The annual Viva Calle San Jose included a little piece of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale this year thanks to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC). The coalition launched ¡Silicon Valley Bikes! during the Sept. 19 event.
“Viva Calle has this great route for people who want to just do really short ride,” said Tim Oey of SVBC. “We wanted to add a longer element to that. So, we added a 20 and a 40 mile ride this year.”
Oey created the 10-mile, 20-mile and 40-mile ride routes throughout the South Bay. He says a lot of thought was put into safety and focusing on the current bicycle infrastructure in Silicon Valley.
“We wanted to actually have a ride that was in the city, in the urban areas…Our rides [feature] infrastructure that was instrumental like in Cupertino and in Sunnyvale, in Mountain View, in Palo Alto,” said Oey. “We’re routing people by [developed bike infrastructure] so people can see, this is what biking can be like all year around. We can have it really nice and friendly and safe for people.”
All three ride routes started and ended at Arena Green across the street from SAP Center. The 20-mile route wound through San Jose and Santa Clara while the 40-mile route wound through San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View. Participants were allowed to go at their own pace and were guided through their rides via an app.
“The apps were telling us some stories of the city, like, this is the oldest house in Sunnyvale. That was really cool,” said Silvana, who completed the 40-mile ride.
10-year-old Ezra completed the 40-mile ride on a tandem bicycle with his father, Matvey. Ezra relished the chance to explore some of the nature the South Bay has to offer including the marshes in Alviso.
“[I enjoyed] riding along the marsh because it was so cool. It was so pure and everything,” said Ezra.
Matvey, who has ridden some of these trails before, says it was great to share the route with son.
“My favorite part was just enjoying the infrastructure that we’re lucky to have here in the Bay Area. It was great. Great bike lanes. Not too bumpy,” said Matvey.
Even people who didn’t ride in this year’s ¡Silicon Valley Bikes! were inspired.
“I’m new so I’m excited. So, I’m going to get a cycle eventually. I’m going to be participating next time,” said Vibha, who volunteered to work at the booth for SVBC. “[With the way] COVID has been for the past year, I just need any opportunity to go out there and see humans. I feel this is the best way to help others and the best that we can have.”
Oey says anytime he can inspire new riders is a win.
“We are facing a climate crisis, where we really need to get people biking, more, for their health, to save money, reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and climate change is huge,” said Oey. “That is the crisis of this generation turned that around. Just by getting people more excited about biking, and biking more, we want to help save the world.”
The inaugural ¡Silicon Valley Bikes! event included 322 participants and raised $25,605 to help create more infrastructure for bicyclists in the Silicon Valley.