As part of National Bike to Work Week, the local cycling group Bike Alameda has worked with local officials so that one traffic lane on the Fruitvale Miller-Sweeney Bridge will be reserved for riders on Thursday Bike to Work Day, during peak commuting hours. In addition, bikers can take advantage of free tuneups, refreshments, valet parking, discounts on movie tickets, cocktails and other treats around the Island as part of Bike to Work Week — starting Saturday.
"It took one and a half years to get the bridge lane closure, since the bridge is under three jurisdictions — Alameda, Oakland and Alameda County," said Jeff Cambra, a chair of Bike Alameda's Bike to Work programs and a group board member. "County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker was instrumental in getting the ball rolling on this." Cyclists who travel across the Fruitvale Bridge to the Fruitvale BART station can use a special lane from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. Members of Bike Alameda also will be on hand to escort bike riders across the bridge if needed. And there is free valet parking for bikers at the Fruitvale BART station.
"People crossing the bridge on May 13 can do so safely and securely," Cambra said.
Bike Alameda also has organized "energizer stations" with food, drinks and goody bags around the Island to encourage bicyclists to ride around town on Thursday. This includes stations at the Alameda-Oakland Ferry and Harbor Bay Ferry terminals, which are offering free rides to bike commuters that day, and well as outside of Peet's Coffee & Tea at Park Street and Central Avenue and near Hawthorn Suites on Webster Avenue at Webster Street and Lincoln Avenue.
All cyclists are urged to end Bike to Work Day by meeting members of Bike Alameda at Havana on Park Street, 5-7 p.m., when half-price mojitos will be sold.
Cyclists also can get their bikes checked and worked on by Alameda Bicycle shop staff in the courtyard at Alameda Town Centre Bike Alameda noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, says program administrator Bonnie Wehmann.
In addition, Alameda Theatre will give bikers discount tickets and refreshments 1-2:30 p.m. on May 16 for Bike to the Movies Day. There will be free valet-bike parking across the street.
Bike Alameda, which includes about 350 members, counted 578 Alamedans at the group's refreshment stands during last year's Bike to Work Day.
"This year, we expect a lot of people to bike to work, and we really hope people will bike to BART," said Wehmann.
For more information, go to www.bikealameda.org.