Penticton has a very good climate and topography for cycling. Many people live on the valley bottom and if we create north-south and east-west bicycle lane connectors there would be great flat routes on which many residents could carry out their activities by bicycle.
Years ago I decided that if people in Vancouver could don their rain jackets each day and walk or cycle to work we could surely do it in Penticton. Our winters may be a little colder, but we have far less precipitation to worry about.
Cycling year round may not be for everyone, but it is possible to do with some preparation and determination. I find it very satisfying to leave my frost-covered car in the driveway and ride my bike to work in the seven minutes that it would have also taken me scrape, warm-up, drive to work and park my car.
I also feel a greater connection to the things around me that our vehicles insulate us from; the biggest one being a more personal contact with neighbours and other cyclists and pedestrians.
There are many people who do not feel comfortable cycling in traffic. While we continue to improve driver and cyclist education, the safest thing for communities to do is to provide bike lanes which will encourage more cyclists out on the road.
The City of Penticton recognizes that many communities are moving in this direction and have designed a cycling network plan for our city. It may not be ideal for everyone, but it is a very good start and sometimes the benefits of actions are not realized for many years.
Keeping an open mind to change is good and change that decreases consumption of fossil fuels and promotes a healthier lifestyle is a goal we should all aim for. Transportation by bicycle is nothing new, it is just a return to something that was once considered an everyday component of life.