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Bike to Wherever Days to celebrate cycling with food and fun

This will be the first full out Bike to Wherever event since the pandemic, and organizers are excited about kicking off post-pandemic bicycling in a big way
Silicon Valley Bike Coalition volunteers Jane Ratchye, far left, and Sylvia Smullin, left, hand tote bags to Tom Haggerty, center, who commutes with his bike from San Francisco to Stanford, and other bicyclists at the Bike to Work Day energizing station at El Palo Alto Park. Volunteers handed out free tote bags, T-shirts, coffee and coffee cake to over 400 bicyclists at the station on May 9, 2019. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Bike to Wherever Days will be happening this Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20. Bikers can find events hosted by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) and Walk Bike Palo Alto throughout Palo Alto and by additional groups throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The event aims to encourage residents to "get out there and ride," Tim Oey of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition said.

This will be the first full out Bike to Wherever event since the pandemic, and organizers are excited about kicking off post-pandemic bicycling in a big way, Penny Ellson of Walk Bike Palo Alto said.

On Thursday, May 18, cyclists can choose from over 60 energizer stations set up on popular routes across Silicon Valley, where they can receive free food, prizes and information about safe cycling. Riders can find maps of locations and times the stations will be open on the SVBC website and/or the Walk Bike Palo Alto page.

Participants can pledge to ride on the SVBC site to receive a free tote bag at one of the energizer stations, be entered in a raffle to win prizes and help their city compete in the Pedal Power Challenge. Pledging is strongly encouraged but not required to participate.

In Mountain View, an energizer station will be open Thursday and Friday at the Mountain View Transit Center (600 W. Evelyn Ave.). Additional stations will be open Thursday and Saturday throughout the city.

Ellson will be at the Wilkie Bridge energizer station on Miller Avenue near Monroe Drive in Palo Alto serving pancakes to anyone who comes by on a bike.

From 5-7 p.m on May 18, supporters of the SVBC can attend the Bike Bash at Stanford Research Park at 3215 Porter Drive. Awards will be given out for the Santa Clara County Bike Champion of the Year and participants who RSVP online will be entered in a raffle to win an electric bike.

There will be additional events in Palo Alto on Saturday, May 20. Riders can stop by the Patagonia store at 525 Alma St. in Palo Alto for ice cream or meet at Mitchell Park Library (3700 Middlefield Road) for a self-guided tour across the U.S. Highway 101 overpass to the Baylands. The ride will be a "very nice family excursion," Ellson said, and is appropriate for riders of all skill levels.

While the pandemic has changed bike commute patterns, with more people working from home and less people biking to work, Ellson and Oey are hopeful that the Bike to Wherever Days will encourage people to cycle more.

"Biking is a huge win for everyone," Oey said.

For those who are new to bicycling or feel nervous about riding on the streets, Ellson said new riders can stop by one of the events to learn more about how to stay safe while bicycling.

"It takes time to get comfortable riding on a public road," Ellson said.

While organizers hope to educate the public about the benefits of bike commuting, the main purpose is to "celebrate the fun of bicycling," Ellson said.

Riders can find more information on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and Walk Bike Palo Alto pages.

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