The Sunshine Coast’s first Active Transportation Month appears to be gaining momentum as it heads into the homestretch with Bike to Work and School Week from May 27 to June 2.
Transportation Choices Sunshine Coast (TraC), along with local governments, businesses and individuals, have organized 24 events so far this month ranging from dragon boating to bike polo, and there has been community involvement from Gibsons to Pender Harbour, TraC coordinator Elizabeth Lytviak said Wednesday.
Some of the highlights include four well-attended e-bike demos, performances on public transit by teenage fiddlers, a special Kids Ride the Bus program, and the aptly named Sufferfest race that brought out 19 cyclists on May 14, despite the rain and the daunting prospect of sprinting up Gibsons’ notoriously steep School Road hill.
Then there were the politicians.
Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish got the ball rolling with his pledge to bike to and from council meetings and his challenge to Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers to likewise use an “active transportation” option. The friendly rivalry culminated this week in a Mayors' Bike Off on Cowrie Street with Mayor Siegers, riding to victory on her electric bike, proving once again that in politics a win is a win.
The month really brought out the competitive streak in Elphinstone director Donna McMahon, who wrote Wednesday night in an email: “Assuming that I actually make it to the SCRD by bike tomorrow as planned and get home in one piece, I’ll have biked 230 km (almost three times the distance from Langdale to Earls Cove) and travelled 95 km by bus this month with a week yet to go. Can any other elected persons top me?” After further bravado, she signed the note: “Eat My Dust McMahon.” All in good fun, of course.
TraC conceived Active Transportation Month as a way of expanding Bike to Work and School Week to encompass all forms of alternate transportation. “Basically anything that doesn’t involve one person getting into a conventional internal combustion engine car and driving somewhere – everything else is fair game,” TraC director Dave Hawkins explained to Gibsons council in March.
While the buses and bike lanes could arguably be fuller, TraC’s idea has caught on with a lot of Coasters; for an inaugural year, it’s been a resounding success.
And there’s still a week to go. Celebration stations will be set up every morning next week from Monday to Friday in Sechelt and Gibsons as Bike to Work and School Week brings Active Transportation Month to a close. For more information visit www.transportationchoices.ca