Bike Palo Alto hopes to draw another large crowd

This year's event will feature new Bike and Roll Expo

In past years, Bike Palo Alto has welcomed hundreds of cyclists and encouraged many residents to ride their bikes for local shopping and other trips around the city. The event reached a record number of 600 participants last year, according to event planners, who hope to draw another large crowd this year with the addition of a new Bike and Roll Expo.

The seventh annual Bike Palo Alto will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2, 1-4 p.m. The free family-friendly event will include new bike-focused activities in addition to the usual self-guided bike tours and gathering at El Carmelo Elementary School.

The new activities will be part of the Bike and Roll Expo, which will be held on the Civic Plaza at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The expo will host a number of activities for community members to enjoy, including multiple displays and presentations, as well as a live band and food and drinks from Sweetgreen, David’s Tea and Cyclismo Café. Local bicycle vendors, including Palo Alto Bicycles, Motostrano and Suburban Bikes, will be present at the expo.

On Bryant Street, near the expo, cyclists can try out electric, cargo and folding bicycles on pop-up cycle tracks, which will feature parklets, planters and temporary striping and signs.

The traditional event festivities will be held at El Carmelo Elementary, 3024 Bryant St., where cyclists can check in for the day’s events. Experienced Palo Alto bikers will be onsite to help community members map out the best routes to places they might want to bike to within the city. For those in need of bike repairs, a bike maintenance crew will be available to do repairs free of charge.

Upon check-in, cyclists will receive a “frequent rider card,” which they can use to collect stamps at various stops along the three self-guided routes through Palo Alto. Free treats such as made-to-order smoothies from bike-powered blenders will be provided along the routes.

To give event participants an extra incentive to bike, the frequent rider card will continue to have a purpose after the event. If participants ride their bike to any local place such as a library, school, post office or store, they can get a signature on their card. Once they have collected 10 signatures, they will be eligible to enter into a drawing for a special prize.

Since Bike Palo Alto started in 2010, it has grown into a popular community event. The event, volunteer coordinator Joan Marx said, is now being organized by over 70 volunteers.

Marx hopes the number of event participants will continue to grow, so residents can “realize how enjoyable it is just to bike in Palo Alto.”

“There are so many quiet streets and underpasses that make it so easy to get to the places you want to go by bike,” Marx said. “We want people to have fun and realize they can get the same pleasure out of biking they get on this particular day every day.”

For more information, visit


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4 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Hope they can show kids safer routes to Paly than the dangerous Churchill route.

5 people like this
Posted by Resiident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm

There isn't one.

5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 28, 2016 at 7:25 pm

If Churchill is the only bike route to Paly, then it definitely needs a stop light to make it safe for our kids. Isn't this common sense?

1 person likes this
Posted by sense and
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm

What's your point, @parent? Are you (vainly) hoping for common sense from the CPA bureaucracy? Remember what Will Rogers said - "Common sense isn't."

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

No. I mean all routes to Paly are dangerous.

13 people like this
Posted by Brandy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 29, 2016 at 8:11 am

I've noticed that the more expensive the car,the faster the driver will run you down...!(as witnessed numerous times in town and country village parking lot)..... I'm just saying........

2 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 29, 2016 at 10:52 am

Biking to Paly is a breeze compared to the recommended routes to some of our elementary and middle schools (e.g., no bike lanes at all or bike lanes that end without any warning forcing kids into the street with at most a couple of painted "sharrows" for comfort as they dodge commuter vehicles racing to and from work). Rather than more lip service and bike events, the City would be far wiser to promote more biking by remediating such glaring deficiencies in the safety of some of its recommended routes.

12 people like this
Posted by Speaking as a person who actually bike to Paly
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Speaking as a person who actually bike to Paly is a registered user.

As person who bikes to Paly via Churchill once or twice a month for morning meetings, I find it a pleasant ride. It does require attentive compliance with the law--like most streets everywhere...and as I understand it, improvements are coming. That will be nice.

I have biked in many cities all over the world. Palo Alto is constantly improving its street system to create better conditions for all users. Our climate, flat terrain, shaded, lovely streets make a fabulous environment for easy, pleasant biking. Give yourself and out-of-car experience. You will enjoy yourself. I promise!

Share the road safely.

4 people like this
Posted by MP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Get off cars. Walk. "Move or Die" - John Adams

10 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Now, if someone would just teach the bicyclists to follow the rules. I followed one toward El Camino on East Meadow, on the sidewalk, off the sidewalk into bike path, on again and off, and down the sidewalk near the green bike path to jump off the curb and turn left in front of me (I was turning right at El Camino Way)instead of following the left turn Green bike path. This was either an adult or older teen, but as he was riding crazy, I just slowed and let him have the road. But if I had taken my eyes off him, I could have easily hit him.

