Cyclists are preparing for GoByBike week, which starts on Monday. The week has brought awareness to active transportation across the province since 1995.
Alex Stanciu works for Hub City Cycles, who are responsible for running Nanaimo’s event. He says he hopes the event encourages people to avoid driving on short trips.
“We already have the infrastructure to go further places with a bus, taking 20 or 30 minutes to go from here to Walmart or something like that, but there’s not really that big of an infrastructure yet to have people go to these smaller ranges,” says Stanciu. “So I think promoting active transportation helps with that, while it also has health benefits to it.”
Each year bikers track their travel throughout the week. Last spring, over 37,000 riders peddled over 1.1 million kilometres, saving 250,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.
This year, there are 130 riders with 36 teams registered on the GoByBike BC website in Nanaimo. Riders track their progress on their account through the website.
This season, the event is recognizing those who travel on many different forms of active transportation, not just a bike.
“We’re trying to push forward more this idea of having more modes of transportation that don’t require an engine,” says Stanciu. “There’s this new mode [of tracking your rides] called a shift mode, where you no longer need to be riding on a bike. You can ride on a scooter or some rollerblades or anything that has wheels, but no engine.”
The week starts with a kick-off celebration on Sunday at Maffeo Sutton Park. They’ll be down there from 3-5 pm with the key event being a race between bikes and cars from the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital ending at the park.
It’s a week full of giveaways with anyone who tracks their ride automatically entered into the draws for prizes with bikers from across the province. The grand prize this season is a self-guided cycling adventure for two in Croatia. Other prizes will be given out locally for the most kilometres ridden and the top team.
They will also have “Celebration Stations” located around the community in a different spot every day.
Celebration Stations in Nanaimo:
Monday, May 29th from 7 am-9 am: Coast Bastion Square Park (4th and Wakesiah)
Tuesday, May 30th from 3 pm-5 pm: Steve Smith Bike Park
Wednesday, May 31st from 7 am – 9 am: E&N at Metral Dr
Thursday, June 1 from 3 pm – 5 pm: Devrill Square
Friday, June 2 from 3 pm – 5 pm: Westwood Lake trail
“It’s a very exciting week,” says Stanciu. “We’re trying to support the community and helping and encouraging them to ride bikes and showing that you can get to places around Nanaimo without a car.”