With May being bike month, you might find yourself reaching for your bike helmet instead of the car keys. An easy way to remember what to check on your bike before heading out, especially if you haven’t ridden it in a while, is ‘ABC Quick Check‘:
A – Air: Check the air in your tires. Inflate to the pressure listed on the side of the tire. Spin the wheels and check for wear. If there’s less than 1/4” of tread, it’s time for a new set.
B – Brakes: Brake levers should stop short of reaching the handlebar when pulled. Brake pads should be clean, straight, and contact the rims. You should still be able to see the pattern of grooves in the brake pads. Check coaster brakes by spinning the back wheel and pushing the pedal backward.
C – Chain: The chain should move freely, be free of rust, and lightly oiled. Pro tip: Avoid solvents like WD40 on your chain – use a lubricant instead.
Quick – Quick-release levers: If your bike has quick-release levers, make sure they are all closed.
Check – Give the bike a gentle bounce, looking and listening for anything loose: Take a slow, brief ride to check that your bike seat and handlebars are adjusted to the right height and that everything is working properly.
If your bike needs attention beyond the ABC’s, take it to a local bike shop for a thorough tune-up.
If you’re not a regular bike commuter, here are some tips to help you get ready to ride:
1. Make sure your bike fits you properly. Bike size, saddle height and forward/backward position and handlebar height all play key parts in making you comfortable on your bike. If you know someone who can help you with all those measurements, great. If not, your local bike shop can easily help you get a great fit.
2. Get comfortable riding your bike. For many new cyclists, the biggest challenge is just getting comfortable riding – not to mention riding in traffic. Start by riding on quiet streets or empty parking lots, and then test out your skills riding with car traffic. Take it slow and steady and you’ll get the hang of it easily.
3. Remember the rules of the road. Bikes are subject to the same traffic rules as cars. That means stopping at traffic lights and stop signs, yielding to pedestrians, using “turn” signals to indicate where you’re going, etc. And be very aware of what drivers, other cyclists and pedestrians are doing. That’ll keep you safe and make your ride lots of fun.
4. Ride with friends or colleagues. One of the best ways to get into the groove of riding is to ride with others. Have friends who already ride regularly? Ask them to help you train. Have colleagues who ride to work? See if you can ride with them. They can all teach you some of the tricks to safe, fun riding and help you build your confidence in the meantime.
5. Be safe. Riding at night? Be sure to “light up” – flashers on the back, lights on the front – so you can be seen coming and going. How about a little extra protection just in case? Gloves for your hands, helmet for your head. If you happen to fall – even at a very slow speed – you’ll be glad to have coverage to absorb the impact.
6. Carrying your stuff. There are lots of ways to carry your stuff to work. Give it some thought so you can pick the one that you like best. From knapsacks to rear racks to front baskets and much more, how you carry your stuff is as individual as you are.
Now it’s time to get out there and ride. We’ll see you on Bike To Work Day!
This post originally appeared on the blog at BayAreaBikeToWork.com. Click here for more information on Bike To Work Day.
Clipper START is a pilot program which provides single-ride transit discounts on all Contra Costa transit agencies, as well as BART, SF Bay Ferry, and others. Bay Area residents age 19-64 who meet certain income requirements can apply for the program and save up to 50% on local fares.
With a Clipper START fare card, riders can receive single-fare discounts from 20% to 50%. Households of four making $53,000 or less annually qualify for the program. Learn more and apply online at clipperstartcard.com.
A simple but effective way to have an impact on transportation projects is by giving your feedback during the planning phase. Get involved and give your input on the Link21 regional transit project (BART, Capitol Corridor), bike and pedestrian accessibility in your area (Caltrans), and projects in Concord, Antioch, San Pablo, and Pleasant Hill.
Click any button below to jump to the related survey page
Link21 (BART, Capitol Corridor): Link21 will transform Northern California’s passenger rail network into a faster, more connected system, providing safe, efficient, and affordable travel for everyone. At the core of Link21 is a new transbay crossing for BART and Regional Rail. Provide your thoughts on the draft goals and objectives.
