Drivers asked to bike for a day

Commuters of the human-powered, two-wheeled type are expected to swarm the Peninsula on Thursday for Bike to Work Day. They’ll be greeted by 22 “energizer stations” along their way.

Last year, nearly 1,200 Peninsula bicyclists took part in the effort to highlight alternative methods of commuting and the health and environmental benefits of biking to work. The Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, which is helping organize the stations in San Mateo County, said it hopes to beat that total Thursday.

The Bay Area Bicycle Coalition is hosting the 13th annual event along with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and other transit agencies and private sponsors around the Bay Area in order to encourage biking to work instead of driving.

Up to 100,000 across the Bay Area are expected to take part in the event, which should demonstrate that a four-mile bike ride can keep up to 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air, according to Relief Alliance.

Forty percent of San Mateo County workers live within five miles of work, and a 150-pound bicyclist can burn 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles an hour, according to the Relief Alliance.

“It is a day — if you’re not biking regularly at all — it’s certainly a day to try it,” said Christine Maley-Grubl, executive director of the Relief Alliance.

Josh Perez, 36, the service manager at Summit Bicycles in Burlingame, has ridden his bike to work from the Mission district in San Francisco on and off for the past 10 years.

Perez said he does it because it is “more pleasant” than driving and offers both health and environmental benefits.

“[Biking] is a good start to the day,” he said. “Sitting in the car rather than pedaling a bike puts you in a different mood for the afternoon.”

As for showing up a little bit sweaty, Perez said he has “learned how to take bird baths and make it work.”

dsmith@examiner.com

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