Thirty-five residents and Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz pedalled through Chilliwack yesterday morning as Bike to Work Week continues in the Fraser Valley.
“Cycling is a great way to stay healthy. It gets cars off the road and softens our environmental footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When you ride your bike to work, it can make commuting the best part of your day,” says Gaetz, who led the ride on Wednesday.
Orlando Schmidt (pictured below), president of Bike to Work B.C. Society, cycled from Abbotsford to Chilliwack to join the ride.
“As president of the Bike to Work B.C. Society, I wanted to get out of my own community to see how Bike to Work Week is going in other communities and provide some encouragement. I left my house at about 5:30 a.m. for a quiet solo ride to Chilliwack to hopefully get there for the start of the Bike to Work with the mayor ride,” he said. “As I pulled onto Evans Road, I could see a long trail of riders ahead of me and I was able to catch up to them at Evans elementary. I was very excited to meet up with a group of happy cyclists joining the mayor for the ride.”
“The volunteers in front of Safeway (the final stop) gave us a warm welcome and there was a ton of positive energy at the celebration station. This was a really exciting event and worth every kilometre I cycled to join the group in Chilliwack.”
So far this year, Bike to Work Week has hit record-breaking participation stats, and the numbers continue to climb daily. In the Fraser Valley, there are already 788 riders registered, 267 of which are Chilliwack residents. Also record-breaking, more than 27,600 riders have registered province-wide.
Bike to Work Fraser Valley has challenged Bike to Work Nanaimo to a competition to see which organization can get the most riders registered, the most kilometres logged, and save the most kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Nanaimo has a much higher percent participation per capita than Fraser Valley, but Nanaimo has always had participation rates just slightly above Fraser Valley’s and a friendly competition with them is a fun way for both of our regions to strive towards getting more and more people on their bikes,” said Terri-Lynn Gifford, program coordinator for Bike to Work Fraser Valley.
As it stands today, Nanaimo has 705 riders registered and 8,900 kilometres cycled; whereas Fraser Valley’s 788 participants have logged 5,200 kilometres cycled.
“We won’t know who truly ‘wins’ until after the event, once everyone has logged all of their kilometres cycled. There are still 4 more days for people to register and they have an extra week after Bike to Work Week to log their kilometres, so this competition is still so close and can go either way,” she adds.
If the health and environmental benefits aren’t enough to motivate residents to try biking to work this week, then how about a chance to win a trip to Europe? This year, registered participants have an opportunity to enter to win a lot of great prizes including a grand prize of a cycling trip tour for two from Prague to Budapest.
To be eligible to win any of the prizes, participants register for free at www.biketowork.ca. If people cannot cycle to work or school, they can cycle to run errands, meet friends for coffee, or anywhere else that they’d normally drive to in order to qualify for the prize draw.
“The goal is to cut down the use of a vehicle during Bike to Work Week and use a bike instead,” said Gifford. “We hope people discover that biking to get where they need to go is enjoyable.”
For more information about the bike ride, or about Bike to Work Week, visit www.biketowork.ca/fraser-valley.