This survey is now closed
Caltrans Active Transportation Plan Survey: Help Caltrans plan for biking and walking improvements in your area. Identify concerns you believe need to be addressed to better walking and biking on and along State Routes near you.
Antioch Safe Streets: The City of Antioch is working to identify potential traffic safety projects. Your input is essential for the development of their Local Roadway Safety Plan. Use the interactive map on the Antioch Safe Streets site to share your concerns regarding traffic and safety.
San Pablo Bicycle & Pedestrian Corridor Study: This is a project to make 10 high-priority streets and paths in the City of San Pablo safer and easier for walking and cycling. Survey respondents can enter their name and email for the chance to win a $50 gift card.
City of Concord Downtown Corridors Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project: Help people get around more easily by bicycle and on foot around Todos Santos Plaza and Concord BART station. The city is looking to update pedestrian curb ramps and pavement striping in those areas and they need your input.
Monument Corridor Study (Pleasant Hill): Help the City of Pleasant Hill improve Monument Blvd. between Contra Costa Blvd. and Mohr Ln. for walking, biking, and transit. Use the interactive map to mark a location you feel needs improvement and describe the issue.
With 2021 now upon us, you should be aware of these three new laws affecting motorists:
Unattended children in motor vehicles: Exempts a person from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
“Move Over, Slow Down” amendments: The “Move Over, Slow Down” law has been expanded to apply to local streets and roads. Drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, including tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles, must move to another lane when possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all highways, not just freeways. [Effective Jan. 1, 2021]
Points for distracted driving: Beginning July 1, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driving record.
For more information on new driving-related laws taking effect in 2021, click below.
Right now, you’ve got the opportunity to recognize your favorite bike commuter. If you know someone whose commitment to their bike commute is inspiring, nominate them for the 2020 Bike Commuter of the Year Award.
As part of the annual Bike to Work Day celebration, each county crowns one dedicated cyclist Bike Commuter of the Year. You have until March 27 to let us know who you think should receive the title.
The nomination process is incredibly simple: submit the nominee’s name and a quick explanation of why they should win and you’re done!
511 Contra Costa and the Miles app have teamed up to help you get the most out of your commute!
Download the Miles app, and you’ll start earning points called ‘miles’ anytime you walk, bike, ride transit or take the ferry, or drive in Contra Costa and beyond. The greener your mode of travel, the more points you’ll earn!
Your miles can be converted into rewards which you choose, selecting from a wide range of products and services. A sample of companies offering Miles rewards appears at the bottom of the page.
Click either download button to get started. For more information about how the Miles app rewards points for travel, visit the Miles website.
Looking for free summer activities that are fun for the whole family? Check out 511CC’s Summer Bike Challenge!
Available in Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Oakley, and Brentwood, the Challenge offers healthy fun for all ages, and the best part: it’s completely free.
Participating is easy: Download a printable Challenge Card, hop on a bike, and start exploring your hometown. Bike to each destination, cross off squares as you go, and pick up Free Stuff on select dates throughout summer. Free Stuff events are planned June 1–August 6. Mark your calendar today!
Great Weather Creates High Bike to Work Day Turnout
Thousands of East Bay residents pedaled to work on Thursday, May 10 to celebrate the 24th annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day. Morning counts taken at East Bay Energizer Stations tallied 19,800 people either stopping in or rolling by. In Contra Costa alone, over 4,000 riders were counted.
The event’s 48 Energizer Stations were located next to popular bike commute routes, along regional trails, at BART and other transit stations, and in downtown areas around Contra Costa. Volunteers cheered cyclists on by giving away coffee, snacks, and free Bike to Work Day bags.
Free Bike Bells: At the 511 Contra Costa Energizer station in Walnut Creek, the East Bay Regional Park District affixed over 200 free bike bells as part of their “Share Our Trails: Ring or Call Out” trail safety and etiquette program.
