nothing but the pleasure of riding as an incentive. This is just a day event to introduce more people to the idea. For a lot it will be a one day achievement that they won't repeat, but now they will know its an option they have. I thought it was out of the question until I actually did it, and then discovered for me, it works.


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Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2008 at 8:32 am

Be Careful Biking on Palo Alto Streets!

The cracks will swallow your bike tires!


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I'll be driving on Thursday. Bike to Work Day should be canceled considering the severe weather alert. Biking when temperatures approach the low 90s could be dangerous for many people.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Some years it has rained on Bike to Work Day. The date is chosen many months in advance, and there have been many volunteers organized and many supplies purchased. It is not feasiblbe to cancel it now. I am sure that many hardy souls will be out there in the hot weather, the same way they were out there in the drizzly weather.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm

"I'll be driving on Thursday"

More Hobbies coffee cake and cliff bars for me. ;-)


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Posted by Tim
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2008 at 7:27 am

Great! You all bike to work so there is less traffic for me and my car. Thanks!! How about every Monday a Bike to Work Day. I could use the less traffic on Monday>


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Tim,
You are welcome. You should also find more parking places at your destination. All we ask in return is that you treat us courteously and safely on the road.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I'm retired now, but for 20+ years I biked to work almost every day, as did my wife (and son to his various schools as he grew up). On the very few days I drove (because of meetings in some distant parts of the Bay Area), I could get the time from my house to work and return. Even at non-rush hour, I could get to work just as fast on bike as in the car (thanks to the many stop lights on the way), and during rush hour, the bike was faster. When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, it took the same time as usual to get home, passing all the cars stuck in the huge traffic jam. A couple of neighbors who worked near me said it took them a couple of hours to get home, vs the 15 min it took me.

No gas to worry about (especially now at $4/gallon), more exercise. You can readily choose safe routes. And my company, like many in Palo Alto, provided showers - used by the bikers in the morning and by the runners, joggers, and walkers at noon (and the sweaty car drivers on the hot summer days).


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Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on May 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I'm going to bike to work tomorrow. I think it is a way for people to try it out to see if it works for their situation. That's why I'm doing it.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

No problem Richard. I save my biking for off road.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2008 at 10:42 am

We can't win today. We can't stay at home and work because that uses energy and overheats our homes, we can't go outside, because the air is poor and we might over exert ourselves. We can't drive our cars, because it is a spare the air day and we can't ride our bikes because we may breathe poor air and overheat ourselves.

I give up.


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Posted by Aaron
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I drove in today from Morgan Hill, thinking that there would be less traffic. NO WAY! What happen? It seem to be more crowded on the roadways. Maybe the heat?


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Posted by 4 bikes 2 work n' school
a resident of Ventura
on May 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Our family of 4 leave home each day on bikes- 2 bike to school, 1 bikes 3 miles to Palo Alto train station and boards the bullet to San Jose (and continues by bike the last mile to work), and i bikes 3 miles to work downtown. We bought our small home on the train tracks just so we could live where we work.

Commuting by car increases blood pressure and waistlines. Commuting by bike is cheaper that therapy and the gym, and more effective than anti-depressants.

Give it a try, I dare you!


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Posted by amused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2008 at 4:06 pm

New title is amusing

bikers in Heat. Sounds like mating season for bikers.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 15, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Yes, this could bring a whole new dimension to being chased by dogs...


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Posted by John
a resident of Mountain View
on May 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Although I bike to work occasionally, I wish the roads were safer for bikers. Bad roads is one thing, but it's also quite dangerous dealing with extremely busy intersections and very hard to reach cross-walk buttons (to press when the sign never changes). Also drivers sometimes have no idea that I'm about to cross the road and they try to turn right into me. In spite of all these hazards, biking to work is still fun for me.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

John,
If you are going straight at an intersection you should not be to the right of drivers turning right. It is dangerous, as you point out. You should stay in the road and go straight, with right-turning drivers either behind you or to your right (if there is enough room). Most intersections here have bike-sensitive detectors so if you position yourself properly you can get a green light without having to push the pedestrian button.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2008 at 10:27 am

Richard and John

Thank you both for your comments. This is a prime reason why cycling is so dangerous. Many cyclists have no idea what they should be doing and it is good for those who do to share their knowledge with those who don't. John, your comments are honest and must be one of the main problems for both drivers and cyclists sharing the road. Richard, you are correct in your comments and thank you for passing on your knowledge.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2008 at 3:07 pm

"Most intersections here have bike-sensitive detectors"

If you have a Carbon Fiber bike, dont expect metal detectors to pick you up. If you have enough metal to be detected, look on the asphault for a bike symbol near the detector, if symbol is there, that is supposed to be the best place to trigger the signal. If you can get signals to detect you, but have come across one that wont most cities will come out and test and adjust the detector. Sunnyvale and caltrans are very responsive for example. Caltrans wont mark the intersection's bike detection sweet spot though.


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