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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates rides along the newly opened West Street Pathway on the morning of May 9. Photo: East Bay Bicycle Coalition

On Bike to Work Day, Berkeley’s mayor Tom Bates (who famously ditched his car several years ago) got on his bike to show support for the two-wheeler set and laid out his commitment to make Berkeley “the most bike-friendly city in the country.”

At a series of press events this morning, Bates spoke of updating Berkeley’s Bicycle Plan so that it was the best bicycle plan in the country. He also hopped on his own bike first thing to take a (helmet-less) spin down the brand new West Street Pathway.

“Lowering our transportation GHG emissions is a key component of our award-winning climate action plan,” Bates said.

On any given morning, over 5,000 people bike commute through Berkeley, the nation’s fourth most popular city for bike commuting, according to the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. But, according to Dave Campbell the EBBC’s program director, the city has work to do.

Berkeley will start updating its Bicycle Plan this year for the first time since 2000.

“We have enough money to do a robust bike plan,” he said. “The mayor has committed resources and staff behind it.”

Campbell says building bike paths, and connecting new and existing ones to commercial destinations, is at the heart of the plan. The West Street Pathway, which serves pedestrians and bicyclists, runs along the former Santa Fe Railroad Right of Way. The section between Cedar-Rose Park and Strawberry Creek Park officially opened on April 20. Campbell estimates it will take 12-18 months to see the whole bike plan through to completion.

The East Bay’s 20th annual Bike to Work Day today was a record-breaking event: 13 mayors from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties rode their bikes to work, and over 14,500 cyclists biked by one particular Energizer Station this morning.

Share your personal photos of your experience of Bike to Work Day with us (email them to or tweet them to us at @berkeleyside), and we will share them on our Facebook page.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...