A BTWD Success Story: Sometimes all it takes is one bike commute for people to realize they’d like to bike to work regularly. That’s what happened with K. Myers – she literally started cycling on Bike to Work Day and is now committed to making her commute between Concord and Walnut Creek by bicycle every Thursday to work at AAA. When asked how she would get home in the case of emergency, she said, “Uber, Lyft or GIG if it was available in Walnut Creek.” Clayton to Concord for a Decade: Steve Biggs has been bike commuting between Clayton and Concord most days for the past 10 years. Although he biked for fitness throughout much of his life, it was only 10 years ago that Bike to Work Day inspired him to try biking to work. This year’s BTWD was his 10th year anniversary as a bike commuter, so he whipped up a bike-blended smoothie on the trail.
Steve recently bought an e-bike which allowed him to commute in the driving rain this past winter. He discovered that with his e-bike he was able to travel more in step with cars on the road, making him feel safer.
During the summer Steve rides his road bike. He loves cycling to work and to the grocery store. An added bonus from cycling to work is that it has increased his fitness level for his double centuries (200 mi. rides).
Bike to School Events: Bike to Work Day wasn’t just for commuters – local students and teachers joined in the fun with 117 schools hosting Bike to School Day festivities on Thursday and throughout National Bike Month this May.
Participation Up Substantially: Participation in Bike to Work Day has increased 30% over the past five years.
Elected Officials Join on Two Wheels
In Brentwood, Mayor Robert Taylor and Brentwood Traffic Engineer, Steve Kersevan, joined the Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club at their City Park Energizer Station.
Moment of the Day
Longtime Bike to Work Day volunteer Dick Anderson (age 82), who hosted the Martinez Amtrak Energizer Station, had a story to share which seems sums up the ‘people helping people’ spirit behind Energizer Stations: A young couple got off the last train of the morning commute. They were about to transfer their boxed bikes to an AMTRAK bus to continue their journey. After I presented them with bike bags, Gatorade and bagels they offered to pay me for them. I told her that I do this strictly as a volunteer and I’d never accept any payment anyway. Since I was ready to pack up for the day, the fellow offered to take the table I borrowed from AMTRAK back for me, saving me the effort.
Do you use the North Concord/Martinez or Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station? Live or work in East County? BART wants your input!
With plans to expand East Contra Costa service in 2018, BART is conducting a study to identify projects to improve access to stations for pedestrians, bikes, vehicles and transit. They’ve drafted a preliminary document identifying barriers and proposing improvements, and now they want to hear from you!
For more information or to submit feedback, visit the North Concord to Antioch BART Study webpage.
During 2016’s Bike To Work Day, tens of thousands of people biked to work across the Bay Area. Among them were thousands of first-time bike commuters! We caught up with three first-timers during their commute home and asked them about their experiences.
One cyclist was commuting by bike from Walnut Creek to Danville. Not only did she consider the ride to work easy and peaceful, she’s now confident she can cycle to work on days she doesn’t have to pick up her children.
We also talked with two women who traded their daily carpool together from Pleasant Hill to San Ramon for a bike ride. It was their first time bikepooling!
As recreational cyclists, they were familiar with the cycling gear needed for biking to work. How did they clean up at work after the ride in? “We just threw in a pair of jeans, wore the same blouse, [brought] a face wipe & a washcloth. The ride is flat so we weren’t that sweaty. It was easy, really!”
Asked if they’d continue to cycle to work they said they definitely would in the summertime, perhaps not every day but they could probably do it once a week. That’s an elimination of 52 cold starts of the car. If they can do it, you can too!
If you bike commute currently or just want to give it a try, visit our Biking page for tips & resources.
Caltrans has set a target to triple bicycling by 2020, but in order to make that happen, they need your help!
The Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Plan, which is currently being created, will guide California’s decision makers in developing bicycle projects and programs. With over 2200 miles of road under their management, Caltrans is relying on local feedback to let them know what residents feel is and isn’t working and what improvements they’d like to see.
