Instead of making the hour-long commute in his car from San Francisco to the Google campus in Mountain View every day, Scott Crosby found a better way to travel: his bike.
The Google employee said he first began riding the 42-mile journey down U.S. Highway 101 in 2005 to lose weight and get back into shape.
“After getting oriented [at Google] the first few months, I realized I needed to get on the bike again,” he said. “And commuting on the 101 is really demoralizing.”
Now, Crosby bikes as many as four days per week and stays home one other day, when he telecommutes.
What began five years ago as a handful of co-workers biking to work has grown into more than 1,100 names on the SF2Google mailing list to ride the length of the Peninsula.
The group also participates in Bike to Work Day every May — a day to encourage drivers to get out of their cars and find another way to get to work.
“It’s always a different mix of people riding,” Crosby said. “Which is part of the fun riding. You’re never alone.”
Faye Steiner is one of those riders who started biking to work because it seemed like something fun to do. Steiner’s daily trek began in June with her sister. The pair started in Millbrae before joining the group from San Francisco.
Steiner said she had never ridden more than 15 minutes on a bicycle, which included her commute from her Palo Alto home to the Stanford campus. To participate in the ride, though, she would take Caltrain to her sister’s home in San Francisco before moving to The City herself.
“It’s all sorts of reverse causality,” she said. “The bike commute facilitated the move to San Francisco and the move facilitates cycling. It all feeds each other.”
Now, Steiner rides as many as three times each week from San Francisco to her office in Palo Alto.
The ride, Steiner said, makes her feel good mentally and physically.
“I really like riding my bike,” Steiner said. “It’s great exercise and I get to skip the gym on days I ride.”
Crosby said for those interested but nervous about joining in on the long journey, the group holds a monthly First Friday
Friendly Frolic — a ride at a slower pace where no biker is left behind.
Though the ride into work combines commuting with gym time, the shuttles provided by Google help with the evening commute back by avoiding head winds up the Peninsula.
“I ride one way to work,” Crosby said. “And I get to catch up on sleep on the way home.”
Biking to work
Several Google employees ride their bikes to work from San Francisco to the company’s campus in Mountain View.
Commute time: 2.5 hours
Participants on daily basis: 20-30 riders
Riders interested in commuting by bike: 1,100
Source: SF2Google organizers