Even as residents in many other parts of the province prepare to saddle up for Bike to Work Week, Michael Adiscott is gearing up for something you might call Bike to Work Week Plus.
The owner of The Outsider store in Qualicum Beach and a key organizer for this year’s Bike to Work Week said he’s hoping residents will ride to work during the week of May 30 to June 5, but he’s also encouraging them to cycle to the store to pick up a carton of milk, to the bank to grab some cash and then perhaps to a local coffee shop for a chat with friends.
“With Bike to Work Week, the government is looking to reduce carbon emissions, so that can be really any practical journey, whether that be grocery shopping, visiting with friends or taking the kids to school, as long as it is not about cycling as an end in itself,” he said. “There will be a lot of people for whom a short bike ride to work would be relevant, but the vast majority of the population journeys to meet friends and maybe go to the bowling club.”
In order to make participation in Bike to Work Week more attractive in this vein, Adiscott said he has persuaded some local restaurants to get on board to sweeten the pot.
“Food, bikes and company go together, so what I’ve done is negotiate a discount at restaurants and coffee shops throughout Oceanside, so if people ride to meet their friends for a cup of coffee and they register their kilometres, they get a discount or a cyclist special,” he said. “ Lets get people out to enjoy some of the things in our local community and do it by bike.”
That registration, he added, is important, because the province wants to get measurable data on how many kilometres were cycled during the campaign.
“The government is only going to recognize success on the basis of the kilometres registered in each community,” he said. “Then they can work out how many tons of carbon emissions were saved. We may not have the greatest number of kilometres or greatest number of participants in Oceanside, but I would like to shoot for the greatest uptake per head of population.”
Besides getting a break at local eateries, Adiscott said there are many other good reasons to participate in Bike to Work Week.
“If we can encourage people to get out of their cars and give bikes a try through this week, the individual, the community and the environment will see benefits,” he said.
“Friends and relatives benefit because you have more energy and a positive attitude. The endorphins get going and it’s all good stuff.”
The key, he continued, is for as many people as possible to just do what they can.
“If it is just biking to corner store and pick up newspaper and a carton of milk, that’s fine,” he said. “Just put in kilometres and for everyone who registers at least one journey there is a draw for hundreds of dollars worth of prizes. We want people to take something away from this to encourage them to do it again in the future and make it part of active living. You don’t have to book an appointment or go to a facility. Just roll the bike down the driveway and jump on at your leisure to carry out whatever journey is right for you.”
There is, of course, another good reason to consider, particularly in light of rising gas prices.
“It can save people a lot of money,” Adiscott said. “It’s a lot cheaper to ride than to drive.”
For more information about how to get involved in Bike to Work Week, visit oceansidecyclingcoalition.yolasite.com.