This past weekend my friends and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and take a bike ride up the nearby Iron Horse Trail. When I looked at how far we wanted to go, I realized that Domenico's was right beside our Danville turn around spot! What an amazing opportunity.
It never struck me how easy it was to make our way all the way from Pleasanton to Danville just on a bike. Getting back on my bike after too long reminded me of how free it can make you feel.
I’ve been biking ever since I can remember. While growing up in Pleasanton I would bike down to the local Subway or McDonalds – my first taste of independence.
When I moved to Davis for college at UC Davis, I biked everywhere. The whole town was built around bike infrastructure. The campus was built around walkways and bikeways. The surrounding downtown area and grocery stores were all accessible by bike. My partner went to school in Boulder, CO. She had a similar experience, using a central bike trail alongside a creek that branched into all areas of the town.
Afterwards I lived in San Francisco and did not own a car. I would walk or bike to work. I would walk down to my nearest corner store anytime I needed groceries.
When I moved back to Pleasanton, I continued to not own a car, however it was much more difficult to get around. Aside from the Iron Horse Trail, there isn’t really an easy way to bike around town.
Most streets don’t have protected bike lanes, and in order to get anywhere you have to ride on main arterial roads alongside cars going 40 - 50 MPH. I often felt it was more difficult to bike around the flat streets of the Tri-Valley than the hills of SF.
While on the Iron Horse Trail we saw many people out and about, sharing the pathway. Folks were riding casually, and we even stopped by a free lemonade stand and had a conversation with a dad and his two kids.
If we made a concentrated effort to promote cycling through Pleasanton, then we could foster the same environment we see on the Iron Horse Trail throughout the entire town.
Studies show that the majority of trips people take in their cars is less than 3 miles. Take a second to think about where the majority of trips you’ve taken have been in the past month. You’d be surprised at how close many of those places are within a 15 minute bike ride.
If we had solid infrastructure that made biking safe and fun through the city, we could encourage those of us who are mobile to hop on our bikes to run a quick errand. This would allow folks to get more active on a daily basis and take cars off the road. Those who have to rely on cars would benefit greatly as there would be less cars on the road.
After an initial period of stubbornness where I was adamant on biking everywhere in the Tri-Valley, I finally caved and relied more on my partner’s car to get to where I needed to go. I would love for us to follow the lead of suburban cities like Boulder or Davis who encourage folks to get on a bike. Hopefully in the future it’ll be easier to get to the Pleasanton Trader Joe’s than to the Domenico’s in Danville.