At least 120 residents, some from as far away as Vandenberg Village, ditched their vehicles and rode bicycles to their jobs as part of the Bike to Work Day campaign organized by the Healthy Lompoc Coalition.
Emily Casarez, a program manager with the Healthy Lompoc Coalition, said the organization was hoping to get at least 100 people to participate. Noting that online registrations — which were at 120 by Wednesday afternoon — easily surpassed the total, she said the event was a success.
“Everyone has been really excited and they’re enjoying the care kits,” she added. “One woman was so happy and excited to see me, she made me feel like I was with Publisher’s Clearing House.”
Among the businesses that took part in the event was tech firm GeoDigital, which has an office on the north end of Lompoc.
Steven Anderson, who works at GeoDigital, said he began recruiting co-workers for an office team as soon as he found out about Bike to Work Day.
“I like to stay healthy and exercise and whatnot, and when I passed it along to everybody, they were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,’” he said.
Several of the people who work in the office already regularly rode their bikes to work, so Wednesday wasn’t much different for them. Four of the employees formed the team Handlebar Army.
“We tend to do a lot of things as a group with our co-workers,” Anderson said. “One year we did a 5K run … and in November we always do the ‘no shave’ thing and we actually compete with our other offices around the world.
Wednesday’s promotion was the first Bike to Work event organized by the Healthy Lompoc Coalition, which promotes healthy lifestyle choices, since May 2012. The group will be giving out prizes today to the riders who traveled the farthest, the company that had the largest team and the best “spirit” photo submitted by a rider or group of riders.
The campaign was funded by a Safe Routes to School grant.
“There’s been some inspiring stories of people who used to ride but haven’t in a while, which is always great to hear,” Casarez said.
John Waldon, a member of the GeoDigital team, said he enjoyed the 5-mile ride into work from his Vandenberg Village home. He noted that much of that ride was downhill.
“The hard part will be going home,” he said, drawing laughter from his co-workers.