Islanders are preparing to ride their bikes to work and school to take part in the eighth edition of Bike to Work Week on Salt Spring from May 27 to June 2.
The event is designed to give people a chance to ride their bikes to work, to promote a healthy lifestyle and a more environmentally friendly way to travel. The idea is simple: people are invited to ride their bikes to work or school, logging their kilometres on the event’s website. People who log rides during the event will be entered in a draw to win a cycling vacation. “Celebration stations” will be set up around the island to help encourage people to join in and island businesses will offer special incentives to people who ride their bikes.
Event coordinator Robin Jenkinson explained they hope to get more people out on bikes, even if it is for one week, as it increases people’s awareness of alternative forms of travel.
“When [drivers] start seeing people on bikes all over the place, even just for a one-week duration, they can realize that they need to be not looking at their phone and aware of the other people whose tax dollars are going to make these transportation routes that are not only for cars,” she said.
This year’s event will have a special focus on younger riders. Based on last year’s successful bike rodeo at Salt Spring Elementary School, Jenkinson and the other organizers saw that when kids ride their bikes to school, it promotes the activity for the whole family. This year, two bike rodeos will be held, one at SSE on Tuesday morning and one at Fernwood Elementary on Wednesday morning. Kids will get the chance to have their bikes checked over by a mechanic, and Island Pathways will run a $10 helmet program for kids.
“Kids love to ride their bikes, and this gives them more opportunities to do so,” Jenkinson said. “[The SSE Bike Rodeo] was a great way to reach more people and celebrate cycling.”
Friday will have bike skills workshops at the Mouat Park bike park, and there will be a celebration station and e-bike demo at Outspokin’ Bikes on Saturday morning.
Jenkinson hopes that the week-long event will convince people that riding on Salt Spring is possible, and can be done safely.
Those interested in participating can sign up at www.biketowork.ca/salt-spring-other-gulf-islands. Workplace teams are encouraged and are a great way to challenge each other to ride more.
For more on this story, see the May 22, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.