Completing the Bike Plan survey will assist Caltrans with their mission to build bicycle facilities that are safe, comfortable and convenient. These expanded and upgraded facilities will:
Improve public health and promote active lifestyles
Create connections that allow people to bike to work, school, or transit, and
Reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions
Caltrans want to hear from as many residents as possible, so please take the survey and help spread the word!
After a successful first year, the Summer Bike Challenge is back! This time around it’s open to both adults & children, so everyone can enjoy free stuff while exploring their town by bike.
Participation is easy: ride your bike to a destination on the square and check it off. Check off 12 squares by September 3 and you’re eligible to enter a drawing for an iPad Mini. Each city will have its own winner!
The Summer Bike Challenge is fun, healthy, no-cost summer recreation you can do with friends or as a family. However you do it, get out there and ride!
For more information, visit the Summer Bike Challenge page.
On Thursday, May 12, over 100,000 people across the Bay Area commuted by bike in celebration of Bike to Work Day, with more than 5,600 participants in Contra Costa alone! Morning counts across the Bay Area showed an increase in participation of more than 9 percent over last year. That’s amazing!
511 Contra Costa wants to thank all participants for making this another successful Bike to Work Day and for helping reduce CO2 emissions! We’d especially like to thank the hosts and volunteers who helped coordinate and staff the energizer stations throughout Contra Costa. By providing encouragement, snacks and mechanical assistance, you helped make bike commuting a reality for so many!
Whether you rode to work, volunteered or just want to see what things looked like at Energizer Stations on Bike To Work Day, you should check out our photo gallery below. Who knows – if you visited an Energizer station we just might have a photo of you!
If you participated in Bike to Work Day and want to keep commuting by bike (or want to try bike commuting for the first time), we’ve got resources to help make it fun and easy. Visit our Biking page for tips on how to become a bike commuter, to sign up for a BikeLink (bike locker) card, to learn about taking bikes on transit, and to find out how you can get a cash reward for making the switch to commuting by bike!
Bike to Work Day 2016 was a huge success and we’re thrilled about how many people got involved. Whether you participated this year or not, we hope to see you on your bike next year… if not sooner!
Photo Gallery: Bike To Work Day 2016
(Click any photo to see a larger version)
Morning Energizer Stations
Antioch: Mokelumne Trail at Prewett Park (hosted by the City of Antioch)
Brentwood: City Park (hosted by Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club)
El Cerrito: Ohlone Greenway (hosted by the City of El Cerrito)
Martinez: Central Contra Costa Sanitary (hosted by Central Contra Costa Sanitary District)
Pleasant Hill: Contra Costa Canal Trail & Gregory Ln (hosted by Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District)
San Pablo: City Hall (hosted by the City of San Pablo)
Walnut Creek: Contra Costa Canal Trail & Geary Rd
Walnut Creek: Contra Costa Canal Trail & N. Wiget Ln (hosted by Renaissance ClubSport)
Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Broadway/Newell Ave (hosted by Beeline Bikes & Whole Foods Market)
Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Contra Costa Canal Trail (hosted by CCTA, 511CC & EBRPD)
Walnut Creek: S. Main St & Newell Ave (hosted by Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center)
Walnut Creek: Olympic Blvd & Newell Ave (hosted by Bike Walnut Creek)
Walnut Creek: Ygnacio Canal Trail & Contra Costa Trail (hosted by Encina Bicycle Center)
Afternoon Energizer Stations
Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Contra Costa Canal Trail (hosted by CCTA, 511CC & EBRPD)
If you’re still on the fence about biking to work, or are biking but worried about forgetting some vital piece of gear, we’ve got 4 tips to help make it a low-stress Bike To Work Day! These suggestions originally appeared in a Time.com article promoting Bike To Work Day 2015 and they’re worthy of a re-post: Don’t get overwhelmed with tons of gear. It’s a good idea for anyone who rides a bike to know how to patch a tire. But if you get a flat and you aren’t sure how to fix it you are most like going to call somebody to pick you up. The point is that it’s not necessary to get bogged down loading up with gear in anticipation of every potential pitfall during a cycling commute. Forget cycling apparel. Wear a helmet. Other than that, no other bikewear is necessary, assuming your commute isn’t 30 miles of windy hills. “You don’t have to wear special cycling gear in order to ride a bike, everyday clothes work just fine,” advises the League of American Bicyclists. “If your bike doesn’t have a chain guard, you can keep your pants away from the chain by rolling up your pant leg or using a leg band.” Plot the most sensible route. If your bicycling commute route isn’t obvious, do a little research. The shortest ride by distance is not necessarily the easiest or smartest way to go. It’s often worth it to go a bit out of your way to hook up with trails and other paths reserved for non-automobile traffic, or at least to ride on roads with dedicated bike lines or extra-wide shoulders. [Editor’s Note: We suggest trying 511CC’s Bike Mapper to plan your route to work.] Scope out the basics ahead of time. Get a good lock and know where you’re going to park your bike during the work day. Figure out the options for grabbing a shower, or at least washing up after the commute. Perhaps there is a gym nearby to negotiate a shower fee with, or maybe there are showers at the office office.
