2015 Cycling Event Highlights
For those that do not bicycle all year ’round, the Shifting Gears Challenge, held each year in May, is the defacto start of the cycling season. In past years, workplaces have challenged each other to shift from car-based commuting to alternative, less energy-dependent methods like walking, cycling, public transit, carpooling and telework. In 2015, the twelfth year for Shifting Gears, the challenge took on a wider scope and included all kinds of trips, errands, social trips, walks to school and appointments. This allowed schools and other organizations to join in.
The event was, yet again, a great success, with over 10,500 active transportation trips logged. Workplace Challenge winners were B!ke, The Food Forest Café, 100.5 Kruz FM-101.5 The Wolf, Peterborough Public Library, Ontario Public Service – Robinson Place and Adam Scot CVI & IS. The real winners were all participants as they averaged 100 minutes of physical activity (2/3 of the recommended amount) and saved an average of $114 in fuel savings over the month.
Held on July 18th, one gorgeous summer morning, Pulse was Peterborough’s first open streets event. Running down George Street, along the River and then down Lock Street, the event linked City Hall to the Saturday Farmers Market with a ribbon of family focused activity. And what a list of things to do. Participants strolling or riding down the route could choose from Tai Chi demonstrations, fencing, poetry workshops, boccia games, disc golf, a bike playground, yoga, face painting and more. The Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Canoe Museum, B!ke, Peterborough Transit and many downtown businesses had display and information booths. You could try out separated bike lanes, the pop-up park, freeze dancing and have your bike checked out.
On-the-spot surveys of participants showed an overwhelming positive response to the event and plans are underway to hold the event again in 2016. Find out how you can be part of this year’s event at the Pulse homepage.
A number of programs ran in 2015 to teach cycling skills. In schools and in parks children were learning how to ride bikes more skillfully and more safely both on the road and on the trail.
Pedal Power, started in 2013 and run by B!ke and GreenUp, is a five week program that works with grade five students and gives them the skills and confidence to ride safely and well. As they become more connected to the streets, sidewalks and parks in their community, the program also helps students engage with their community and their environment. When kids become more confident and competent on their bikes they ride more safely and ride longer into adulthood.
The popular Sprockids mountain bike education program came to Peterborough in 2015. The Sprockids Program teaches young people 55 skills, which enable them to safely and successfully enjoy mountain biking. Working in cooperation with the Peterborough Cycling Club, the program started with a leader training program in May. Throughout the summer participants learned various mountain biking skills in the areas of safety, etiquette, riding skills and bicycle maintenance. Among many values, the program stresses full participation, individual progress, environmental stewardship, personal responsibility and respect for others.
Kids could improve their riding skills at bike rodeos held during Play Street events during the summer. Play Street events, organized by GreenUp, take a section of street and close it off to traffic and convert the space to a shared public play space. Play Street events featured puppetry demonstrations, a public barbecue and several cycling activities: a children’s bike handling course, a pop-up bike lane and a children’s bike swap. Play Streets events happened in May on Stewart Street and in September on Douro Street. By all reports, a great time was had by all, despite the ‘less-than-perfect’ weather.
Be on the lookout for these learning programs returning in 2016. They are popular.
The year closed out with B!KE: The Peterborough Community Cycling Hub moving from their lovely but rather small shop on Rubidge Street to a more spacious and centrally located shop on George Street, right in the downtown core. Besides the great location, the new store space is double the size and easily accessible from the street. The move will bring more visibility to this great organization.
What was especially great was how B!ke moved. An overwhelming response to a call for volunteers saw a veritable parade of people between the old and new locations, carrying and rolling the entire contents of the old location to the new shop. Check out “A Parade of Volunteers“, a great article at Peterborough Dialogues that describes the event (and has lots of pictures, too).
Let’s hope 2016 builds even more momentum for cycling events.