For the fourth year in a row, Bike to Work Week has Pentictonites leaving their cars at home, swapping out their coffee mugs for water bottles during their commute and cycling into work.
“We’ve had over 100 people for the last three mornings,” said Rowena Tansley, the president of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association, on how popular the celebration stations have been during the week. The celebration stations are an incentive to potential cyclists where snacks and coffee are provided and safety checks are performed by Freedom Bike Shop and the Bike Barn.
“The weather has been great this year; the last couple of years have been kind of iffy, and it’s definitely a weather-dependent activity,” she added.
Bike to Work Week has businesses signing up teams to commit to riding to work. Aside from the health and environmental benefit, participants also have a chance to win prizes for participating.
As well, at the celebration stations, the City of Penticton has been showing off its proposed bike plan, which would see a number of projects undertaken to make Penticton’s more popular locales, such as the South Okanagan Events Centre and the college, more bike-accessible. At Thursday’s celebration station, the City of Penticton began its second phase of the bike plan, and taking feedback from the public as to what they think of the project.
While there was general support from the public around the project, there were also questions raised.
“Do we have the demographic to support the dollars spent? The usage of those bike lanes, I think it’s great, but is that the best way to spend our money?” asked Laura Kowalchuk, one of the cyclists at the station Thursday morning.
As well, Andreas Rohl, the manager of Copenhagen’s bicycle program, was on hand to answer any questions from the public about cycling and the planning.
He noted that there was a key difference in the attitude towards biking in Canada compared to Copenhagen.
“In Copenhagen, it’s perceived as something very simple and normal and not special, like you just do it,” he said. “It seems to be a bit different here, because it’s still not like a normal thing.
“There’s more tradition here of, you have to change your clothes, you have to get a helmet, you have to carry your bike up and down, and it makes it a bit more inconvenient, and if you want to make cycling mainstream, you have to make it convenient.”
Rohl also led a presentation Thursday night on cycling in Copenhagen, he said in the “hope there would be something that’s relevant for Penticton, and inspire how things can be done in Penticton, and compare my experiences in Denmark with my experiences in Canada.”