Bike to Work & School Week is a community event that encourages everyone to try cycling by providing resources and support for new and continuing cyclists. It began in 1995 in Greater Victoria with about 500 participants. Since then, the program has rapidly expanded throughout the province: in 2016, more than 52 British Columbian communities participated, with nearly 37,000 participants cycling a combined 1,225,000 kilometers in just one week. Port Alberni has been participating since 2015.
The event helps to build a sense of community connectedness while encouraging friendly competition amongst coworkers, classmates, and community members. Bike to Work & School Week also includes celebration stations, bike maintenance, bike safety tips, and prizes. Bike to Work BC’s vision is that of “a future in which as many people as possible experience the joy of commuting by bicycle.”
The primary objective of Bike to Work & School Week is to encourage physical activity as a lifestyle. The average cycle commuter travels 20-30 minutes one-way on their commute, easily meeting Health Canada’s recommendation of one hour of physical activity each day. Commuting by bicycle is also tons of fun! When on a bike, you feel the wind in your face, you can take in more scenery, and you feel invigorated and refreshed, which is important both in the morning on your way to work or school as well as coming home after a long day. Furthermore, commuting by bicycle can save money and protect the environment by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“On Monday of Bike to Work week I was waiting at a red light alongside another cyclist. We ended up chatting as we rode together and he told me that he enjoys biking so much that he takes the long way to get to work because it would be too short of a distance to justify biking otherwise. It was nice to have company on my way to work and to make an instant connection with a stranger based on our mutual love of bikes!”
- Annie Merritt, Port Alberni
“Had to do it...cycled back to work this afternoon (instead of driving)...it’s been awhile, but it’s just so easy to ride my bike instead of drive...and, it’s sunny, warm, and a simple way to get in a workout. That ‘Cycle Alberni’ meeting...about ‘Bike to Work’ week in PA... got me moving in the right direction :) feels good!”
- Sandra Gentleman, Port Alberni
“Joshua Alemany kicks off Bike to Work Week/Month/ Year for Cycle Alberni with a new bike for his birthday this weekend. Joshua loves the freedom of movement his bike allows him and is keen to put his new bike through its paces.”
- Dan Schubart, Port Alberni
Participants sharing snacks and conversation at one of the Celebration Stations:
The custom-made 2016 Port Alberni Bike to Work Week trophies given out to winning teams:
Delicious snacks at the Celebration Station:
Marim Bam Buzz help to celebrate the Bike to Work Week finale with some grat music:
Lee Blais doing a free bike tune-up at a Celebration Station:
John Mayba is all decked out and ready to ride: