May 7, 2009
Ride (Italian) bike, eat free pizza

I can't think of another local business that is more supportive of the whole "May is Bike Month" than Hot Italian.

"Biking, walking or any two-wheel transportation fits into our 'new urbanist' principals at Hot Italian," Andrea Lepore, one of the restaurant's owners, told me.

First, the restaurant opened in haste before construction was complete so it could cater to fans attending the Amgen Tour of California in February.

When the building renovation is finally complete, it is expected to be Sacramento's first LEED certified green restaurant. Part of being green is forgoing the car on occasion for something more environmentally friendly. For pancake-flat Sacramento, the bike is a good bet.

Now the stylish new restaurant wants to see its designer bike racks filled, so it's giving away pizza on "Ride to Work Day" May 14 (Thursday). The one catch -- the bikes have to be Italian, the country with the rich cycling culture and where, any day now, the three-week Giro d'Italia stage race will start, featuring Lance Armstrong, Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer and sometime Sacramentan Chris Horner.

As the owner of more than one Italian bike, I'm a fan of this promotion, but I promise not to butt in on the free pizza.

Lepore says there will be 32 free pizzas for lunch (from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and 32 for dinner (5-8 p.m.). That 's how many bikes fit in those racks at the corner of 16th and Q streets.

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