At the Celebration Station out front of Whole Foods Market during the 2015 Bike to Work Week, Bike Barn mechanic Geoff Prowse tunes up a tired ride. Bike to Work and School Week runs from May 29 to June 4. Western News file photo

Getting residents tuned into biking to work

Bike to Work and School Week kicks off on Monday running until June 4

Penticton residents are being urged to park their cars and pedal to work next week.

Bike to Work and School Week kicks off Monday with the first celebration station, a breakfast hosted in Nanaimo Square by Shades on Main from 7 to 9 a.m.

“The event keeps growing every year. I would say it has doubled in the past four years to 600 participants last year. This year our goal is to have 700 participants,” said Karina Chambers, Penticton Bike to Work and School Week co-ordinator. “I think with a lot of parking issues downtown with increased use of cars, biking is a good alternative. I bike to work all year long and it is doable. Not only that, it is good for your health and your pocketbook.”

Each celebration station will have snacks, daily prizes, giveaways, bike check-ups from Freedom the Bike Shop, The Bike Barn and PDSCL Bike Shop. At each station, registered participants will have a chance to win the grand prize draw for a new commuter bike and a cycling trip along the Dalmation Coast in Croatia.

The weeklong event, running until June 4, is based around workplace teams whose members, led by their team leader, log their trips by recording distance travelled and other statistics in an effort to win prizes. Individuals can also register and cycle to work for the event.

This is the third year that Bike to School Week is held simultaneously to encourage youth to use their bikes, scooters or skateboards to travel to school. Skaha Middle School is hosting 1,000 KM of Awesome on May 30 to raise awareness around young riders on the road and to fundraise for their longboard program and the Brain Injury Society.

Students will be using non-motorized transportation to accumulate 1,000 km as they roll the distance along the walkaway along Skaha Beach.

“They did this a few years ago and have brought it back and the kids are really excited. It helps raise awareness among drivers that there are a lot of new riders on the roads and they should be patient with them and show them some respect as they are trying to ride along because they are going to make mistakes.

The students also have helmet day that same day and will talk about the importance of wearing one, brain injuries and really encourage the kids that helmets are cool. It is a big education piece of this for the kids,” said Chambers.

Other events during the week take place at Whole Foods Market from 7 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, SunFM/EZ/Rock radio station with snacks from Tim Hortons from 6:45 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Booster Juice at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre from 7 to 9 a.m. on Thursday and a barbecue hosted by Market Place IGA on Friday in Gyro Park from 4 to 6 p.m.

Cyclists wanting to take part in the friendly competition against other teams in the community or want to go their kilometres should visit www.biketoworkweek.ca/penticton to register. Participants must be registered to be eligible for prizes which include bragging rights, daily prizes, team challenge prizes and a chance at winning one of two commuter bikes.

Bike to Work and School Week is implemented in over 30 B.C. communities in a co-ordinated effort under the Bike to Work B.C. Society.