Palo Alto residents are invited to leave their cars in their garages in exchange for a fresh-air, pedal-powered commute as part of the Bay Area's 24th annual Bike to Work Day this Thursday.
More than 100,000 people across the Bay Area are expected to participate in this year's Bike to Work Day, which will be Palo Alto's 19th, according to Silicon Valley Bike Coalition Executive Director Shiloh Ballard.
"Every year we want it (the event) to grow," Ballard said.
From 6:30-9 a.m., bicyclists can visit one or all of four city-sponsored energizer stations that will all be managed by volunteers:
• Alma Bike Bridge at Alma Street and Palo Alto Avenue.
• Wilkie Way Bike Bridge near Monroe Drive and Miller Avenue.
• Downtown on Bryant Street near City Hall.
• California Avenue near the Caltrain station, which city officials expect to be the busiest location for commuters.
The four stations are each offering different perks -- from free bike tuneups at the Alma Street/El Palo Alto bike bridge to free pancakes cooking up at the Wilkie Way Bike Bridge. City representatives will distribute information on planning and transportation projects at the City Hall location. All stations also will offer canvas musette bags, snacks and other giveaway items while supplies last. The city encourages bikers to budget extra time on their route for these stations.
"It's that one day a year when it's completely normal to ride your bike (to work)," Ballard said. "We want everyone to feel comfortable trying it out... to entice people into throwing a leg over a bike."
The four city-sponsored stations are among the total 21 energizer stations across Palo Alto and Stanford University, some operating as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 9:30 a.m. A complete map of all the stops in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, compiled by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, can be found here.
For more information on the event, visit bikesiliconvalley.org/btwd.
Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area is sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Kaiser Permanente and 511.org.