The bike tours, which take place from 1-3 p.m., encourage people of all ages to reduce their carbon footprint. The free event kicks off the Fall Walk & Roll Week in Palo Alto Unified School District schools. It's a chance to discover bike bridges, underpasses, bike boulevards and pathways.
To sweeten the deal, treat stops dot each route. Three of the four rides are suitable for families and amateurs and are on fairly flat terrain, co-organizer Penny Ellson said.
Registration and all bike routes start at Fairmeadow Elementary School, 500 East Meadow Drive. Bike-safety checks, helmet fittings and booths with information about bicycle safety will be at the school.
The 9.2-mile (6.8 miles when using a shortcut) route, called the "yellow route," takes riders through parts of Palo Alto and Menlo Park. A stop at Heritage Park in Palo Alto includes a station for decorating bikes. The route wends to the historic redwood El Palo Alto and continues to Menlo's Burgess Park, where riders can make their own blender-bicycle smoothie.
The 8.3-mile (7.9 miles with a shortcut) "red route" takes riders west from Fairmeadow School to a secret pathway for a treat at Robles Park, then by a bike bridge to another secret passage off Monroe Drive. The route continues to Los Altos for a stop at the Sweet Shop for a frozen yogurt sample.
On the return trip, riders go on the Bol Park bike path to visit the Barron Park donkeys Perry and Jenny, then to the fountain near the California Avenue Caltrain station for a snack before heading back through the California Avenue tunnel.
If birds and brine are more to one's liking, the "blue route" is a 9.6-mile sojourn to the Ross Road YMCA, up Ross Road Bicycle Boulevard and on to the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch at Palo Alto Art Center, where glass-blowing demonstrations will happen every half hour. After a stop at Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center for pastries, the tour heads to the Baylands EcoCenter, where Environmental Volunteers will host blender-bike smoothies, docent-guided interactive exhibits and microscopes for viewing tiny marsh creatures. Birding and expansive views of the bay top off the experience.
For die-hard bikers, the Grand Tour route is an 18.3-mile journey encompassing all of the other routes.
Registration and downloadable route maps are available at bikepaloalto.org.