Melanie Kimsey-Lin and her husband, Dennis, usually carpool together to their jobs in Everett as Boeing engineers.
Lately, they’ve been getting about 16 miles per gallon in their Chevy Avalanche.
On Friday, the two instead suited up and hit the Interurban Trail for Bike to Work Day.
From Shoreline to Everett and back, their 34-mile round-trip commute would meet a company challenge and help make a statement.
Riding to work is a great way to kick-start a work day, said Kimsey-Lin, 38.
“I’m always a lot more energized, on top of things and awake, rather than the long drive with the cup of coffee,” she said.
Community Transit officials counted 1,531 people riding bikes to work in Snohomish County on Friday as they passed through special stations for the event. That beat last year’s numbers by 64 percent.
Regionwide, the Cascade Bicycle Club reported nearly 23,500 riders, up 18 percent from last year.
It didn’t hurt that temperatures reached the 70s and skies were blue, possibly ushering in the Northwest’s season of outdoor exercise after a chilly, rainy spring.
“Is it Bike to Work Day?” asked Barbara Gallagher, a geotechnical engineer from Edmonds. “I did see an extraordinary number of people on the trail this morning. I thought it was just because it was spring.”
Record-high gas prices have played a big factor both of the last two years, but aren’t enough alone to push people to pedal, said Kristin Kinnamon, event coordinator for Community Transit.
“When we asked what motivated you, the biggest answer was personal health,” Kinnamon said. “People are motivated to find a way to fit exercise into their day. I don’t think gas prices alone are enough for a lot of people.”
David Stob of Lynnwood was moved to bike because of the cost of fuel and the impact on the environment from transportation.
“I believe that biking is one of the best solutions in comparison to riding in a vehicle,” Stob said. “Even using a bus you’re still consuming fuel. This way I’m producing the energy myself.”
Stob was three miles into a 29-mile ride to Seattle on Friday, twice the distance he rode on Wednesday.
“I don’t know what I’m in for today, but it’s much nicer weather,” he said.
Michelle Ruis of Edmonds listened to Bruce Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise” as she rode to her job as a Lynnwood city computer specialist.
It makes the workout go by easier, she said.
“If we all start riding bikes, yeah, we could reduce the toxic gas in the air,” Ruis said. “It’s a good thing for everybody.”
Reporter Jeff Switzer: 425-339-3452 or email@example.com.