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FindLaw Team to Pedal to Sunnyvale Office on Bike to Work Day

By Steven Tanner on May 07, 2012 6:59 AM

Sitting in the San Francisco Bay Area's famously gridlocked traffic during the morning commute can be downright maddening. I should know, since I travel 40 miles each way from my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But while traversing a mountain pass by bicycle is out of the question (unless I'm mountain biking for fun), pedaling to work is much more feasible for folks who already live in Silicon Valley.

Regardless, Bay Area commuters spend roughly 40 million hours idling in traffic each year, according to an article on But nearly 40 percent of Bay Area commuters work less than five miles from where they live, according to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC).

And we have fabulous weather out here in California. So some of us here at FindLaw are going to do something about it this week.

We don't have an official head count, but several FindLaw folks plan on pedaling to our Sunnyvale office on May 10 for the 18th annual Bike to Work Day. It's our chance to encourage a more sustainable and smog-free method of moving our bodies from point A to point B.

Werner Colangelo, Manager of Analytics and Audience and a lifelong bicyclist, described his car-free commute as "relatively stress-free," something rarely attributed to the agony of gridlock. Ever heard of "bicycle rage?" Me neither. Like many commuters in the area, Colangelo splits his modes of transportation between the bike and commuter train.

Our Director of Business Marketing, Kevin Ahlvin, has one of the longest commutes among the Sunnyvale staff and usually drives his natural gas powered car. But he has been known to do the bike-train-bike shuffle. It is not without its logistical headaches, though, as Ahlvin explained from his days working previously at Yahoo (also in Sunnyvale):

"[One frustrating experience was] leaving Yahoo with a half-hour before the next train on a bike route that takes 25 minutes -- then getting a flat, fixing it, and getting to the train station as the train slowly pulled out."

Like me, Ahlvin is not among the 40 percent of Bay Area commuters living within a reasonably close radius of the office.

Gavin McGovern, Manager of User Experience, is a better example of that. He lives just 10 minutes from the office by bike and leaves the car in the driveway fairly often. McGovern said he goes through phases and it really just depends on the day's weather and after-work plans.

He said most of his commute is on "quiet, lazy neighborhood streets," which I'll take over crowded freeways any day.

Andrew Chow, Senior Writer of Editorial Blogs, said he plans to participate in Bike to Work Day if he fixes his flat tire. Chow volunteered at a Bike to Work Day event in 2010, manning one of the "energizer stations" that offers free food and goodies to participating bicyclists.

So why not give your car a rest on May 10, too? You'll be in good company.

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