Cyclists who pedal their way to Family Day celebrations in Qualicum Beach on May 27 will be able to leave their mounts and enjoy the fun, knowing their bikes are safe.
That’s because, said Jim Swanson, a spokesperson for the Oceanside Cycling Coalition, his group will be on hand to provide a bicycle valet service on-site.
The move, he said, is the first step of Bike to Work Week, which runs from May 28 to June 3.
“There’s a whole week of events, starting off with Family Day,” Swanson said. “We will be cycling in the Family Day parade and then offer a bike valet service at the fields in Qualicum Beach. Then the RCMP will be engraving license plate numbers on bikes in an attempt to reduce the number of bike thefts.”
That’s just the start, however.
Qualicum Beach residents will then have an opportunity at 4 p.m. on Monday to ride along with Mayor Teunis Westbroek and town councillors as they head off from the Legion along the Dollymount Trail, up Qualicum Road, down the ring road, back to Arbutus and ending at town hall.
Not to be outdone, Parksville residents will be invited to join Mayor Chris Burger and the rest of council on a bike ride Tuesday, starting at Community Park, along Pioneer Crescent, across the orange bridge, through San Pareil to Rathtrevor and back.
“Both rides are on popular bike routes in the communities,” Swanson said.
“They are nice, quiet routes to ride.”
Those two rides are just the warmup to the big community ride, slated for June 3. In this event, he said, cyclists will converge on the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks from both Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
“People can start at the Community and Conference Centre at 12:30 p.m. and ride to the cheeseworks from there,” Swanson said. “From Qualicum Beach they will leave from the Legion.”
The point of the rides, he said, is to raise public awareness of cycling as a safe mode of transportation from one point to another in the community.
“It’s also good physical activity,” he said, “As well, people get to explore their community. A lot of people don’t know the Parksville—Qualicum link trail exists. We’re hoping they see it as a good place to ride and maybe go again.”
Bike to Work Week, he noted, is one small step towards lowering each community’s carbon footprint.
Last year’s event saw 15,166 cyclists take part in 18 communities across the province. Leaving their vehicles at home and cycling, Swanson added, saved 168,268 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Locally, we had 118 cyclists who rode more than 1,500 kilometres,” he said.