Jesse Van Den Brandand and 90 of his fellow students came through the Harwood Elementary School morning celebration station to enjoy snacks, giveaways and prize entries. (Bike to Work Week photo)

Strongest year yet for Bike to Work Week

Vernon shows pedal power with strong showing

Vernon has shown tremendous pedal power.

The City of Vernon reports that 2017 was one of the strongest years yet for participation in Bike to Work and School Week (May 28 to June 3), including a 24 per cent increase in Vernon cyclists compared to 2016. A total of 1,265 cyclists (a record 139 teams) participated in the week-long event, 411 of which were new to biking to work or school, who cycled a total of 17,168 kilometres, which is the equivalent 3,724 kilograms of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) saved. Just over 40 per cent of participants were elementary and high school students. Members of the community donated over $10,352 in prizes, food and in kind that led to more school students than ever participating and a record number of teams registering.

“Six elementary schools participated this year: Ellison Elementary, Harwood Elementary, Alexis Park Elementary, Beairsto Elementary and Kidston Elementary,” said Bike to Work Week coordinator Jill Williamson. “Each school hosted teams or celebration stations for their students and community members. Mission Hill Elementary held a bike rodeo to introduce young riders to safety rules and cycling techniques.”

A number of local participants received prizes. Bernice Alderson received a $500 gift card courtesy of CUPE 626 to the local cycle shop of her choice. Dave Roemer was the winner of a two-night Silver Star Resort family excursion and Kayla Taves was the winner of a full suspension Schwinn youth mountain bike from Canadian Tire.

The top local riders were:

Family Team: the Martens – five riders who cycled 1,205.20 kilometres, saving 261.30 kilograms in GHGs.

Community Team: the Newbees, consisting of 11 riders who cycled 1,022.35 kilometres, saving 221.68 kg in GHGs.

Business Team: Kal Tire with 47 riders who cycled 1,882.11 kilometres, saving 407.80 kilograms in GHGs.

Small Business Team: Westwood Wheelers, with eight riders cycling 305.99 kilometres, and saved 66.31 kilograms in GHGs.

Individual Rider: Murray Wood, who cycled 495 kilometres and saved over 100 kilograms in GHGs.

“There were several events during the week,” said Williamson. “Approximately 80 people joined Mayor Mund for a bike ride at the Sunday kick-off event at Polson Park on May 28. Bike skills training, local food trucks and e-bike demos courtesy of Olympia Cycle were included in the event. The midweek celebration station hosted by Sun Country Cycle with KissFM was popular with cyclists, attracting 88 riders for breakfast and coffee. And a wrap-up event was held on Friday evening in Vernon’s Civic Square.”

Provincially, over 44,000 riders participated, cycling a total of 1,109,340 kilometres and saving 240,582 kilograms in GHGs