Bike to Work Week encourages healthy and environmentally friendly travel

by Anibal Ortiz/Roundup

Highway information signs announced its arrival, transit agencies including Metro offered free services for a day — and yet very few people in the Pierce College community knew about Bike to Work Week.

The week-long chain of events took place throughout Los Angeles County and ended Friday with Bike to School Day.

“Last year we did something,” said Christine Valada, assistant administrative analyst and Pierce coordinator. “I wouldn’t have called it an overwhelming success.”

Ricardo Alvarez, an 18-year-old business major at Pierce, rides his bicycle to school and work.

“I’ve never heard of (Bike to Work Week) before,” Alvarez said.

Without his license, Alvarez is forced to ride his bicycle.

“It’s not like I have a choice,” Alvarez said. “If I were driving, I probably wouldn’t (bike) just because I’ve been riding for so long.”

Not everyone shares his feelings.

“I think there are a lot of benefits in riding to work,” Ann Marie Aubuchon said. “I get some exercise and I help the environment.”

Aubuchon, an instructional assistant in the music department and her husband, Philippe Aubuchon, performing arts technician, live close to campus.

“I actually get here faster,” Aubuchon said. “I can ride right up to the trailer rather than drive the car, park in the parking lot and walk over here.”

Although not on campus, students riding the Orange Line early Thursday morning may have noticed one of the “Pit Stops” set up for Bike to Work bicyclists at the Winnetka Metro Line Station. Bicyclists were also offered free transportation Thursday.

“I didn’t stop (by the pit stop) because my route to the village is to come through Winnetka entrance,” Aubuchon said.

She talked about some hazards that come across while riding bicycles.

“You have to watch out for drivers,” she said. “A lot of drivers will honk at me and a lot of drivers point toward the bike path.”

Although she was not always a big fan of safety, Aubuchon said both her and her husband now wear helmets.

“One of the students encouraged me to wear a helmet and we have lights that we use at night now,” she said.

Criminal justice major Shahroez Fahimo, a 24-year-old motorcyclist, remains midway.
“I wouldn’t ride a bicycle to school because I have my bike,” Fahimo said. “It’s easier to get around, gas is cheaper, insurance is cheaper and parking is easier.”

Aside from Bike to Work Week, one more event is planned in L.A. County. The 9th Annual Los Angeles River Ride will take place June 7. Directions and information about fees is available at www.la-bike.org.