11 people like this
Posted by bicyclist and driver
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Bike Palo Alto and the Bike & Roll Expo this Sunday 1-4 focus on choosing greener options to get around our fair city for more daily trips, especially bicycling. If you are concerned about safety on a particular route, come to Bike Palo Alto headquarters (Bryant & Loma Verde) with your bike and stop by the Route Concierge table to get advice! Enjoy riding on one of three routes using bike-friendly improvements and routes instead of busy arterials. Learn top tips for sharing the road safely and about new/future improvements that are making congested intersections safer for all road users. More info:
Bonus: The Bike & Roll Expo will also feature a demonstration of protected bike lanes that have had a positive impact around the country. Plus "lots of car-free ideas and fun for the whole family." Web Link

15 people like this
Posted by Unpleasant and Unsafe
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Unpleasant and Unsafe is a registered user.

In the past six years, I was hit while bicycling home from work three times, all on Palo Alto residential streets.

All three times I was hit by Mercedes-Benz S-Class drivers! Twice, I was injured badly, requiring hospitalization and surgery. One of those times, my knee was dislocated so badly it couldn't heal, requiring a second surgery to replace the knee.

All three times were hit-and-runs, one while textingand swerving, one while making an illegal left turn after running a stop sign, and one while talking on a cell phone and running a stop sign.

The third accident was enough to make me swear off biking to and from work. I now drive the four miles to work and back, and bike only on weekends!

14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm

These pushy "get out of your car" zealots are being really invasive. Cars and bicycles are equally viable forms of transportation. I can't understand this coercion of trying to get people to choose one over the other.

19 people like this
Posted by bicyclist and driver
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2016 at 12:05 am

Truly puzzling to me how putting on a free, fun event where people can _explore options_ to the normal choice of driving a motor vehicle could possibly be viewed as coercion! If Resident of Midtown chooses to drive everywhere you go, that is his/her choice. No one is "pushing" you to change, no one is taking anything away from you or threatening to do so. In fact, one famous council member pointed out a couple decades ago, each additional person who got on a bike meant one less car taking space away from him, and one more parking place. :-)

Putting together an event like the Bike & Roll expo that offers people the opportunity to try out an e-bike, or a bike designed for seniors, or a cargo bike that can carry kids or groceries, is just that -- an opportunity for those who are interested. Many residents would like to bike more, but don't know where to get their questions about routes or fitting their helmets or the rules of the road for bicyclists answered. Bike Palo Alto is a great place to find out answers/resources, try a new route and have fun.

If these events are not your cup of tea, no worries, have a great afternoon! But there's no need for name-calling and casting aspersions. Let's all have a great afternoon on Sunday!

12 people like this
Posted by No Fun
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:05 am

No Fun is a registered user.

I have ridden rented bikes in both Denmark and the Netherlands. In both countries, pedestrians, bikes, and cars have completely separate lanes: pedestrians on the sidewalk, bicycles in the protected bike lane, which is separated from the cars by a solid berm.

Rarely does anyone wear a helmet, because they feel safe in their bike lane. The penalties for hitting a pedestrian or anyone on a bike are severe--as in life imprisonment. Drunk driving is simply not tolerated, and the blood alcohol level used to determine inebriation is lower than in the US.

The bicycles are more comfortable and user-friendly: the chain is covered, as is half or more of the rear wheel. Therefore, you see people in business suits, dresses, even evening gown riding bikes. You see cargo bikes with children and groceries in them. Many bikes have child seats on the rear and the handlebars.

And bikes ALWAYS have the right-of-way over cars--and drivers always respect that. Pedestrians have the right-of-way over everything; cars in Europe are designed to have soft front ends to protect pedestrians in an accident. The front end of a car bends and absorbs shock on impact, preventing the bike or pedestrian from being thrown onto the hard pavement or into traffic. Most pedestrians or cyclists walk away from impact with such cars!

By comparison, the US is quite unsafe for bike riding, and there is certainly no fun in having to be hyper-vigilant at all times.

Since returning home from living abroad, I no longer bike ride. Silicon Valley and its distracted, hurriedm, reckless drivers are much too dangerous for safe riding or walking.

8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

I'm not against the bike-a-thon. I was responding to the guy who quoted John Adams.
I'm opposed to what Josh and Adrian have done to the city. There was little demand for bike routes so now they're doing this bike-a-thon to try and justify all the misled spending.

I know you're trying to be all positive, but forgive me for telling it like it is.

5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Little demand for bike routes? Are you crazy? Numbers I have seen show that 1/3 to 1/2 of all Palo Alto public school students bike to school. Numbers are probably lower for adults biking to work, but I do see a lot of yuppie-age people biking from Palo Alto to Palantir and Google in the morning. Bikes take up much less room on the road, much less room in parkings lots, and cause much less wear and tear on the roads, so the city can save a lot of money by building better bike routes.

