It started with a crash, fitting since for the third year in a row the regional district beat the City of Penticton in a Bike To Work Week challenge.
Mayor Dan Ashton, being pushed by City CAO Annette Antoniak, rode his tricycle only a few feet from the start line at City Hall before taking a header. Adjusting his helmet, he hopped right back on and rode down the 100 block of Main Street on Monday as part of the punishment for the city staff failing to put more kilometres on their bikes last week than the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.
“It was a good ride … I tell you if I was Axel Merckx I would be looking over my shoulder for the Granfondo coming up. That was a good practice run,” joked Ashton. “For everybody that participated this week it was wonderful, and it wasn’t just the city and the regional district, we got a whole bunch more people riding in Bike To Work Week and that makes all the difference.”
The losing squad’s CAO had to push Ashton on the decorated trike, and this year the average percentage of RDOS employees who cycled to work each day was 28 per cent. The City of Penticton’s participation rate, though up substantially from last year, was 26 per cent.
“We were caught a little unprepared this year, usually they have no showing at all,” joked RDOS CAO Bill Newell. “So this year when they actually came out with some riders means we are going to get better organized.”
Overall the event had 60 registered teams with a total of 195 cyclists. Combined those riders pedalled 6,984.96 kilometres. Adam Cunningham was a rider who actually didn’t plan on participating, but when the City of Penticton challenged the RDOS to see who could get the highest participation rates he couldn’t resist. Cunningham, a water systems operator at the RDOS, rode from Keremeos into the RDOS office in Penticton last Thursday. The journey was a long 49 km on his borrowed bike from his triathlete girlfriend. Cunningham was not used to sitting in a bike seat for extended periods of time.
Rowena Tansley, vice president of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association who organized the event with financial support from the province, the City of Penticton and Fortis, said the whole week was a success with lots of people turning out to the celebration stations. These were held every morning at a different location each day across the city where riders could grab a free coffee, snacks and enter for prizes.
“The celebration stations were really a success, we were finding so many people saying they wish that there was a station every morning throughout the year. On Friday people were riding all the way across town to the south to get their coffee, enter prizes and just chat with other bike riders,” said Tansley. “We had a lot of great sponsors that helped us out and hopefully that will continue to next year’s event.”
The winner of the Bike Barn Trek Utopia bike draw was Ivo Hoevers of the Blaze King/Valley Comfort Systems team, while Justine Savage from Whole Foods Market Wheat Grass Cafe won the Giant Cruiser from Freedom Bike Shop.