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Biking to Work: Not Just for Graduate Students

(Photo - John Bozek) John Bozek

Distance to work?
19 miles from Union City BART or 4 miles from CalTrain. I live in Berkeley and either take BART to Union City and ride across the Dumbarton bridge, or take BART to the city and then Caltrain to Palo Alto. I have bike lockers at both Union City BART station and the Palo Alto CalTrain station, so I leave my bike at one of those places. I also ride a bike from my home to the North Berkeley BART station and back every day.

Time it takes?
Union City takes about 1 1/4 hours and CalTrain takes about 20 minutes. Either way it takes about 2 hours from my house to my desk.

How often do you bike to work?
Pretty much every day, driving to work once or twice a month.

Why do you do it?
I find it relaxing. Sitting in traffic I get tense and find myself getting aggressive occasionally. I'm also eager to get in better shape, and look forward to riding for many years to come!

What's your favorite part of the ride?
Passing cars stuck in traffic!

What's the worst part about biking to work?
The winds on the bridge. Just when I thought the weather had turned nice, with the rain behind us, I find out that it's almost always windy, and always in my face, riding across the bridge. I like to think of it as resistance training!

What's the closest call you've had?
A few years ago I was cut off by a driver turning in front of me when I was going about 25mph. I hit the car and ended up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital. I recovered and was back riding to work a few months later. Most recently I've found that people turning right and trying to beat the oncoming traffic are a real hazard—sometimes they just don't see cyclists. I would urge everyone to check twice for cyclists before turning into a road.

Niels van Bakel

Distance to work?
9 miles.

Time it takes?
30-35 minutes.

How often do you bike to work?
5 days a week.

How long have you been doing it?
Since I've started working at SLAC in May 2004.

Why do you do it?
I like biking, especially mountain biking, free workout every week day in my busy family life with two kids, we need only one car so it saves money, I burn only food not gas, but the most important reason is that it is great to be out on my bike.

What's the worst part about biking to work?
Car drivers who don't use their blinkers.

What kind of bike do you have?
Giant MTB, adjusted for road biking.

What's your favorite recreational ride?
Russian Ridge at Skyline. I am thinking of buying a road bike to join the early group rides on week days.


—Krista Zala
  SLAC Today, May 17, 2006