10 people like this
Posted by Let's make a place for everyone on the street.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Let's make a place for everyone on the street. is a registered user.

Dear Resident and No-Fun,

I have biked in the Netherlands(extensively) and England, France and Belgium...and many places in the U.S. There are many places where bike routes are separate in Europe. You overstate the perfection of their facilities. There are also many places in Europe where they are not separate. In the Netherlands, they wrestle with reverse engineering for bikes, pedestrians and transit less than we do in this country because they were wise enough back in the 1950s to not let the auto industry transform their transportation system. We in the USA foolishly did, creating an auto-centered transportation system with poor transit, poor facilities for pedestrian and bikes, and horrible auto congestion.

This created an environment that allows transportation freedom only to those who have a drivers license. This is terrible for kids, for the elderly who may wish to give up driving when they feel they are no longer able to do it safely, and for the disabled. It forces DEPENDENCE on ALL of these people, and it forces people who may wish to use some other form of transportation into cars whether they like it or not.

Auto congestion is all about choices we made as a nation and choices we make today, as individuals. It will take time to solve all of the problems we created by designing to prioritize autos over all other modes of transportation.

As a person who bikes or walks for a little more than half of my trips, I would like a system that is designed for everyone. I'd like more transit. I use it when I can, but our system is inefficient for my daily needs--and soon will be made worse if VTA cuts our local bus lines.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

There is definitely a case for bike facilities and improvements.

But, there comes to a time when the numbers of people able to bike to wherever they are going comes to a limit and won't increase. I don't know when that magic number or percentage will occur but my gut instinct is that we are close to it. At that stage there will be no more increases is the numbers or percentages of bikes on our roads at commute times. I think that there is a saturation point on this particularly when it comes to school children.

I don't hear people I know saying "when they do such and such, I will bike more". I do hear people saying that "if there was a better option to get to work/school I would use public transportation".

People can see that our traffic is bad. I myself do my utmost not to drive somewhere during school commutes time and if I have to I choose my routes to avoid schools. This is not easy.

When school is not in session such as summer and any time there is no school, the worst of the traffic around town disappears. I almost said magically disappears but there is nothing magic about it. The schools cause the worst of the traffic in town. But as we are continuously told by PTA and bike advocates, our school kids do a great job of biking.

The things I would like to see are improvements to helping them at areas where there are big problems. One I see are the biking options to cross the Caltrain tracks, particularly at Churchill. There is so little waiting space for the bikes both sides of Churchill whether or not there is a train whenever the red light stops the flow. The left turn only helps to some extent but cars flout the rule and even so, the waiting space for bikes and pedestrians at that intersection is frighteningly inadequate. I have spent time watching that intersection and I would like to see much more done to alleviate the problem.

It all comes down to having no light sequence designed to allow bikes to move while all other vehicles are stopped. A special bike traffic light stopping bikes to allow vehicles to move and then a red light for bikes to enable vehicles to move would be a great starting point.

We all have to get to where we are going safely. Bikes do have a place on our roads but they are never going to increase their numbers to the extent that places like the Netherlands have. Trying to pretend that we might is not realistic.

We are at a point on the pendulum swing where we have to look at the situation saying enough is enough. There will always be motorized vehicles around town. Whether they become self drive, or more Ubers, Lyfts and Zipcars is irrelevant, there will be cars.

What we don't know is how much better we can get our bus/shuttle situation. At present buses in particular are either privately organized such as Google buses, or they are assumed to be transit for those who are too poor to own a car. This attitude must change before we can get more people into buses. First and last mile for Caltrain riders and school commutes are the best options for increasing bus and shuttle usage.

I would urge the community to become as much transit advocates as bike advocates. Please let's see as much pressure put on the powers that be to increase bus and shuttles as we see for bikes. If that lobby became as strong as the bike lobby, we would be doing a lot more for the future safety of the next generations of Palo Alto residents.

2 people like this
Posted by bicyclist and driver
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Just a reminder for readers of this thread, there are 2 great events focused on exploring biking as an option for transportation around town happening this Sunday October 2, from 1-4 PM:
Bike Palo Alto @ Bryant and Loma Verde: 3 family friendly routes, helmet fitting, Frequent Rider Cards and more. See:
Bike & Roll Expo @ Bryant and Hamilton downtown in front of City Hall: test out a pop-up protected bike lane or different e-bikes, and more low-carbon transportation options. More info: Web Link

PS to Resident, transit options are prominently represented in the Bike & Roll Expo!! And biking first mile/last mile is a great way to expand the number of Palo Alto residents or commuters to Palo Alto jobs for whom transit is a real option!

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