The city of Santa Clarita marked Bike to Work Week this week by inviting residents to ride their bikes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Residents could take a pledge to ride to their workplaces at GreenSantaClarita.com, a city-hosted website promoting environmental protection.
Local employers could also register for the Bike to Work Week challenge, committing to encouraging their employees to ride their bikes to the office from May 10-14.
Bill Fickett participated in the challenge through his employer located off of Commerce Center Drive west of Interstate 5 and north of Highway 126. The Valencia resident isn’t new to the challenge or biking to work.
Fickett has been getting to and from the office on his bike since 2016. He started biking not only for transportation, but also for exercise to address his health issues, too.
“I started cycling in May and then got more serious in June. So, between June and November of 2016 my migraines just dropped to nothing,” he said. “My doctor was very happy with it. My family was ecstatic about it, and I was, too.”
Fickett kept cycling. Last year, he rode approximately 6,500 miles through all types of weather during his five-day-a-week commutes.
“It’s good for me to get out. I think it’s good mentally. I know it’s good physically just to be active a little bit every day,” he said of his 6-mile commute, which takes him between 20-25 minutes and over the bridge at the Iron Horse Trailhead.
And this week he said he’s seen more riders on the city’s bikeways, which total 112 miles in all.
“I normally commute about the same time of day and so you get used to the runners and the joggers and all the people,” Fickett said. “I call them the strangers you know in the city. You don’t know who they are but you see them every day.”
Thursday morning, Fickett commuted with his co-worker Alain Gyger, who travels approximately 8.5 miles from Newhall to get to his Valencia office.
Gyger has also been riding to work since 2016 and said he rarely shares the road with cars on his commute.
“I’m on the street maybe 10% of the time,” he said. “The rest is all on bike lanes and the bike path, which looks really nice.”
Gyger also said he appreciates the safety improvements to the city’s bikeways over the past few years.
“Every mile there are markers on the bike path. So, if there’s an emergency … (and) you call 911, you can tell them by marker, 20, or whatnot, and they’ll know where that is,” he said. “There’s really no landmarks out there sometimes.”
Nina Moskol, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition, said she is proud of the city’s efforts to encourage residents to bike to work.
“What we hope to see happen is that by trying biking, more people will realize that their local commutes by bike are truly efficient, and on our trail system, safe and comfortable,” she said in an email. “During regular work hours, these commutes can be ways to seek a little active time for the individual worker, and when combined with commutes with co-workers, positive social time with work colleagues and friends.”
Through their participation, residents have opportunities to win prizes, like cycling gear and gift certificates, according to the city. And to encourage participation among residents with longer commutes, Santa Clarita Transit offered free local rides to anyone with a bike and helmet.