On high-priced road bikes and battered frames with fat tires, scores of people converged on downtown Modesto on Thursday morning during the annual Bike-to-Work Day promotion to encourage commuting by cycling.
The riders came to Tenth Street Plaza on their own or in packs from various starting points around town.
Megan Distaso, the city's rideshare coordinator, estimated the number of riders at 200. At the plaza, they were treated to a continental breakfast, free T-shirts and an assortment of water bottles and other trinkets handed out by the city, Memorial Medical Center, the regional air board and other exhibitors.
The riders included daily commuters and casual riders such as Larry Mason, 51, of Modesto. He rode in from near Johansen High School on the city's far east side. Afterward, he joked that he needed to "stand on my head and let the blood rush back to my body."
Lee McFadden, 45, an experienced cyclist who joined the ride at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on north McHenry Avenue, said his trip into town represented "one less car" on the road.
"The nice thing is, once people try it, especially on a day like today, they'll realize: 'Oh, that was really fun. I enjoyed my ride. I liked my commute,' " Distaso said. "And I always get at least a few people then who will do it regularly."
Distaso said car-pooling, riding the bus and commuting by bicycle help the environment.
"I encourage everyone to try it," she said. "It doesn't work for everybody every day, but every little bit helps."
Bee Managing Editor/Online Dan Day can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2332.