Palo Alto businesses to participate in Bike to Shop Day

Outgrowth of Bike to Work Day, Saturday event will include two-wheeled tour of shops, special deals for cyclists

If you ride on two wheels and like to shop, Saturday is going to be your day. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, in celebration of national bike month, is supporting Palo Alto businesses through Bike to Shop Day on Saturday, May 23.

The second annual Bike to Shop Day is a one-day event that encourages residents to ride their bicycles to shop at local businesses. This is Palo Alto's second year of participation, with 16 businesses taking part, said Mountain View resident and event organizer Janet Lafleur.

LaFleur and her husband, Dick Kiser, will be leading a shop-and-ride tour that starts with coffee at Dana Street Roasting Company in Mountain View at 10 a.m., then hits Palo Alto's California Avenue (noon-1:15 p.m.), Town & Country Village (1:30-2:30 p.m.) and University Avenue (2:45-4 p.m.) for shopping and lunch and returns to Mountain View for dinner on Castro Street.

"It's an all-day affair that people can drop in and drop out (of) as they please," LaFleur said.

Businesses, including those along El Camino Real and California Avenue, are offering bike riders special deals and promotions. Mike's Bikes, at 3001 El Camino Real, is offering 15 percent off all parts and accessories while Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels, at 477 S. California Ave., is giving bike riders a free cup of coffee with the purchase of a bagel.

For a map featuring participating merchants and the promotions they are offering, visit Umapper.

Like so many others, LaFleur started riding her bike to work during the annual Bike to Work Day event hosted by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. But she realized she bikes to more places than just to work.

"I bike to the grocery store, I pick up prescriptions, I meet friends for coffee, and my husband and I go out to dinner every Friday night on bike dates," LaFleur said. "I could see that these shopping and errand trips didn't get the encouragement that commuting to work did, even though they tend to be shorter and are less time-constrained. And unlike the office, no one cares if you show up at the grocery in a T-shirt and shorts. I wanted to raise the visibility of shopping by bike and I wanted to support local businesses with new customers."

That's when LaFleur consulted with friends and came up with a proposal for Bike to Shop Day, and with the help of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, the event launched in 2014.

"Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is involved because large, regional events like Bike to Shop Day help accomplish its mission to encourage more people to take the leap and get on a bike," a statement reads. "SVBC's larger goal is to see 10 percent of all trips to be by bike in 2025. Bike to Shop Day moves us toward that goal by having individuals see the bike as a viable mode of transportation for a variety of trips, not just commuting to work."

This year, there are 125 locations in 15 cities around the Bay Area participating, up from last year's 90 locations in 11 cities, LaFleur said. And the highest participation districts are Palo Alto, Mountain View, Willow Glen, San Jose, Burlingame and Redwood City.

"Palo Alto has so much to offer for people biking to businesses. The city has a broad selection of stores and restaurants; it has a great network of bicycle-friendly streets; and most shops have bike parking right out front," LaFleur said.

For more information, visit

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2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 8:59 am

Love this idea, as long as it is done within reason. I mean, who wants to try on clothes that have just been tried on by a sweaty bike rider, or even sit down to a nice meal with a couple of sweaty bike riders sitting right behind me.

Most work places nowadays have showers and people who ride their bikes to work shower, or at least change out of their lycra before starting work!

27 people like this
Posted by come on
a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2015 at 9:06 am

Come on. If you're biking a mile or two from home to a store or restaurant at a casual pace, you are not going to sweat enough to offend other customers. Same goes for people walking the same distance. I suggest you try it this Saturday and find out for yourself.

13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 9:28 am


Be sure to double park your SUV so you won't sweat going into that store:-)

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 11:25 am

Sorry if you misunderstood my meaning. According to the article there are people who will be riding all day, going to multiple shopping locations and then to dinner on Castro Street.

A short bike ride to go shopping is one thing. An all day ride with lycra clad biking enthusiasts is what I picked up from the article.

