Participants in the Critical Mass Bike Ride and Parade gather at the Spirit Square before heading through the city to celebrate GoByBike Weeks in October 2022.
By Erin Hitchcock, Air Aware Educator
This fall’s GoByBike Weeks event was incredibly successful, with the biannual event appearing to grow in momentum.
Taking place for two weeks from Oct. 3 to 16, more than 1,000 kilograms of greenhouse gases were saved from our airshed by the 122 people who registered and collectively logged 4,729 kilometres by cycling or using other forms of active transportation.
During that time, several fun and educational events took place:
- A Bike Bus at Cataline Elementary School – volunteers helped 18 children there get to school in the morning and home in the afternoon by bike on the two Fridays during the event.
- Seniors on Wheels and E-Bike demo at the Seniors Activity Centre – a display and conversations with seniors about active transportation and GoByBike Weeks and an electric bike demo where people could try them out.
- Politician on a Pedal Challenge and Guided Tour – As it was election time, we invited politicians and candidates to take part in the event and send in photos of them on bikes and testimonials about why cycling and active transportation is important. Several also participated in guided group ride, so they could experience the “Bad and the Ugly” – the Mackenzie/Highway 20 bridge section linking downtown to the west side of the city, an area that has been expressed by many in the cycling community to be a barrier and major safety issue.
- Bike Recycling at local schools – Mary Forbes, waste educator with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society, spent full weekdays throughout the entire event at local schools teaching students about bike recycling – children took apart old bicycles and learned how the parts work!
- Bike Swap – Forbes also held a two-day Bike Swap event next to the Potato House. After Mary collects and fixes old bikes she gives them away to those who need a bike.
- Critical Mass Bike Ride and Parade – To celebrate and wrap-up GoByBike Weeks, we had a Critical Mass Bike Ride and Parade, starting from the Spirit Square. About 40 cyclists and one longboarder rode as a group through the city, including Boitanio Park where we stopped for a break and dance and then to Mr. Mikes for some prizes and socialization.
Left: Participants in the Critical Mass Bike Ride and Parade gather at City Hall for some pics during the ride. Middle: Kim Newsted demos his E-Bike during the Seniors on Wheels event. Right: Volunteers and Cataline Elementary School students taking part in the “Bike Bus” group together before leaving school on a Friday afternoon. For more photos, visit Go By Bike Williams Lake on facebook.
We would like to send a big thanks to all of the volunteers who helped, including Ruth Lloyd and Denise Deschene, as well as the many businesses and organizations that sponsored prizes, offered discounts, or provided other forms of support during the event: Cycle Logic, Next GENeral, Red Tomato Pies, Red Shreds Bike & Board Shed, Thrift Bucket, The Bean Counter, The Realm of Toys, Fox Mountain Brewing Co, The Open Book, Spectra Power Sports, Scout Island Nature Centre, the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society, the Seniors Activity Centre, The Cariboo Regional District – Williams Lake Library, and School District 27, as well as the Government of BC, Black Press Media, BC Transit, BC Hydro, Exodus Travels, and ICBC.
Plans are in the works for the spring GoByBike event, which runs May 29 to June 5. Stay tuned!
Erin Hitchcock is the community coordinator for GoByBike Weeks and Air Aware Educator with Scout Island Nature Centre. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of BC through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.