For those who missed it, the 7th annual Bike Palo Alto on Sunday October 2 drew more than 800 kids, adults, and families, an increase of 14% over last year. Bike Palo Alto is an annual, volunteer-driven, community event in which participants are encouraged to try biking in their neighborhood. Over 70 volunteers came together to offer one of three highlighted bike routes through Palo Alto that are perfect to access the many destinations in the city. In addition, the opening stop at El Carmelo Elementary School, offered a bike rodeo, free bike repair, free helmet fittings, and a free bike light giveaway. See additional pictures on our Facebook page.

The goal of the event is to show people who don’t normally bike that there are great alternatives to many busy car-oriented streets that can be more comfortable for people biking, especially new riders. For example, the Ellen Fletcher bike boulevard on Bryant St. offers a calm route to downtown. This year, the Downtown/Menlo Park route was the favorite, with 46% of riders heading to the Bike & Roll Expo at City Hall (see below), while 34% chose the Monroe Park/Los Altos route and 20% headed to the Baylands/Midtown route.

This year, the City of Palo Alto added a Bike & Roll Expo in front of City Hall, which featured vendors for bikes, electric bikes, scooters, local restaurants, transit, and other local groups. In addition, a two-block portion of Bryant featured a pop-up demo of a parking-protected bike lane on both sides of the street from Forest Ave. to University Ave. Because those two blocks currently have diagonal vehicle parking, it can be a tricky section for people biking on the well-known bike boulevard once they reach downtown. City staff demonstrated the potential project to gather feedback on the proposed change.

For the second year in a row, event participants received Frequent Rider Cards to encourage them to keep riding to community businesses. This year, 800 cards were distributed. How it works: ride a bike to a participating merchant, get a stamp, and turn in the completed cards for a prize drawing at the end of the year. (Psst! Menlo Park loves this idea and will be rolling out their own Frequent Rider Card starting at the end of this month at the City’s Halloween Hoopla. See more info: bikemenlopark.org).

It was a great day for biking and mixing and mingling with bike aficionados (including many of SVBC members as participants and volunteers, as well as Palo Alto City Council members and staff). Thanks to all the volunteers who made this happen as well as City of Palo Alto and additional sponsors for their support. Hope to see you next year!