PS, I will be hiking in nature with my family so won't be able to make it.

8 people like this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Mountain View
on May 21, 2015 at 11:39 am

@Resident My husband and I will be leading the ride from Mountain View to Palo Alto and back. The total mileage is about 15 miles, but we expect people will only do small segments of the ride. That's why it's billed as drop-in, drop-out.

With a casual pace over a relatively short distance spread out all day, we have no need to wear lycra bikewear. As someone said, we won't get any sweatier than if we walked the same amount of time. I'll probably be in a dress and hubby in a cotton collared shirt. It's not a workout, it's a tour. More information is here: Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 11:41 am

Janet, thank you for the clarification. I appreciate that.

8 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2015 at 11:44 am

There is ALWAYS someone who can find some perceived negative in something. Always.
Don't be that person, and if you might be, it's not too late to change.

4 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Southgate
on May 21, 2015 at 11:50 am

Pretty hard to put a week's worth of grocery bags anywhere on a bicycle.

8 people like this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Mountain View
on May 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

@Reality Check I regularly carry three big bags of groceries on my bike. When I go to Costco I pull a trailer if I'm buying toilet paper or paper towels.

I'm not the only one either, which is why we're hosting a "Bike to Shop Challenge" where people get a chance to win a prize drawing for submitting a photo. Web Link

6 people like this
Posted by Winona
a resident of Mountain View
on May 21, 2015 at 12:09 pm

@Reality Check Even a Costco run is a breeze with my set-up! I have both Market Bags on this trailer and 2 panniers on a rack. Would post a photo but can't here.
Web Link

6 people like this
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I don't see why it is difficult to do grocery shopping on a bike. I shop at safeway and walgreens all the time on my bike, carrying at least 2 gallons of milk, juice, bread, waffles, and sometimes even paper towels in my backpack. I was constantly given THE LOOK by fellow Palo Alto residents, from whom I was told I should not do that. And you know what, now it is back in fashion. You just never know.

4 people like this
Posted by Mimi Wolf
a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm

I use Jadd saddle bags that fit on my rear rack with a bungee cord for crushables (beans, oranges, clothing, shoes). This works fine most of the time for my weekly shopping trip. If I plan to purchase big items, I take my Burley trailer - it holds 100 pounds. The bags and the trailer were well worth the investment and have served me well (bought the Burley in 1987 and it's in good condition). Far less expensive than driving. When I bike, I have many opportunities for interacting with neighbors and nature. Just a few of the many advantages of biking.

1 person likes this
Posted by Nick of Time
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 21, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Time is an issue for me. I buy eight or more bags of groceries in one trip with a car. it would take too many trips on a bike, and I just do not have that much time, given that I work two jobs over six-and-a-half days per week, like many other people in Palo Alto. I only have one hour per week to shop for groceries, and one hour per week for other shopping necessities, like kids' clothing and medications. My half day off per week is mostly spent on laundry.

3 people like this
Posted by Bike to Shop for FUN
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 9:26 pm

AND....while I bike to shop I get exercise. I'm officially a senior (so says the AARP), but people are always surprised when they hear my age. I keep my weight down and stay in shape riding my bike!

In Palo Alto it's not as hard as you might think. Our streets are relatively flat and shaded. Our weather is LOVELY most of the year.

Bicycling turns errand running into recreation. It makes me happy.

2 people like this
Posted by For Nick of Time
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Jadd saddlebags and a Burley can easily carry eight grocery bags (and a kid). You might be surprised to learn it won't take as long as you think...And it FEELS good. It sounds like you are working a lot. Exercise and fun is especially important for those of us who work a lot. It helps us maintain our health, energy, and spirit. Bicycling helps me fit exercise and recreation into a busy schedule...and it saves me a LOT of money on gas and wear and tear on my car. AND I get a break on my insurance premiums because my annual auto mileage is so low!

Wishing you a some bike time.

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