The Okanagan Rail Trail, which is 50km in length, starts at the north end of Kalamalka Lake and ends at the center of Okanagan Lake, downtown Kelowna. (Contributed)

Pedal Through the Pandemic: How to stay fit and combat COVID-19

Garry Norkum owner and manager of Cyclepath in Kelowna encourages biking at this time

When it comes to staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t be too cautious, which is why cycling is the perfect pandemic practice.

Since the B.C. government banned all gatherings with more than 50 people, on March 16, maintaining daily routine has become increasingly difficult. Using public transit is being cautioned against, as is working out in fitness centres and socializing at restaurants is becoming harder to do, which is why cycling covers all of the bases.

Garry Norkum owner and manager of Cyclepath in Kelowna, is advocating for the public to dust off their wheels and take a spin.

“We’re supporting bicycles for both recreation and transportation during these times,” said Norkum.

“I would sure hope that they don’t ask us to close down because there’s not a lot of people can do right now. You can hike or you can bike. You can’t go to the movie theatre, you can’t go bowling and malls are getting curtailed. About the only safe thing, you can do is bike.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Kelowna grocery store steps up methods to increase sanitation

Cycling is not only an environmentally friendly means of transportation, but a form of good exercise and safe travel. The Okanagan is home to the Rail Trail, which is 50 km in length, starting at the north end of Kalamalka Lake and ending at Okanagan Lake, downtown Kelowna.

Ride to the grocery store, or explore the Okanagan’s beauty with some friends, but remember, social distancing is key.

“I’m in the bike business, but I believe in it for a lot of reasons,” said Norkum.

“A couple of reasons are exercise and alternate transportation and in this case, it’s also healthier from the virus perspective.”

To encourage the community to hop on their bikes, Cyclepath is stepping it up, providing free tune-ups, free bike pick-up and drop-off services as well as free delivery on orders over $100.

A portion of the Okanagan Rail Trail near Vernon is still being worked on to prevent and fix some erosion. The section is from kilometre 2.5 (about one km south of the Kickwillie entrance, to km 12.5 which is south from the Kekuli Bay entrance).

This section is only closed from 7-5 p.m. on weekdays, and is open on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. The North Okanagan Regional District is on schedule and hopes to complete the work by mid-April.

READ MORE: Canoe carving project helps to revitalize Okanagan First Nations’ culture

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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