This post was contributed by guest blogger, Adam Loraine of San Mateo Cool Cities.

On the morning of Saturday, August 19, SVBC and local riders proved that bicycling is alive and thriving in the City of San Mateo!

Twenty-two riders met at San Mateo’s downtown Caltrain station, a hub of local cycling activity. Riders arriving here by train will find themselves just a quick ride away from Central Park, great local cafés and restaurants, and more.

Even those who don’t have a bike can now enjoy riding here, thanks to Bay Bikes, San Mateo’s new bikeshare program. These bikes are always available on racks at the station.

Once we had a quick review of bicycle safety and the route—an easy 6-mile ride around the city, with a stop in between—our diverse group of families, riding enthusiasts, and casual riders saddled up and prepared to depart. Their bicycles were diverse, too: road bikes, hybrids, family tandems, and a few Bay Bikes.

Our crew included a special guest: Officer Vanegas from the Downtown Office of San Mateo Police Department. The department learned about our ride and asked if Officer Vanegas could accompany us: to watch over the group, help people cross streets, and manage car traffic if necessary. Yes, of course he was welcome, and a great addition to our ride!

After riding downtown on B Street—which received sharrows on the road last year—we headed southwest to Palm Avenue’s bike lane through San Mateo’s famous Central Park (friendly to slow, careful cycling traffic).

Following a pleasant mile or so down Palm Ave. in sunny San Mateo weather, we turned onto 25th Avenue for a quick pit stop. Riders grabbed coffee and donuts at some of San Mateo’s burgeoning “Shops on 25th.” We also got to see a preview of upcoming eclipse activities at Reach & Teach, a bike-friendly local business with racks right outside.

We then headed southeast to the newly extended southern end of Delaware Avenue, a main thoroughfare for San Mateo’s new Bay Meadows neighborhood. On some streets that may not even be a year old—some with bike lanes, some with sharrows—we rode by Nueva School, the new SurveyMonkey building, and Fieldwork Brewing Company, which just opened earlier this year.

Then we took a back road toward Franklin Parkway and Saratoga Avenue, another newer road in San Mateo with a nice bike lane uncontested by parked cars (no cars allowed at the curb). We passed many Bay Bikes hubs along the way: at 25th Avenue, Nueva School, Hillsdale Caltrain Station, and Kaiser Permanente.

After turning back onto Delaware, we rode through a section north of Concar Drive that serves as a pilot of Sustainable Streets planning in San Mateo. A combination of “complete streets” and “green streets” ideas, this stretch of “sustainable street” had us riding in another bike lane without cars on the curb: hooray! Soon afterward, we found ourselves back where we began just before noon.

Thank you to everyone who joined this fun ride and special thanks to the following for making it all possible:

  • SVBC (of course) for making this Social Ride possible and promoting it to their members. You may have a few new members soon! :-) Thank you for promoting bicycling in San Mateo, the Peninsula, and beyond!
  • The City of San Mateo for making rides on Bay Bikes free of charge for this Social Ride, and especially Christine Ferry for coming along and taking photos! Even people who don’t own bikes can now join Social Rides in San Mateo. That’s pretty cool! Let’s keep working together to ensure our city becomes more bike-friendly every year!
  • Officer Vanegas of SMPD for keeping our riders safe and organized throughout the trip. He did an amazing job and made the ride much smoother and more enjoyable. Thank you for your time and service, and thank you to Officer David Johnson and the Downtown Office for offering to come along. What a great idea! It’s great to know that SMPD prioritizes bike safety for its residents!
  • Craig and Derrick at Reach and Teach for giving our riders a cool place to take a quick break. We got a chance to patronize (or window-shop) the fine Shops on 25th Avenue, and also see a sneak peek at how cool the then-upcoming eclipse was going to be.
  • Finally, thank you to the San Mateo Cool Cities team for taking the baton led by SVBC to conduct bike rides in San Mateo! Cool Citizen Carol Steinfeld helped get the word out and was our “sweep” rider for the day, while Dave Clark and Nickie Irvine provided photography and other support as well. I hope that this will be the start of regular bike rides all over our fair city!