Vélo Canada Bikes has had an amazing year, and Covid19 has reinvigorated the use of the bicycle while reminding Canadians that streets can be quiet. Join us for a wrap up of the year’s events, including EPIC, the announcement of a National Active Transportation Strategy, the COVID19 Resiliency Fund and the latest on the Healthy Communities Fund plus much much more.
Membership is not required to attend, but of course we encourage you to become a member if you aren’t already. You may also vote in our upcoming board elections, but must be a paid member or designated by your organization to do so. Please check your membership status here or become a member prior to September 25th, 2020.
Like millions of Canadians, Vélo Canada Bikes knows both the pure joy of riding a bicycle and the barriers and fears we face in a world full of traffic.
During COVID, record numbers of new people got to experience neighbourhoods in a new way. Suddenly an 8 year old was the only one on the street. Even younger children learned to cycle in a world much more like the one of their grandparents. People flocked to their local trail as a way to get healthy and safely social. And they didn’t stop.
As people began working from home or looking for active transport to work, bicycle numbers began to rise. Bicycle stores began to run out of stock.
The bicycle has turned out to be one of the pandemic’s only silver linings.
As we head back to school, we know that Canada’s kids are itching to bike even more than usual. We know that their parents’ thoughts will be on safer streets for them. We know we need solutions.
We’ve seen community after community react in innovative ways. Cities and small towns are turning curb lanes into real bike lanes at record rates – or trying to. They are doing it with help from the community, and with everything from orange pylons to flower pots to sawhorses.
It’s time to scale up. The new wave of engineering and planning starts at home. Roads are just the space between the houses, and they belong to us all. We have found new and innovative ways to share. Communities are forging new partnerships with small NGOs coast to coast as everyone searches for answers. The bicycle is one of the answers. Creating safe spaces to ride is how we get there.
As we approach winter, it is important to remind everyone that cycling in winter is quite normal around the world. Those places will be better prepared for the pandemic. And just as face years of uncertainty ahead, we need to start planning now for an even bigger bike boom next spring.
This time we will be ready.
It’s time to turn the plans you have into action. If you don’t have plans, make them now. You’ll found help everywhere. It’s easier than you think.
We are urging all levels of government, all communities and all families to follow the lead of the federal government. Make sure you make the most of the $3.3B made available for cycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, build on the power of the community to setup a network of free, fun and easy transportation, as fast as you can. With the announcement today of The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, you have a bigger opportunity to get involved at the ground level.
Vélo Canada Bikes is here to help. Canadians of the future will thank you.
Going to be in Calgary for the Winter Cycling Congress next month? Join Vélo Canada Bikes for a pre-event gathering to prepare for the 2019 Federal Election to ensure that bikes are on the agenda for all parties. Grab a bite, a pint and get ready to engage in some fun activities while we welcome delegates from around the world to Calgary, Alberta, Canada!
On November 30, Canada lost a passionate bike advocate. One of our founding members, Arno was involved in many organisations including Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (now HUB), the BC Cycling Coalition and even dipped his toes in politics as a Green Party candidate.
Known for his gentle nature even when pushing for change, Arno dedicated countless hours volunteering for a National Cycling Strategy with Vélo Canada Bikes. Van Bikes recently updated a blog detailing Arno’s advocacy history, and a ride celebrating his life and legacy was held on December 8th. Several articles have come out in the weeks since his death, each one highlighting what a national treasure Arno was.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and his extended and extensive bike family. If you would like to honour his legacy, please strike up a reasoned conversation with a non-bike rider, volunteer for your local bike advocacy group, or become a member of Vélo Canada Bikes. Nothing would celebrate his life more than a Bike Friendly Canada.
I will always remember him as a timeless advocate for cycling and as a gentle and elder statesman of the bike movement.
Vélo Canada Bikes has been taking part in the Transport Canada work as members of the Vulnerable Road Users Heavy Vehicle Advisory Committee for the last two years. The summary report has just been released, and the steering committee is looking at next steps.
Suburban born, year-round cyclist since grade school – living just inside the limit for school bus service and with inadequate public transportation – Geoffrey has always been keenly aware of the efficiency and fun of the bicycle as sport and transport. Urban dweller for the last 38 years this relationship with cycling has grown through: ongoing participation in a cycling club; as an organiser of the Montreal Ride of Silence for 7 consecutive years; as an early and continuing member of the Montreal Bike Coalition; fully autonomous bike vacations leaving from Montreal (New York City; Cape Cod; Toronto) and since early childhood daily year-round use of a bicycle for getting around.
Dan lives in Montreal and has studied in engineering and finance. He became
a cycling advocate 10 years ago and is now a spokesperson for the Montreal Bike Coalition. He also participates in several borough cycling associations. His dream – a 30% cycling modal share in Montreal. To get there he knows there are two key requirements to achieve that objective:
Glyn Bissix is a Professor in the Community Development, and Environmental and Sustainability Studies Programs at Acadia University. His PhD is from the London School of Economics in Resources and Environmental Management.
His teaching includes community design and active living, parks management, and strategic planning. His publications focus on integrated resource and environmental management, outdoor recreation, health inequalities, and active living; most recently focusing on the health, environmental, social and economic impacts of so called multiple use trails in Nova Scotia. Glyn is a founding member of Greenways Nova Scotia, an advocacy group promoting active transportation on community trails.