Bike to Work Day May 9 in Santa Cruz Rolls Out New Bike Challenge and 12 Free Breakfast Sites
By Karen Kefauver
Bike to Work Day in Santa Cruz ranks right up there with July Fourth and Thanksgiving as one of my favorite days of the year. I get to wake up, roll out of bed and immediately do a few of my favorite things: ride my bike, munch on free breakfast treats and socialize with my fellow cyclists. What a delicious combination!
While Bike to Work Day isn’t an official holiday (yet!), there’s a celebratory mood as both new and experienced bikers, adults and kids alike, ditch their cars, meet up at different sites around the county and enjoy a free breakfast together.
As an added bonus, some breakfast spots also offer free massage and bike tune-ups from local bike shop mechanics.
This year’s May 9 Bike to Work Day happens at 12 sites around the county spanning from the base of the UCSC bike path to Watsonville’s Civic Auditorium. New breakfast spots this year include a first-ever “Mountain Bike to Work” gathering at the base of the Emma McCrary Trail on Golf Club Drive and at the just-opened New Leaf Markets in Aptos Village.
But Bike to Work Day has significance beyond fresh bagels, succulent strawberries, nutritious energy bars, piping hot coffee and other yummy snacks.
“It’s important to us to participate in Bike to Work Day because showing up is part of saying this is important,” said Santa Cruz resident Tricia Sven, mom to 5-year old Banyon. “It raises awareness and hopefully inspires more bicycle commuting. I love how much the staff of bike to work/school really help the kids feel they are doing something special” she said.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate. For the first time, organizer Ecology Action is expanding the 32ndannual event from Bike Week to a full Bike Month and is introducing the Bike Challenge — a chance to win $7500 cash and an electric bike.
“For 2019, a big factor is the month-long bike challenge which means tracking the number of bike trips you take in May,” said Ecology Action’s Piet Canin, whose twin sister, KT Canin, launched the event 30 years ago as a UC Santa Cruz project. “It’s a major, big prize drawing for anyone over 18. Now there are 7500 reasons to ride your bike in May.”
One of the key reasons that Tricia Sven and her husband Marc Sven believe in biking whenever possible is that it reflects their values of “being part of a community that cares about reducing car pollution, having fewer cars on the road and getting outdoor exercise.”
Now, Tricia and Banyon, 5, bike nearly every day to his preschool near downtown Santa Cruz.
“We had been living in Aptos the past years and when we moved close enough to bike, it felt like a huge relief to be out of the car and traffic. We do ride for fun in nature and around town for errands or going to the park when it is a distance our son can bike. Other times we try to use our electric bike (Ego) which is connected to a trailer he can ride in,” she said.
Canin, the Vice President of Transportation at Ecology Action, noted that electric bikes in particular are “the new normal.”
“Traffic is horrible and it’s getting worse,” he said. “Bikes help people go faster, farther and replace car trips which is good for the environment and community health.”
As for me, I’ve barely missed a Bike to Work Day since I moved to Santa Cruz in 1993, so I’ll see you out there celebrating cycling on May 9!
For more information on May 2019 Bike Month in Santa Cruz and how to register for the Bike Month Challenge, visit https://ecoact.org/bikemonth/.
Karen Kefauver is a freelance journalist and social media consultant.