Where fitness and environmentalism meet
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
To celebrate the bike community all across Canada and the US, Bike to Work Week is organized every year. This year in BC it began on October 29 and ran until November 4. The aim is to get people exercising by biking to work, which in turn also reduces participants’ carbon footprint.
HUB Cycling (formerly the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition) started in 1996 with the aim of creating a significant space for cycling as a means of commuting in Metro Vancouver. Their goals included better roads, connectivity, rules, protected lanes, and education about these ideas. From being officially incorporated as Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition in the year 1998 to launching Bike to Work Week in 2007 to becoming HUB in 2012, the organization’s journey has been quite intense.
The organization has been working with local government bodies and the Province of British Columbia to increase usage of cycling and make it a safer mode of transport. These can be done through initiatives like investment in cycling infrastructure and facilities, as well as improving widespread education. HUB also hopes to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, improving its clarity to increase safety of citizens.
Recently, the organization has been working with TransLink and the Government of British Columbia on #UnGapTheMap, a campaign aiming to put more cyclists on the road. The mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, has been involved in promoting cycling as well: His council approved Phase One (2017 to 2027) and Phase Two (2018 to 2028) of TransLink’s 10-Year Vision. During the initial phase, $30 million was allotted to regional cycling infrastructure, with another $27.3 million to municipalities for cycling infrastructure in the second phase.
The growth of participants in Bike to Work Week has been immense in the last five years. The number of participants started from 19,000 in the year 2012 and rose to 44,000 in 2017. According to the data released last year by GoByBike BC, 56 communities participated in the event last year, covering around 1,225,180 kilometres.
Lakshay Anand, an international student at Douglas College pursuing Hospitality Marketing, said in an interview with the Other Press that he is in support of cycling and Bike to Work Week.
“I actually like the culture of using [a] bike as a means to commute here in Canada,” he said, also stating that he appreciates the accessibility. “I bought a bike three months after I came here. It is actually safe and affordable to ride one. Now I don’t need to worry about skipping the gym. I have my bike to keep me fit.”
Participants in Bike to Work Week have the option of registering as a team or riding solo. To motivate the participants, the organizers offered free snacks, basic bike maintenance, and prizes during the entire week. The prizes aren’t trivial either—the grand prize was a trip for two with Exodus Travels to cycle in Sicily, which includes airfare worth over $7,000. Team Leader Prize Giveaways included biking gear and entry into draws for more products.
Stay tuned at BikeHub.ca for more information about upcoming events.