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Bike Month: Santa Cruz Celebrates its 29th Bike to Work Day

Santa Cruz offers free breakfast for people biking to work tomorrow. Photo by Karen Kefauver/Ecology Action
Santa Cruz offers free breakfast for people biking to work tomorrow. Photo by Karen Kefauver/Ecology Action

I stand corrected.

Last week I reported that San Diego, or perhaps the East Bay, has had the longest-running Bike to Work Day celebration in California at 22 years. While that's impressive, it turns out that Santa Cruz has been commemorating Bike to Work Day since 1987—so next year will be the 30th anniversary of Santa Cruz BTWD.

Ecology Action, the local bike advocacy group, actually holds two annual Bike to Work Day events, one in May—the same day the Bay Area celebrates BTWD, that is, tomorrow—and one in October. That means that Santa Cruz has probably held way more Bike to Work Day events than anywhere. And because this week is Bike Week, it's hosting a series of events, at least one every day, leading up to tomorrow's big celebration. These include a wide variety of group bike rides, bike maintenance classes, and bike-in movies.

In Santa Cruz, rather than offering quick-stop “energizer stations” that offer rushed bike commuters a quick cup of coffee, pastry, and a goodie bag, organizers create a sort of “mini bike festival” at thirteen sites in Santa Cruz County. There, in addition to a free breakfast, local businesses set up booths and offer all kinds of information and services including massages and bike checkups.

“Our sites are meant to encourage cyclists to stop and stick around for a while, said Emily Gomez of Ecology Action. “We focus on community building, and want to provide opportunities for people to meet each other.”

The free breakfast sites are listed here, and include downtown Santa Cruz, the UCSC campus, and surrounding areas.

Ecology Action also has a big focus on educating and encouraging school kids to ride bikes, so in addition to the free public breakfasts, they will provide breakfast and mini festivals with raffles and games 45 area schools.

“A huge part of what we do is our Bike Smart program,” said Gomez. “We go to local schools and do presentations about bike safety in classrooms, then return to conduct on-bike training and bike rodeos so the kids can practice what they learned. It's not just an encouragement program once or twice a year; we pair it with an ongoing education program. A number of our school sites now do a monthly bike/walk to school day.”

Somehow I missed Sonoma County's Bike to Work Day in my coverage of the the Bay Area. Reader Murphstahoe says he helped stuff bags with goodies that will be handed out tomorrow at twenty energizer stations throughout the county. The list of stations is here. The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will also host two Bike Home Parties, on in Sonoma (meet at MacArthur Place, 29 East MacArthur Street, at 5:45 p.m.) and one in Santa Rosa (meet at Community Market, 1899 Mendocino Avenue, at 5:45 p.m.).

In addition to the Bay Area and Santa Cruz, Arcata is also celebrating Bike to Work Day before the National Bike to Work Day on May 20. That happened today, with an energizer station at the Arcata North Coast Co-op and a noon rally on the Plaza, followed by a bike ride along the Arcata City Trail. Tomorrow, a program of Bike Film Shorts will be held at the Siren's Song Tavern from 7 to 9 p.m., and Bike Party takes place on Saturday, May 14, among other events.

We'll have coverage of areas that celebrate Bike to Work Day next week in the coming days. Send in your photos and reports of your local event—and let us know if we've missed any, and thanks to readers who've already corrected us!

(Hat tip to Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious for pointing out the longevity of Santa Cruz's BTWD)

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