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[whitespace] Bike advocates push pedaling on Bike to Work Day

Cupertino--For Cupertino resident Jeff Howard, Bike to Work Day won't be a big deal. Every workday, Howard rides his bike about 10 miles to work at San Jose International Airport, where he is a weight and balance specialist for an airline.

Howard says he'll be out making his usual 40-minute morning commute as he always does, on two wheels, on Bike to Work Day on May 16. But that day, Howard won't be the only one pedaling around town.

Organizers in Cupertino, including city officials and corporate sponsors, will get into the act on Tuesday, May 16, to help promote Bike to Work Day. Local organizers say they hope to top last year's turnout of 300 sometimes-cyclists.

The event, sponsored by RIDES for Bay Area Commuters, brought out about 8,000 cycling commuters throughout the Bay Area last year. The event is part of the California Bicycle Coalition's statewide Bike to Work Week.

Anne Ng, a member of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a local organizer for Bike to Work Day, says the city will help sponsor the third annual Cycle Commute Cupertino during the week of May 14-20. Residents who pledge to ride to work or school during the week will be eligible for a May 26 drawing of prizes donated by local bike shops.

RIDES also will sponsor three energizer stations around the city, where volunteers will hand out energy drinks, coffee, sunscreen and special shoulder bags to bicyclists. The stations will operate from 7 to 9 a.m. on May 26, in front of the Quinlan Community Center on Stelling Road, at Pruneridge and Tantau and at De Anza Boulevard and Mariani.

Pledge cards are available at local bike shops, the library, City Hall and the Courier office.

"What we're pushing for is using bicycles for transportation," Ng said. "A lot of people use them for recreation, but we're trying to get other people to use their bicycles to get where they're going."

Councilman Don Burnett, one of the city's most visible cyclist commuters, says he'll be pedaling to wherever he needs to go on Bike to Work Day, just as on any other day of the year.

"It provides a real opportunity for people to find out how easy it can be to get to work," Burnett said. "In Cupertino, there are a lot of safe and quiet back street ways to get around."

Burnett said some of his secrets include going from the end of Mariani Avenue (which cars can't do) and taking back streets all the way to Vallco, or using the bike bridge in Creekside Park to traverse the city from Lawrence Expressway all the way to De Anza College.

"The big idea is just to bring up the idea [of cycling] in people's minds at a time of year when it's really pleasant to ride."

In general, Burnett said, the numbers aren't too encouraging. "The highest numbers are from the census, where they ask people how they get to work. It's about 3 percent, and it would be really nice to get those numbers up."

For more information on Bike to Work Day, check www.rides.org., or call RIDES at 800.755.POOL.
Jeff Kearns

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Web extra to the May 11-17, 2000 issue of Metro.

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