May 10, 2018

Bike to Work Day Bunch

Bike to Work Day for me isn't just a another day to bike to work. That would be too simple.

It's a day to lead my colleagues to work.

Group of cyclists stopped in a green bike lane, waiting for a green light, Cupertino, California.
There will always be riders to join me: some new, some regulars. We had an impressive contingent of first-timers, this year. Some sign up, some drop out, some know where (and roughly when) to meet us en route, and some ... just show up. One doesn't even work for the same company any more.

It all comes together, somehow.

With portable speakers on one rider's handlebars, the voice of Jim Morrison set the pace: Riders on the Storm.

By now, we have the timing well sorted out. Moments after we arrived at our rendezvous point, my co-leader rounded the corner with his group (eleven!) in tow.

pep taking a group photo at the rendezvous point, Campbell, California
After the traditional briefing (the most important rule: Have fun!) and group photo, our line of twenty-odd riders headed up the first bike bridge of the morning. Our route would carry us high above four different freeways, and more than one rider cackled gleefully at three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic stopped below. “Wave!” I shouted.

I can always count on extra help: The rider who darts over to press the “walk” button to give us a longer interval for crossing major streets. The rider who hangs at the back, offering encouragement and ensuring that we lose no one.

As usual, we invaded the “energizer station” in a neighboring town, refueling on coffee cake (and for those who wanted it, actual coffee). As usual, they were highly amused. Many photos were taken, including a ring of ankles bedecked in last year's colorful Bike to Work Day socks.

The biggest surprise was meeting one of our executives there. My co-leader and I had no idea that our organization's senior vice president was on that town's bicycle advisory committee. And he certainly wasn't expecting to see the two of us roll up, trailing two dozen cyclists.

This was also our bifurcation point, this year. Roughly half the group followed my co-leader to Mountain View, while I led the rest to Sunnyvale. [My, how the company has grown!] Our building's bike storage room could hold no more.

Vertical bike racks, filled to capacity in a bike storage room, Sunnyvale, California
My co-leader was game to try my route home; I did my best to keep the pace brisk. (For my definition of brisk; slow, for him.) I rounded out the day with 38 miles and 880 feet of climbing, but that's not the whole story.

After Sunday's 53-mile ride, I can tell you that my legs were sore on Monday. [Eh, whatever. Get over it.]

In honor of Bike to Work Week this year, I dialed it up a notch. [Okay, maybe a couple of notches.] There was also a round-trip commute on Monday (36 miles), plus one-way trips on Tuesday and Wednesday (together, 36 miles). That adds up to 110 miles of commuting and 2,920 feet of climbing for the week. Last year, I wasn't confident I'd make it past the rendezvous point.

Friday's a rest day. I need my legs for Mt. Hamilton on Saturday.

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