Bike To Work Day is about having fun getting to work, so if you’ve got a bicycle, a helmet and the desire to bike to work, you can do this!
For additional information and resources, visit our Bike To Work Day page.
Can Bike To Work Day change your life? Ask Steve Biggs of Clayton. He tried bike commuting in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since!
Before Bike To Work Day 2009, Steve wasn’t sure that bike commuting was for him. He’d never tried biking to work, having concerns about finding a good route, being able to get cleaned up after the ride, and not arriving late. But on May 14, 2009, he rode from Clayton to Lafayette on Bike To Work Day and was hooked!
Steve continued commuting by bike, and when he hit the six-month mark we wrote about him on our blog.
We checked in with Steve and it turns out that almost 7 years after his first bike commute he’s still going strong!
We asked Steve if he would share his bike commuting experience with us. Here’s what he had to say: His Commute
Currently Steve bikes to work 4 days a week. His 16-mile commute from Clayton to Lafayette takes about 70 minutes — only 15 minutes more than if he had driven. He learned it’s worth taking a longer route if it helps him avoid congestion and dangerous intersections, finds most motorists to be considerate, and prefers mixed-use paths over roads because they’re not crowded during the week. What He Enjoys About It
Beyond the bump cycling to work gives his fitness, Steve enjoys the calm he finds on the morning rides. It lets him brainstorm for the coming work day, organize his thoughts, and arrive at work feeling energized and focused. The daily rides even act as training miles for when he’s on the mountain bike — which helped him complete the Leadville 100 in Colorado, a 100-mile mountain bike race which starts at an altitude of 10,152 feet! Strategies
According to Steve, a little planning goes a long way: Keep an extra set of clothes at work. Find a secure place to store your bike, preferably inside the office. Think about where you can freshen up after your ride (some health clubs offer ‘shower memberships’). Spend some time thinking about how you’ll transport your belongings on the bike. And most importantly, “Get used to the route before commuting to work.” Try riding it on the weekend when you’re less pressed for time. Find a Bike Mentor
If you’re on the fence about bike commuting, Steve suggests finding a mentor or someone to help you get prepared and plan your route. Not only can experienced bike commuters share pitfalls to avoid and strategies which work for them, they often know cut-throughs (which aren’t on the map) that help you bypass congested or dangerous roads. If there isn’t someone in your office who bikes to work, you can find a Bike Buddy via the 511.org website.
There’s no better time than Bike To Work Day to see what it’s like to commute by bike! Look what it did for Steve. Who knows what it might do for you?
For information on Bike To Work Day, including resources to help you plan your route and find an Energizer station, visit the 511cc Bike To Work Day page.
On Bike to Work Day, reward yourself for commuting by bicycle with an after-work street party in Concord!
The Bike to Work Day Celebration will be on Salvio Street between Grant and Mount Diablo Streets from 5-8pm. There will be free valet bike parking, live music, and demos of e-bikes & bikes built to transport kids and groceries.
