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 biketoshopday.com.