'Green teams' to host bicycle-education event Sunday | October 8, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 8, 2010

'Green teams' to host bicycle-education event Sunday

Bike Palo Alto! will highlight pedaling routes and safety

by Sally Schilling

Instead of a car, Robyn Duby takes her bicycle, with a trailer attached, to the grocery store.

Duby, a member of the College Terrace Green Team, said she could not get away with just using her bicycle basket to carry groceries because her teenage son drinks so many gallons of milk.

"It took me six months to finally get the trailer and trailer hitch for my bike to go grocery shopping, and I'm highly motivated," she said.

A desire to inspire and support Palo Alto's occasional and potential cyclists fueled Duby's idea for "Bike Palo Alto!," a bike-education event that will be held by the College Terrace and Barron Park green teams Sunday (Oct. 10).

"I noticed that the bike lanes are underused and that a lot of people driving around in their cars look very stressed out," Duby said.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. at Escondido School, at Stanford Avenue and Escondido Road, with activities including safety tips, bicycle maintenance and displays of bike accessories.

Bike maps and self-guided route maps will also be provided along with information sheets detailing bicycle maps online, bicycle groups and shops.

"Our target audience is people who don't normally bike a lot," said Lisa Altieri, a member of the Barron Park Green Team and event co-organizer.

Altieri said one reason more people don't bicycle in Palo Alto is that they do not know the routes.

"People think they have to go on El Camino and battle with delivery trucks to bike across town," Duby said.

Altieri said she doesn't feel comfortable biking with cars. But fewer vehicles drive on Palo Alto's bike routes, said Altieri, who recently learned about the routes herself.

The basic grid of the city's bikeways system now totals more than 30 miles of bike lanes, 7.5 miles of off-road bike paths and 11 bicycle bridges, according to the city's website.

Palo Alto has a Bicycle Advisory Committee that makes recommendations for route maintenance and improvement of bicycle infrastructure.

Sunday's event will provide short, medium and long bicycle routes for people of all abilities and ages.

The routes will guide riders through many of the city's special bicycle facilities, including the Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard and many little-known bicycle bridges and quiet streets, said Kathy Durham, who works for the city's Planning and Transportation Department. There will be stops along the routes at local vendors for free treats.

Last week the city met to reassess its Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which aims to get 10 percent of all people in Palo Alto traveling by bicycle. Currently, 6 percent of Palo alto travel is by bicycle, Durham said.

In May 2003, Palo Alto was designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. However, Palo Alto is no longer at the forefront of bicycle-friendly cities, bike infrastructure expert Ian Moore told the city last week.

Durham said while 60 percent of adults in Palo Alto have bicycles, most do not use them very often.

"There are a few cities — Copenhagen, Portland — where residents bike more than they drive. When you see it, it looks so easy. You think, 'Why aren't we doing that?'" Altieri said.

The neighborhood green teams are a part of the Community Environmental Action Partnership, aimed at creating awareness and support in the community for positive environmental action.

The green teams recently participated in a Low Carbon Diet class, in which members learned about ways to lower their carbon footprint. They found that transportation was a major contributor to CO2 emissions.

But reducing air pollution is only one benefit of biking.

Tom Kabat, a local biking enthusiast who builds his own unique bicycles out of driftwood, office chairs and lawnmowers, believes that bicycling can encourage personal growth.

"There have been stories locally about the stress and consequences faced by so many teenagers in our area, and I remember that difficult part of my life and the huge positive impact getting into bicycling had on me," Kabat said in an e-mail.

"We don't do it because we know we ought to; the motivation is fun. Fun is a great motivator; we want people to see that," Duby said.

More information is available at www.350.org/bike-palo-alto.

Editorial Intern Sally Schilling can be e-mailed at sschilling@embarcaderopublishing.com.


Posted by commuter, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

A few bicycle questions. Anyone have suggestions?

1. What is the best commute-hour bicycle route from downtown Palo Alto to downtown Mountain View? The Bryant Bicycle Boulevard ends in midtown. Then what do I do? Middlefield and Alma are pretty scary during rush hour.

2. What are the best family-friendly bicycle routes from Bryant St to Foothills Park or Arastradero Preserve? I'm not going to take the kids on that bike lane along the median of Page Mill Expressway.

3. Where can I find a map of safe and secure bicycle parking around town? I've heard that locking your bike to a tree is a very bad idea. There are no official bike racks near most stores and restaurants in Palo Alto.



Posted by commuter, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm

@ commuter from Midtown --
Hope you can come to Escondido School on Sunday 10/10/10 anytime between 1:00 and 4:00, you should be able to get your questions answered!

Posted by T, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

Midtown Person: the bike lane continues way past midtown...it is pretty well marked (except for a little part near 'the circles' if you know what I mean) go on a day you're not in a hurry and check it out...

Posted by commuter, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

I bet that the people at the Bike Palo Alto event on Sunday could answer your questions!

But if you are not able to attend, try using Google Maps. When you click on "Get Directions", notice that there's a bicycle icon. Click on that and all the different types of bike routes are marked in different types of green highlight. There are a couple of good options to get to Mountain View without using Alma or Middlefield.

Posted by commuter, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

I tried using Google Maps to create a bicycle route from Palo Alto city hall to Mountain View city hall. The route they came up with has 31 turns in a 6 mile route. There has to be a better route than that. No way can I remember 31 turns. Does anyone have an easier route?

Web Link

Posted by Joe Bloggs, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm

More people on bikes going more places more often!!!!!!
sounds like a good time!!!!!!!!!!!!!
see you at Escondido at 1 PM tomorrow (Sunday)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Is this going to be a tour with guides at a specific time, or a self-guided tour any time between 1 and 4? I'm interested in learning about these in a big group of bikers, but I'm not sure I can get there by 1, and I want to get my bike tuned up first.

Posted by volunteer, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm

@question: Detailed route maps and assistance will be available at event; come any time between 1 and 4 pm. Actual ride is self guided since there are nine options, but you may be able to buddy up with someone interested in the same destination.

Minor fixes can be handled by Mike's Bikes mechanics at event; you may find that bike shops are unable to handle walk in tune ups on weekends. Come anyway, you can take away info to use on future weekends!

FYI here's what went out on our neighborhood enews list:
Bike Palo Alto!
Sunday 10/10/10, 1-4 pm
Start at: Escondido School, Stanford Ave. & Escondido Road

Bring your bike and helmet and join us for a fun afternoon of bicycling in Palo Alto. Highlights of the event include:

* Free bike maintenance and support provided by Mike's Bikes
* Tips on safe cycling
* Palo Alto bike maps with information on great local routes
* A fun self-guided bike ride with 9 different route options through Palo Alto with stops at local vendors for free treats!
Vendor stops include free ice cream at Baskin Robbins, free fruit at JJ&F Market and Whole Foods, a free reusable mug at Starbucks and more!
* Free raffle for great bike prizes including bike helmets, pumps and bike safety gear!
* No bike? No problem! Discounted bike rentals for $15 for the day (normally $35) provided by Bike Connection!

This is a family friendly event!

For more information, please go to www.350.org/bike-palo-alto

Event Host: This event is organized by the College Terrace & Barron Park Green Teams, as part of the Palo Alto Neighborhood Green Teams group and CEAP. This event is sponsored by the City of Palo Alto Way2Go & Sustainability Programs and the Stanford Parking & Transportation Bicycle Program. This event is part of the 350.org Global Work Party to reduce carbon emissions.

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