Editorial: Two wheel challenge

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Bike to Work week is a way for Salt Spring Islanders to show they’re serious about the environment.

We take pride in our commitment to the environment, it is part of islanders’ identities. We are represented by the Green party both federally and provincially, we have been called unicorn riders based on our opposition to the proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline, we have the most electric vehicles per capita in Canada and our local government has declared a climate emergency in and around the islands.

Meanwhile, gas prices have been breaking records for so long that it is no longer surprising to see them over $1.60. Bike to Work Week is the perfect time to save some money and park the gas guzzlers.

A 2017 survey of transportation choices on Salt Spring shows that there are over 6,000 bikes owned on the island. Let’s pull them out of the garages or where ever they may be stored. Islanders take an average 2.6 trips per day, and the vast majority of these are by car. If even a small fraction of these were done by bike, the impact would be incredible. Cycling is one of the only transportation options that has zero environmental impact.

Though it may be a long ride from Fulford to Ganges, it is not an impossible feat. A casual rider takes a little under an hour to make the trek. Modern bikes and e-bikes make hills seem like nothing, and a good bicycle costs far less to purchase and maintain than even a used car. Non-major routes are a great alternative without many cars, and the danger of riding on Salt Spring’s roads is lessened when more people do it.

If you are able to do your part and help promote cycling during Bike to Work Week, this helps create a healthy lifestyle on the island, and hopefully word will spread to our neighbouring cycling-friendly communities. Studies from Canada and the U.S. show that when communities embrace bicycle tourism, business revenues go up. Nobody is more willing to spend money than a group of hungry cyclists.

Bike to Work week should be seen as a challenge to Salt Springers to live up to our environmentally-friendly claims.

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