Port Alberni’s streets are about to be filled with cyclists—or at least that’s what Bike to Work week organizer Sarah Thomas is hoping for.
“Bike to Work Week is an opportunity for everyone to cycle around, hopefully doing the things they would do on a weekly basis anyway, like going to work, going to school and going to get groceries,” said Thomas.
Bike to Work Week takes place from May 29-June 3 and is being organized by Cycle Alberni this year. The organization is hoping to both build on last year’s success and encourage residents to keep cycling beyond Bike to Work Week.
“There are many benefits to having more people cycling, not least of which is helping to create an active lifestyle and creating more community by having people biking around and out on the streets, interacting with one another,” said Thomas.
“It’s also a form of physical activity, decreases carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.”
There’s also safety in numbers, Thomas added.
“The more people that are cycling, the more it increases safety for all other cyclists on the road,” she said.
“Bike to Work Week is a good opportunity to get everyone out and experiencing cycling,” Thomas said.
“And for those cyclists who already bike, it’s a good opportunity to celebrate cycling, the cycling infrastructure that we have, including the new Gertrude Street bridge, and talk about other possible cycling infrastructure and how we might develop that further to increase the ease of cycling in the city.”
Some of that new infrastructure is already in the works, with $50,000 earmarked for installing a bike lane along Stamp Avenue between Roger Street and Redford Street. The city is also waiting to hear back about a matching grant from BikeBC to double the amount of bike lanes it could paint this year.
But for now, Thomas would like to work with what’s already existing and see if a dedicated week-long effort will encourage people to get out and about on two wheels.
“Bike to Work week aims to decrease the barriers of cycling to work by having different ‘celebration stations’ set up around town.”
The stations, which include SteamPunk Cafe, the Best Western Barclay Hotel and Victoria Quay, will give cyclists an opportunity to stop by, grab some refreshments and get any bike help they might need.
Sunday: Save-On Foods, youth bike rodeo 11 a.m. -1 p.m.
Monday: Steampunk Cafe, 8-10am, 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday: Barclay Hotel, 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday: ADSS, 7:30-9 a.m.
Thursday: Echo fields 4-6 p.m.
Friday: Victoria Quay BBQ 4-6 p.m.
“They can chat with other cyclists and learn about the routes that other cyclists like to take.”
There will be other opportunities for both collaboration and some friendly competition, Thomas added.
“Workplaces and organizations have an opportunity to join together as a team for Bike to Work Week,” she said.
Participants can register by visiting www.biketowork.ca and clicking the orange ‘register’ button, then selecting Port Alberni and either picking an existing team, starting a new one or going as a solo rider.
To find out more about what’s going on during Bike to Work Week here in Port Alberni, visit www.biketowork.ca/port-alberni/events.
No matter if you cycle once or every day, there’s plenty of reasons to join up online, Thomas said.
“There’s prizes available and awards for the team that cycles the most kilometres collectively, as well as has the most rider participation and the most creative attire.”
Bike to Work week kicks off with a youth bike rodeo at Save-On-Foods on 10th Avenue from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on May 29 and ends with a salmon barbecue and prizes at Victoria Quay on Friday, June 4 starting at 4 p.m.
For those wondering where to lock up their bikes, a map of bike racks within the city is available at http://www.avtransitiontown.org/bike-rack-map/.