Shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, 10 men and women glided out of the House of Coffees parking lot, all pedaling to the same destination.
Riding beach cruisers, mountain bikes and street bikes, the Pacific Coast Producers employees rode through Downtown Lodi, across Highway 99 and to the company's corporate offices on North Cluff Avenue. They occasionally cheered and encouraged each other to keep going.
The employees decided to join together for the early morning ride as part of Bike To Work Week.
Randy Cabral and Christian Ebersole stuck to the back of the pack to make sure no one was left behind.
"We ride together to work a lot. We just love riding our bikes. It's all about the fresh air and the exercise," Cabral said.
After the ride, many of the employees said they enjoyed it so much they plan to do it again today.
Sandy Willhite, a label operator at Pacific Coast Producers, said they will try to make the commute by bike once a month. Her favorite part is that she felt ready to start the day.
"When I got to work, I felt a lot of energy. Usually you ride in your car and you feel sluggish. Today, I felt more energized," she said.
The benefits of biking to work
Save money: It depends on your car, the price of gas and how far you are driving.
Bike commuters can save 30 percent of their salary or more by riding their bike, depending on a variety of factors, said Yvette Davis, an associate regional planner with Commute Connection.
But even riding the 4.6 miles from House of Coffees to Pacific Coast Producers would save commuters significant money. Riding that distance would save someone $1.06 a day, if they were driving a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon at the current average gas price of $4.35, according to the Commute Connection website, which has information on ways to save money on commuting. Over a year, that equals almost $280.
Get exercise: Biking has many health benefits, from losing weight to eliminating the stress that comes with sitting in traffic, Davis said.
A statistic Davis often cites is that the average person can lose 13 pounds in their first year of commuting to work.
"The benefits seem obvious, but you don't really realize until you actually do it," she said.
Help the environment: Biking obviously reduces pollution, but there is another huge benefit that many people do not think about.
Parking lots take up a lot of land use in cities. In comparison, 12 bikes can be locked up in the equivalent of one parking space for a car, Davis said.
Cash in on tax credits: Employers can receive a $20 a month federal tax credit to pass on to employees who bike to work everyday. The employees can then use the money for expenses related to their bike commute — like equipment purchases, bike repairs and bike storage.
How to get involved
You can plan a bike-friendly route, calculate how much money you would save on gas and learn about other ways to save on gas, like carpooling or taking public transportation at www.commuteconnection.com.
The site also has a pledge you can sign if you plan to bike or walk to work sometime before May 18. Download the pledge on the website, fill it out and then fax or email it to Commute Connection for a chance to win a variety of prizes totaling $2,500.