Cyclists make major contribution to community

The people that I have met through cycling and triathlons are the most positive, happy people one could know

I have never written to a paper before, but the letter from Mr. John Thomas has compelled me to do so. When I first read his letter I was feeling angry.

After reading it again several times, I now feel sorry for him. Sorry that he has had something in his life make him so callous and short sighted towards a group of people who chose to lead a healthy lifestyle.

I am a newer road cyclist. I purchased my road bike four summers ago and completed Ironman this year. (I am signed up for Challenge next year — Yay.) The people that I have met through cycling and triathlons are the most positive, happy people one could know. These people are not some “pack of freeloaders” as stated in his letter. In fact, they are made up of every demographic in our community. I guess Mr. Thomas thinks that everyone other than himself is a freeloader.

I do believe that all of these people pay taxes, and many pay a much larger share than others. And I do believe that they all own a vehicle. I also think that each one of these valued members of our community deserve to be safe when they are on the roads regardless of whether they are in their vehicle, or riding their bike. Each one has a family and friends that love them and wish them to be home each night safely.

To even suggest that improvements to our roads which consider the cycling community should be scrapped is down right cold and selfish. We add sidewalks to the sides of many roads to keep pedestrians safe. Perhaps we should only charge the people that actually walk on a given sidewalk?

The economic impact of the events held in and around our city are much further reaching than what Mr. Thomas states. Many local businesses benefit from the cycling/triathlon community that live here, beside the hospitality sector. All of the athletes that I know spend money at local sports outlets, health food stores, specialty stores and they all at some time see a chiropractor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, etc. — not because they are sick or injured (well, not usually anyway) but because they take care of their bodies in order to maintain and lead the healthy lifestyle they have chosen. They pay for these services with their own hard-earned dollars.

These people are healthy and in fact maybe they should all get a large tax break for not burdening our health care system as do those who choose not to lead a healthy lifestyle.

I find it actually humorous that Mr. Thomas is asking the City of Penticton to reconsider spending money on improving roads or cyclist when he lives in Kaleden. He even goes further and names several other communities in his letter, none of which he resides in.

The local triathlon/cycling clubs have many members. Some that are unable to still participate in events, but still actively volunteer for these events. In fact, all members do take time to volunteer for events throughout the year, and many for non-cycling triathlon events as well. In an effort to convince Mr. Thomas that these nuisances he speaks of are actually fine upstanding citizens of our community, I would like to invite him to volunteer at one of these events and actually meet some of us. I believe that he may find that he actually likes these people.

They are in fact the best people I know. I am honoured to have many as my friends. In fact, I like them so much that I bought road bikes for my two sons. They love riding and triathlons. They have had so many positive experiences interacting with many local athletes. Oh, and they are great students, are leaders in their schools, in the local swim club, play school and community sports, and they volunteer at events. Certainly not on their way to being freeloaders.

In closing, I would like to encourage the City of Penticton and the surrounding communities to continue to support healthy lifestyle opportunities for our beautiful cities. We live in the best place in Canada, and we have the potential to be even better. Do not let any chance slip away.

In life there are three types of people: Those that watch what happens, those that make things happen and those that wonder what happened (John Madden). Please let us all be the ones that make things happen.

Michael Kascak





Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Manny Panghli is January’s Rotary Student of the Month. (Submitted)
Rotary Student of the Month a quiet and caring leader on and off-ice

Manny Panghli is January’s student of the month

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

The next Canadian census will be held in May, 2021. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is urging its residents to complete the census form online. (Statistics Canada)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges participation in census

National census will be held in May, 2021 with COVID-19 protocols in place

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Vernon firefighters douse a fire inside a cardboard bin behind the Shops at Polson off Highway 6 Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Dumpster fire behind Vernon shopping mall

Vernon Fire Rescue Services respond doused recycling bin fire backing onto Polson Park

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read