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It's 'Bike to Work Day' so leave that car in the garage

Bikers already on the streets pedaling their way to schools, workplaces

The earliest participants in the Bay Area's Bike to Work Day have already begun to pedal to their classrooms and workplaces here in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley and throughout the Bay Area.

Energizing stations have been set up with refreshments, gift bags and a little encouragement for their efforts.

Speaking from an energizer station set up on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Joe Fragola, a spokesman for one of the event's major sponsors, Kaiser Permanente, said everything seems to be kicking off well so far.

"It's early, but we've had a few bikers pass through already," Fragola said at around 5:30 a.m. Last year, 4,000 people in Marin County participated in Bike to Work Day, according to the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

Fragola hinted that temperatures so far were lower than years past, though the weather is not expected to affect participant numbers.

"It's a little cool out," he said. "Two years ago it was a Spare the Air day."

Communities around the Bay Area are participating in the annual event.

Here in Pleasanton, hundreds of middle school students are "commuting" on their bicycles for at least one day in conjunction with the Bay Area event. It's the city's 10th annual Bike to School Day as well.

Hart, Harvest Park and Pleasanton middle schools are participating in this year's Bike to School Day sponsored by the city of Pleasanton along with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Bicycling students are being greeted with bottled water and giveaway bags filled with items provided by the city and local businesses. The Pleasanton Police Department is keeping a watchful eye on young bikers to make sure they're wearing helmets. Students were asked to review bike safety tips before riding to school.

"The event is held as part of the joint City-School District school traffic calming program Rides to School, which is an interactive partnership to plan and manage school traffic at individual schools," said Lisa Adamos, the city's Economic Development Specialist.

The Bay Area Bike to Work Day was begun to encourage everyone to try biking to work as a healthy, fun, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving. It is an effort of 511 Regional Rideshare, local bicycle coalitions and hundreds of volunteers.

"When students bike safe and adhere to the rules of the road, biking to school can be a viable alternative to being dropped off by parents," said Adamos.

"Although May 13 is officially recognized as the Bay Area's Bike to Work Day, participants are encouraged to choose the most convenient day that week to suit their busy schedules," said Marci McGuire from the Bishop Ranch Transportation Association in San Ramon, which is hosting its 16th annual event.

Bike to Work Day and all over the Bay Area, residents are encouraged to grab the handlebars and go for a spin as a healthy and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving.

Energizer Stations have been set up all over the Bay Area to celebrate Bike-to-Work Day. Hacienda Business Park is hosting an Energizer Station at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station in cooperation with the cities of Pleasanton and Dublin, Alameda County, Dublin Cyclery and BART.

The first 300 cyclists to stop by the Dublin/Pleasanton Energizer Station will receive a free Cycling Commute Companion, which is a canvas tote bag filled with cycling gear. Cyclists also can get a free bike safety check by Dublin Cyclery.

Cyclists filling out a Bike to Work Day registration card will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free bike helmet or "Free Bicycle Flat Repair" coupons at a retail value of $25 each courtesy of Dublin Cyclery.

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