Rocky Mountain Outlook, Thursday, Dec 01, 2016
CCC board chair Jen Tweddell said the group is launching an awareness campaign around winter biking that includes a seminar on how to do so safely and a group night ride and Light Up Your Ride workshop in December.
“The focus of our activity will begin on Dec. 4, when we kick off with the Bike All Winter workshop at artsPlace,” Tweddell said. “We will talk about all aspects of winter riding, like what you should wear and how to maintain your bike, so people are comfortable and happy riding around town all winter.”
Canmore Community Cruisers has launched a hashtag on social media to help the public education campaign gain momentum with #bikeallwinter. Tweddell said they are encouraging all cyclists to share their stories, tips and photos about biking around Canmore in winter through the hashtag.
Obviously, one of the key areas of winter biking is having appropriate lights on your bike so you are visible at night. The Traffic Safety Act in Alberta requires cyclists to have a light on their bike when they are travelling in the dark – and with shorter days in winter it becomes more important to ensure cyclists have the right gear.
Tweddell said between Dec. 4 and 21 volunteers with the Cruisers will be out and about in Canmore – and highly visible – giving out front and rear lights for bikes thanks to help from the Bicycle Cafe, which has helped getting the lights for a good price.
“Being visible is a really big part of winter biking,” she said. “Our vision as an organization is that Canmore is a community in which everyone is comfortable in choosing cycling as their preferred way of getting around town.”
The Winter Cycling Seminar is set for Saturday (Dec. 4) at artsPlace and will kick off the winter biking educational campaign. The Dec. 21 event – held on the winter solstice – is expected to be a fun, engaging event where those who attend (and bring their bike) can Light Up Their Ride.
Tweddell said CCC will have various reflective materials, light sticks and strings to get creative in decorating bikes and follow that with a winter group ride.
“Once the bikes are lit up and decorated, we will go on a fun group ride around town to celebrate the shortest day and we will have prizes for the best and brightest bike too,” said Tweddell, adding you don’t need a fat bike or special gear to participate.
“When the snow comes, many people think it is time to put the bike away and we are trying to share our way of riding all year round and show it can be fun, easy and convenient.”
She said perhaps being “highly visible” might become the new cool and trendy way to winter bike in Canmore and add to the local and exciting bike culture.
The educational campaign has partnered with the Town of Canmore and Lawrence Grassi Middle School, which has implemented a pilot school travel planning project with a grant from the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund.
The planning project has already revealed that students at LGMS are riding their bikes to school, however, less than 25 per cent have bike lights or reflective clothing on to improve their visibility.
Find out more information about CCC at communitycruisers.ca or their Facebook page.