This is Bike to Work Week and two Huu-ay-aht First Nations staff members are taking part and pedaling to work. Annie Merritt, Policy Analyst for Employment and Training, and Ian Benoit, Policy Coordinator, have been biking to their respective offices all week.
Annie has been involved in Cycle Alberni, a local organization that started in March. “Our group launched Bike to Work Week as our first initiative since the timing aligned well with the provincial initiative,” she says. Annie points out that Bike to Work Week happens all across the province in different towns/cities. While some funding and online sign-up services etc. are provided by the provincial government, the initiative depends on local groups to organize the logistics.
“My main contribution has been designing various posters for the Bike to Work and Bike to School programs. One of our next steps once BWW is over is to begin mapping the different bike racks in town so that we can determine where the gaps are and potentially partner with businesses to address these gaps. I got involved because I have been a commuter cyclist for at least 10 years, and I am passionate about cycling as a way of checking off all the boxes: getting exercise, having fun, saving money on gas, and getting around in an environmentally friendly way.”
Ian says, “This is the first time I have ever done Bike to Work Week. I think it is a fun way to work some exercise into your day, while also giving people an excuse to experiment with a more sustainable lifestyle.”
According to Biketowork.ca, Bike to Work Week (BTWW) began in Greater Victoria in 1995 with a core group of commuter cyclists committed to raising the profile of commuter cycling. Approximately 500 people participated that year. In 2014, more than 44 regions/communities took part with the following stats:
– 25,000 Participants
– 5,963 First-time commuter cyclists
– 3,000+ Workplaces participated
– 955,110 Kilometres were cycled
– 207,068 Kilograms of CO2 were saved from entering the atmosphere
– 28,653,303 Calories were burned
– $61,747 In Gas saved
Remember that on June 10, The Huu-ay-aht team will be pedaling too. This time for the Heart & Stroke Foundation that is raising funds to increase research for cardiovascular disease and stroke. This bike is 10’x33’, can be ridden by 29 people and weighs 2000 lbs. Join us and together we will improve the statistics of survival: http://support.heartandstroke.ca/site/TR/BigBike2015/BB_General_2015?team_id=9429&pg=team&fr_id=1188