Bike commuters wait for the green light at the intersection of 15th and Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest. (Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

Thousands of D.C. area cyclists are expected to hit the roads Friday for the annual Bike to Work Day, an event that aims to boost the number of people commuting on two wheels.

Bike commuting has become a popular option in the D.C. area. As many as 4.5 percent of D.C. residents bike to work so don’t be surprised to see a few thousand folks on two wheels Friday. As of Thursday, about 17,000 people had registered to participate, according to organizers.

And unlike last year when torrential downpours dampened the event, the weather this year should make it easier for people to participate, said Greg Billing of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

“It is supposed to be sunny and dry and we should have mild temperatures,” he said. “It doesn’t get more ideal for biking.”

Last year lots of folks braved the wind and rain to take part in the annual event. This year our friends over at the Capital Weather Gang are forecasting a pleasant day.

“The best part about the weather for Bike to Work Day is that there’s no rain in the forecast,” Post meteorologist Angela Fritz said. “The gusty winds we’ve been feeling over the past few days should taper off by Friday morning, and skies will be partly cloudy. Early morning temperatures will start off in the mid-50s, but will climb to around 60 degrees by 9 a.m. The evening commute will be warmer – high temperatures should reach the low- to mid-70s.”

[Bikeshare will make sure busy docking stations have room for your bike]

The event is expected to draw many people who are new to bike commuting so organizers offer some tips to cyclists and other road users to ensure a safe and fun ride:

  • If you are driving to work expect to share the road with a lot of people on two wheels. Give yourself a few time,  be alert and aware that some of the participants are biking to work for the first time, and give them the space.

This year there will be 79 pit stops in the District, Maryland and Virginia where bicyclists will be greeted with all kinds of fun —from refreshments to music and free T-shirts. We are told one location will offer massages and another will have superheroes.

Metro will host Bike to Work Day pit stops at the Fort Totten, College Park and East Falls Church stations and will be giving out free T-shirts, and providing safety tips and a bus bike rack demonstration. Metro Transit Police will be at pit stops along King Street and Braddock Road stations to distribute free U-locks to cyclists who register their bikes.

In Montgomery County, Ride On will be in Rockville to demonstrate how to load a bicycle onto a Ride On bus. And, passengers with bikes ride can free on Ride On as a special one-day promotion. Check out this map to find the pit stop that works for you: