City of Escalon employees Beckie Robbins and Tammy Alcantor both hopped aboard their old-fashioned bicycles – complete with decorative baskets on the front handlebars – while Dave Ruby dusted off his sleeker mountain bike model. But all three wheeled in to work on Friday, taking part in the observance of Bike to Work day.
It culminated a full week of awareness activities about biking to work, which not only offers health benefits to the riders but reduces traffic congestion and lessens air pollution.
Escalon city transit coordinator John Andoh said there were a handful of people, in addition to the city employees, who participated as well, stopping by the table he had set up in the parking lot adjacent to City Hall on McHenry Avenue.
“We had T-shirts, snacks, information,” Andoh said, noting that he was pleased some people took the time to visit the booth on Friday morning, May 16. “The goal is to do more of these.”
Andoh said the Escalon City Council was also supportive of the initiative, issuing a proclamation at the last council meeting recognizing Bike to Work week and encouraging participation by citizens in the May 16 Bike to Work day.
“We need to do some more aggressive marketing,” Andoh said of getting the word out about the Bike to Work observance.
He also wants to see more people take advantage of the city’s eTrans transit service and offered information on the local bus service to bicyclists.
“Ridership has been flat,” he admitted of the local bus routes. “I think part of that is that senior citizens are more able to stay independent longer now than when I first started here in 2000, they are keeping cars longer and are still able to drive themselves.”
The eTrans does fill a need for those that don’t have transportation and Andoh said they are also starting to market it more toward middle and high school students and those that want to get to Modesto for appointments or to attend college classes.
Information distributed by Andoh on Friday included bus schedules, costs, information on the Commute Connection services offered through San Joaquin County, in addition to healthy snacks to provide cyclists with energy.
Dave Ruby admitted to being the most serious bicyclist of the three city employees, while Robbins and Alcantor do more pleasure riding.
“I’ve raced before, on mountain bikes mostly,” Ruby explained. “It’s a fun hobby and it’s good for you, good for your health.”
Both Robbins and Alcantor said they logged about a mile from home to work on the bikes and enjoyed it, though Robbins said she had more than one person ask if her car had broken down.
“I usually ride just for fun,” Robbins said.