From the diehards at 6:30 a.m. to relaxed rollers a few hours later and the school commuters in between, more than 300 bicyclists of all stripes arrived in waves at the north end of the Thursday morning as part of the .
The Marin County Bicycle Coalition set up 17 “energizer stations” throughout the county so volunteers could dole out goodies and serve up some early morning encouragement. Mill Valley Patch joined coalition volunteers on the path, handing out water bottles to complement breakfast treats from and Bike to Work Day bags from the cyclist-friendly Zinn Law Firm.
The riders who pedaled their way through Mill Valley joined thousands of cyclists around the Bay Area who traversed city streets to make it to the office Thursday morning.
Dr. Todd Weitzenberg, a sports medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, was at one of the energizer stations on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin.
"This is one of the most beautiful commutes in Northern California," Weitzenberg said, himself an avid cyclist.
He spoke to bicyclists throughout the morning and noted all types of riders were biking on the bridge, including hardcore commuters who bike everyday -- rain or shine; others who bike occasionally; and some people commuting on their bikes for the first time.
Weitzenberg emphasized the health benefits of biking to work, including increased energy and an improved mood.
He said 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is recommended and a daily bike ride to and from the office usually gets that cardiovascular exercise into commuters' often busy schedules.
Bicycling can be a beneficial exercise method in addition to a cheaper, efficient mode of transportation. For those with joint issues the sport is low-impact, Weitzenberg said.
In Mill Valley, board member Raoul Wertz manned the bike coalition’s information table, while Mill Valley Councilwoman Stephanie Moulton-Peters, a leader of the Safe Routes to Schools campaign in Mill Valley, stopped by to greet riders as they came through.
“This is such a great event,” she said.
--Bay City News Service contributed to this report.