In addition, Bike Concord will be providing free bike repair and EJ Phair will donate 10% of food and drink proceeds when patrons mention Bike Concord.
If you’ll be in the area but can’t stay for the party, make sure to stop by the afternoon Energizer station at Salvio and Grant, open from 4-7pm.
Want help mapping your bike ride to work? Try using the 511CC Bike Mapper!
For additional Bike To Work Day resources, including a complete list of morning and afternoon Energizer stations, click here.
For the month of May, teams will earn points for commuting & running errands by bike. At month’s end, the team with the most points in Contra Costa County will win a prize from REI!
The Team Bike Challenge website makes tracking your miles easy, plus you can challenge yourself and your friends with your personalized leaderboard.
Green bike lanes have landed in Walnut Creek just in time for Bike to Work Day! The bike lane on Olympic Blvd has been painted green on the segment between N. California and the I-680 on ramp. The creation of green bike lanes has been on the rise in the Bay Area since San Francisco’s first green lanes on Fell Street in 2010. It’s an inexpensive way to remind motorists to stay alert for cyclists, especially when drivers have to enter the green-painted area to change lanes or make a turn.
Does the painting of bike lanes help? A report on Portland’s painted bike lanes concluded:
The percentage of motorists yielding increased to 92 percent, a 27 percent increase… The overwhelming majority [of cyclists] (76 percent) felt that the locations were safer since the installation.
Given the benefits of painted bike lanes, it’s no surprise that at least 7 of the projects that made People for Bikes‘ list of the Best New Bike Lanes feature green paint.
If you want to see what the future of bike lanes might look like (or just drool over some amazing bike infrastructure), check out People for Bikes’ America’s 10 Best New Bike Lanes of 2015.
Know someone whose go-to mode of transportation is their bicycle? Someone who’d rather ride than drive? A person who uses their bike to get to work, grab groceries or take the kids to school? If so, nominate them for Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY)!
The Contra Costa BCOY award recognizes an individual’s dedication to riding their bike for everyday transportation. If you know someone who routinely chooses riding their bike over driving, nominate them now. The deadline is tonight (Monday, April 4) at midnight… so hurry! BCOY Online Nomination Form
Ask your friends, colleagues and neighbors to form a team with you and pedal your way to a greener, healthier and happier commute while earning points and medals! There are big prizes to be had in both Challenges, plus it’s a fun and easy way to see just how much biking does for your health, budget and the environment.
Need help planning your route?
511 Contra Costa’s Bike Mapper is the innovative and open bicycle mapping system specially designed to find flat, most direct, or fastest routes anywhere in Contra Costa County. Read more about the 511CC Interactive Bike Mapper here, or check out our selection of free paper and online bike maps.
Contra Costa County Energizer Station Map
Contra Costa County Energizer Station List
PM hours in bold Alamo
Iron Horse Trail at the Alamo Trail Head, 7:00-10:00 am, RPM Mortgage
In October, Governor Brown signed legislation into law which clarifies how electric bicycles (e-bikes) should be operated in the state of California.
The law, which takes effect January 1, creates three classes of e-bikes. Class 1 consists of pedal-assist e-bikes while Class 2 consists of e-bikes with throttles. Both classes are limited to motor-assisted speeds of 20 miles per hour and will be allowed to use the same lanes, paths & roadways as traditional (non-electric) bicycles.
Class 3 consists of pedal-assist bikes which can reach assisted speeds of up to 28 miles per hour. This class is restricted to roadways and bike lanes on roadways – they are not permitted on bike paths. Helmets for Class 3 e-bikes are mandatory and riders must be at least 16 years old to use them.
The new law is designed to ensure that e-bikes are treated like traditional bicycles instead of mopeds. As with traditional bicycles, no one riding an e-bike from any of the three classes will be required to have a driver’s license or license plate for their bicycle.
Visit the People for Bikes blog for more on this story.
Take our pop-up poll
If shared electric bikes and scooters were available in your neighborhood, which are you most likely to use?