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Bike to Work Day with Mayor Dyer

1507499_10152429811779188_5306191451558625175_oOn Friday morning, 257 participants made the most successful Bike to Work Day Orlando has ever seen.

The Orlando Sentinel interviewed Bike/Walk Central Florida board member, Lisa Portelli, about the Bike to Work Day celebrations:


On Friday morning, Lisa Portelli went from her home in downtown Winter Park to the SunRail station on Morse Boulevard. She brought something with her: a bicycle.

Portelli rode SunRail to the next station at Florida Hospital, and then rode her bike to Loch Haven Park – where she joined scores of other veteran bicyclists.

The arrival of SunRail, she said, presents an exciting new opportunity for cyclists – and for the city of Orlando.

Riding the train with a bicycle at her side, she said, was “simple, easy and fun. I rode from my house two miles to the train station. There were so many bikes on our particular train that we didn’t even go to a rack, we just stood there. It was very easy.”

And seeing so many cyclists standing around her was great, Portelli added.

“I felt like I was in a big city,” she said. “It feels like Orlando has grown up.”

On Friday, Orlando joined in celebrating National Bike Month in May. As part of that, Mayor Buddy Dyer hosted “Bike to Work Day,” encouraging area residents to ride a bike to where they work. Many of them took SunRail to the Health Village Station at 500 E. Rollins St. by Florida Hospital, then rode their bikes to Loch Haven Park, and continued on to the Church Street Station by City Hall at 99 W. South St.
It was also part of Orlando’s efforts to become a bicycle-friendly community with more urban bicycling trails, signed routes and lanes.  The city is promoting bicycling as a form of transportation, and events like Bike to Work Day are intended to help spread the word.

“It’s fantastic,” Portelli said. “It gets people to come out and try it once. A lot of people will say, ‘Hey I can do this.’ “

“I think it’s great,” City Commissioner Robert Stuart said at Loch Haven Park. “It’s a reminder to the community that there are other ways of getting around than in your car burning fuel.”

The Florida Department of Transportation set up a table at Loch Haven Park to promote their reThink program, which is a regional commuter assistance program serving nine local counties, including Orange.

“We are supporting the city of Orlando’s Bike to Work Program,” said Courtney Miller, program manager for reThink.

It encourages alternative modes of transportation to get to work, including carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, or walking, she said.

“Biking is one of those options,” Miller added.

She said FDOT has been encouraged by the fact that in its first week of operation, SunRail has attracted a lot of bicyclists.

“It’s been a good surprise, but not completely unexpected, seeing so many people bringing their bikes onto the train,” she said.

Portelli said SunRail will definitely encourage more cyclists to make the trains a part of their commute and leave the cars back home.

“I think SunRail is going to encourage additional transportation options,” she said, adding that both Orlando and Winter Park have done a good job creating a safe infrastructure for cyclists leaving those stations.

“The city of Winter Park is safe by design,” she said. “We make it safe for pedestrians by design.”

As part of the event, participants got a free bike tune-up from Kyle’s Bike Shop.

[email protected] or 407-420-5290.

Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel”

To view more photos of Orlando Bike to Work Day 2014: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101381726@N02/sets/72157644257549639/

To view the article: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/winter-park/os-thanks-to-sunrail-bicyclists-leaving-their-cars-at-home-20140509,0,1205264.story