A bicycle boulevard in Berkeley, Calif. Photo by Payton Chung.

The bikes are locked, the house sitter is reserved and Tucson Velo and family are on the way to the Bay area.

We are taking one last trip before summer is over and heading to visit friends in Berkeley, Calif.

It’s been almost nine years since Irene and I have been to the Bay area and at the time I wasn’t riding, so I am really excited to check out what they having going on.

As far as Berkeley goes, I know virtually nothing about it as a cycling city. It is not on the League of American Bicyclists’ list of Bike Friendly Cities, although its neighbors Oakland (bronze) and San Francisco (gold) are.

According to Berkeley’s transportation website, however, five percent of workers commute by bicycle, which they say is one of the highest in the region.

San Francisco has an almost three-percent bike commuter rate, which is one of the highest for cities with populations over 500,000.

Check out the Berkeley bike map. This map actually includes proposed bike routes in addition to existing bike routes.

According the website, Berkeley is firmly on board with building and creating bicycle boulevards. They currently have a network of seven bike boulevards for a town of 50,000 people.

They also have a bicycle plan, which was adopted in 2000 and updated in 2005. The goal of the plan is to,”create a model bicycle-friendly city where bicycling is an attractive, easy, safe, and convenient form of transportation and recreation for people of all ages and bicycling abilities.”

Many of the implemented projects from the plan have been to add or improve bicycle boulevards.

The SF MTA added a bike box on northbound Scott Street on the Wiggle route in San Francisco. Photo by San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

San Francisco has been adding bicycling infrastructure left and right for the last year after a four-year-old injunction preventing work on the city’s bike plan was lifted.

Apparently the injunction was granted after a group sued because the plaintiff claimed the state failed to conduct an environmental review of the plan. Here is a little history about the issue.

Despite the lack of improvements during the injunction, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition says bicycle ridership “surged by more than 53% and the corresponding demand for improvements is impacting every neighborhood in San Francisco.”

While this trip isn’t specifically for cycling, I hope to squeeze in a ride or two and we will be using the public transportation system heavily. I remember when we visited nine years ago how amazing it was to be able to easily get around anywhere by bus, train, cable car and more.

If you are familiar with the area and have bicycling related suggestions, please leave a comment.

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