SUISUN CITY — Ken McCollum took a familiar friend to work Thursday, his bike.
McCollum, vice president of human resources for NorthBay Healthcare, hopped the 6:20 a.m. light rail in Sunnyvale, arrived on the Amtrak train in Suisun City shortly after 7 a.m. and was greeted by “cheerleaders” at an “energizer station” set up to mark the 20th annual Bike to Work Day.
A three-year wish became a reality as his schedule allowed for extra time to cycle to his Green Valley office and arrive before his 8 a.m. start time. McCollum takes the train to and from home but usually hops in a car to finish the trek to and from work.
“I want to support the cause and set a good example for our employees,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s not freezing cold in Suisun,” he said in jest as a strong Delta breeze blew over the landscape.
McCollum said he contemplated wearing heavier clothes but figured by the time his day ended, the clothes would be too warm.
McCollum estimated he’d log 20 miles on his bike, enough to make him want to try biking to work again.
The Suisun City energizer station opened at 6 a.m. and within 45 minutes had about 25 bicyclists pass by. Not all could stop, said Suisun City Councilman Mike Segala. He shouted words of encouragement to those who rode by.
Cyclists who stopped were offered fresh fruit, coffee and a canvas tote bag containing some Clif bars. They could also pick up new bike route maps.
Mario Enriques got up at 4 a.m. Thursday to accompany his friend Leslie Lara, a project manager with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, to board the train in Fremont and meet up with Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering in Suisun City.
Lara said she rides her bike to work when the weather permits. She planned to visit other energizer stations before heading off to work for the day.
More than 300 energizer stations got set up in the nine Bay Area counties. There were about a dozen energizer stations set up in Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City and Travis Air Force Base for the event.
“Your commute can be your gym,” Metropolitan Transportation Commission Chairwoman and Orinda Councilwoman Amy Rein Worth said in a press release. “Not only can you get your daily exercise in, but you can help improve air quality in your community and reduce traffic congestion throughout the region.”
The event recognizes a bike commuter of the year from each Bay Area county. James Oliver of Vacaville got selected for Solano County.
Oliver has ridden an 8-mile roundtrip to work for eight years, losing 45 pounds along the way. During the holiday season, he decorates his bike with lights and a wreath, a Solano Transportation Authority press release said.
Bike to Work Day is sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Kaiser Permanent and 511 traveler information. More information can be found at www.commuterinfo.net.
Barry Eberling contributed to this report. Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.