Unfolding a Commute Solution
Getting off the bus, unfolding her bike. Photo by Debbie Bulger
by Debbie Bulger
After 18 years of commuting over the hill in her car, Anni Maver took a big step last May. Or rather a big pedal. She now combines bicycling with riding the bus thanks to her purchase of a folding bicycle and monthly bus passes.
In May 2007, Maver attended an environmental event in Santa Cruz to stop Global Warming. "The speeches at the rally were inspiring," Maver recounts. It was an epiphany. Something clicked for her. "Wow," she realized, "I could start taking the bus and bike to work."
It took her two weeks to organize her plan of action. She scouted the route and looked up bus schedules. She discovered she could purchase a monthly bus pass for $90, $20 of which is reimbursed by her employer for taking public transit. She enrolled in the Folding Bike Program through Ecology Action, took the required bike safety class, and received additional discounts on her bus pass for the first few months. She also became eligible for the program's discount on a folding bike.
Maver, 53, a longtime recreational cyclist, works the graveyard shift as an emergency dispatcher for the City of Santa Clara. Luckily the Hwy. 17 bus schedule works out perfectly. A Boulder Creek resident, she bikes one mile into town where she catches a Metro bus to Santa Cruz where she transfers to the Hwy. 17 bus. Once at Diridon in San Jose, she hops on her bike and pedals the 6 to 7 miles to the 911 Center where she works. On the way back, she gets off in Scotts Valley and bikes approximately 10 miles home.
A petite woman, Maver had no trouble carrying her 30-pound folded bike off the bus. Upon disembarking, she quickly unfolded the bike. If she chooses to walk, the folded bike can be pushed much like a stroller. When she purchased her folding bike, she selected a special saddle and added a powerful headlight for commuting after dark. Maver also uses flashing red lights both on her bike and on the back of her helmet.
Maver's environmental choice is supported by her employer's program of encouraging workers to take public transit. Employees are assured the free use of a City vehicle if an emergency should arise. Additionally, the City subsidizes her bus pass purchase.
About once a week, Maver still drives so she can visit her mother in San Jose and do necessary shopping on the way home.
"I have a sedentary job," Maver explains. "By biking to work I get a good workout and a fun ride. This year my kids gave me an MP3 player, so I can listen to books while I'm on the bus."
"I am committed to not driving alone," Maver notes. "I'm thrilled to no longer commute in a car. Cycling feels so wonderful."
Folding bike program
Ecology Action of Santa Cruz offers a Folding Bikes in Buses program which gives financial incentives for Santa Cruz County residents who wish to commute by bus and bike instead of by car. The incentives provide a rebate up to $200 off a folding bike and also provide up to $70 on two monthly bus passes. Program participants are required to take a two-hour bicycle safety course.
The goal of the program is to reduce single-occupant automobile travel and resultant air pollution, traffic congestion, and parking demand. It is funded by a Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District grant through the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.
Folding bikes may be taken on buses even when the exterior racks are full and are easier to store at many work sites.
To learn more call Ecology Action at 426-5925, x 128 or visit
Ready to ride. Photo by Debbie Bulger
|Selected Bike Week event listings only. For complete event information visit www.bike2work.com.
|Santa Cruz County
Saturday, May 10
Kid's Bike Safety Obstacle Course
Kids 4-8 receive on-bike traffic safety instruction. Helmets required. Bring your bike. 10:00 a.m. Depot Park, 119 Center Street.
Thursday, May 15
Bike to Work/School Day
FREE breakfast for cyclists at sites around the County. See website for listings.
Saturday, May 17
Train and Bike Ride
10:00 a.m. Depot Park. Celebrate train and bike travel with a train ride to Felton. Bring your bike for a group ride back to Santa Cruz. CHP escort (road will not be closed to motor vehicles). Roundtrip train ride available to those unable to cycle back. Tickets $6 adults one way; $3 kids one way. Tickets at the HUB, 703 Pacific Ave. and Bike to Work office, 223 River Street. 7 and under must be in kid's seat, trailer, or tag-a-long. Helmets required.
Monday, May 12
Bike Week Challenge
Pledge your organization to compete. Employees log number of days they bike to work. Organization with highest percentage wins prize and award.
Tuesday, May 13
Bike to City Council Meeting
Ride with elected officials and city staff from Steinbeck Library to City Council Chambers. Call James Serrano, 758-7195 for more details.
Thursday, May 15
Bike to Work/School Day
FREE breakfasts for cyclists at participating schools and work sites.
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