Cycling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities pedaled to the city's 100th Birthday Bike Bash on Friday afternoon.
The event celebrated Redmond's centennial and its long legacy as a cycling-centric community. Free food, live music, giveaways and prizes drew dozens of cyclists and their families to the lawn between and the —a major thoroughfare for cyclists and pedestrians.
Held on Bike to Work Day, a national event that encourages people to try bike commuting, Friday's gathering attracted many cyclists who already ride to work several times a week.
"It's awesome," said Kenmore resident Brian Edwards, who has been biking to his job at AT&T in Redmond for approximately three days a week during the past three years. "I get a workout, I don't have to fight traffic, it's nice to be outside...and I can stick it to the oil companies."
Approximately 1,300 cyclists stopped by Redmond's two Bike to Work commute stations on Friday morning, according to Jill Smith, outreach coordinator for the city's R-TRIP program, which provides incentives and resources to people who carpool, bike or use transit to get to work. The stops on the 520 Bike Trail and Sammamish River Trail were part of a regional network of Bike to Work Day support stations. ( of last year's Bike to Work Day station on the Sammamish River Trail.)
Smith said the city is continually looking for more ways to reach out to Redmond-area cyclists. One recent project, she said, was the development of a new Redmond bike map, now available on the R-TRIP website.
Overall, Smith said, cyclists tend to provide positive feedback on the city's cycling infrastructure and incentive programs. Part of the reason the city hosts events like the bike bash is to give riders an opportunity to tell officials where bike lanes could be added or improved, she said.
"We can't be everywhere, so it's wonderful to get the bikers' comments as well," Smith said.
Several of the cyclists at the party said the Sammamish River Trail is part of their route to and from work, but Bellevue resident Adi Hariharan said he feels comfortable riding with vehicle traffic in Redmond as well.
"Redmond has better bike lanes (than Bellevue)," said Hariharan, who regularly rides to work at . "I think Redmond drivers are a little more conscientious than Bellevue drivers."
Phil Kang, another Microsoft commuter, said he thinks Redmond's trails can be more hazardous than surface streets at times because of the volume of cyclists and pedestrians that use the car-free routes. Two years ago, Kang said he was hit head-on by another cyclist on a Redmond trail.
Moreover, Redmond drivers are generally supportive of cyclists, said Kang, who lives in unincorporated Redmond.
"There are some bad eggs, but there are some bad bicyclists, too," he said. "I feel safer with drivers than I do with other bicyclists."
Diane Petrala, a Bothell resident who used to work in Redmond and still bikes into town on a regular basis, said she prefers to ride to Redmond Town Center to shop or eat because the shopping center has plenty of bike racks.
"Redmond's pretty good (for cyclists) because you've got all the bike lanes...and people tend to be pretty polite," Petrala said. "But you still have to be careful."