My bike to Work Day began at 6:45 am (not my finest hour), when I boarded a vacant northbound Caltrain to Mountain View. It was pretty early, and I suppose most people riding the rails at that hour opted for the baby bullet that departed a few minutes earlier, so I was all alone in the bike car. No worries about getting bumped, at least!
A fifteen-minute train ride and quick pedal across town and I arrived at Google, where my man on the inside Pete Boggini was already sitting at the Energizer Station, counting riders and doling out bananas. This being my first time at the Googleplex, Pete helpfully pointed out some landmarks like the giant-dessert-laden Android building, adorned with a cupcake, eclair, and other sweet-treat sculptures. What a bunch of weirdos!
Later, Pete took me into a nearby courtyard where I caught a glimpse of the amazing effort the company puts into promoting Bike to Work Day for its employees. Massage tables, free mini breakfast burritos, custom Google BTWD t-shirts, an espresso bar (also free, I'm sure), and a giant whiteboard to tally the numbers of bike riders arriving from different localities all greeted me. I don’t know what the winning hometown cyclists won – a unicorn, maybe – but there was no doubt that the friendly competition added to everyone’s enthusiasm. I was given a burrito and t-shirt – yay, perks! It's no wonder Google gets about 1,500 employees riding in each year – even the most pampered employees like a little festivity in their honor. Did I mention breakfast burritos? I'm definitely suggesting a similar setup for SVBC Global Headquarters.
After tallying some 616 bike riders, passing out over 200 Bike to Work Day bags, and signing up 17 new SVBC members, I bid my Googler buddies adieu and made my way back to the Caltrain station and the office. A couple of hours later, I was pacing around the Art Ark Gallery in San José, making sure we were ready to open the doors and begin the Bike Away From Work Bash. The art was up, food was out, drinks were cold, and our very focused volunteers were ready to park a hundred or so bikes. It was time for merry-making!
The party was, in my opinion, the most fun Bike Bash yet. The setting was a hit, the weather was lovely, and we had plenty of burritos and beer. (I’m seeing a strong correlation between happy cyclists and burritos. And beer. Mostly burritos, though.) Corinne said a few words; we all applauded Ian Emmons, our Bicycle Commuter of the Year; and San José’s Directors of Transportation and Economic Development took the mic for a few minutes to congratulate all who biked to work and pledged an ongoing commitment to keep the city on track to become more bike-friendly and welcoming to active, creative, urban culture. Aren't we fancy? Yes we are.
By 9:00 or 9:30, we were pretty much wrapped up. It was at least a 14-hour day for most of the SVBC staff, but it was well worth it. It was a record day for participation, press coverage, volunteerism, and new SVBC memberships. Like the rest of my colleagues, I’d like to thank Jen Brecheen for working ‘till she (almost) dropped to make BTWD 2012 a huge, fun, flawless event!