Bicyclists braved the rain last Friday for Bike to Work Day, a national event aiming to reduce traffic and save energy while highlighting biking facilities available to commuters.
At 6:30 a.m., the Alexandria pit stop set up at the Market Square in Old Town was the usual hot spot for bicyclists where there were 13 tents set up around the fountain serving everything from coffee to Indian pastries, the raindrops on the fountain pool a barometer for the mornings coming precipitation.
Its incredibly impressive, you all are out here, sticking it out in the rain, said City Councilman Rob Krupicka, a cycling advocate that lives in pedestrian-friendly Del Ray.
The majority of the cyclists sported fluorescent rain gear and plastic helmet covers to make the trek from the suburbs to points downtown.
Cyclissts came from the Mount Vernon area, down the 8.5-mile trail along the river, or from points in the city before going to DC and Crystal City. Many were veterans of the event, and pre-registered for the Bike to Work Day with the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA), which sponsors the event.
WABA supplied 7,000 tee shirts for those signed up throughout the 26 pit stops in the metro area. In addition, the city organizers handed out tickets to raffle off items from restaurants and businesses in the area.
Participants included Hotel Monaco, Whole Foods, St. Elmos Coffee House, Spokes, Etc., and the Bombay Curry Restaurant. They held raffles every 15 minutes, and Krupicka, City Councilwoman Del Pepper, School Board Member Scott Newsham and City Manager Jim Hartmann, picked the winning tickets.
Donna Norfleet, the city Transportation Demand Management Coordinator, worked with Yon Lambert, the city Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Coordinator to organize the whole event. Theyve seen the numbers of cyclists grow through the years.
More people are getting involved, said Lambert. Commuter Connections is another sponsor and offers a lot of information about biking for employers as well as employees.
By 8:30, the square was void of the two-wheeled transportation options as everyone fulfilled the original mission of Bike to Work Day.