Q: Who are you and why do you ride a bike?
I’m a doctoral psychologist in a clinical-community group practice, so in my days, I mostly see patients. The community part of this means I’m interested in things that make people feel good, which bring happiness. This includes being active and outside. I’m a bicycle commuter, not really riding for recreation, unless we have travelled somewhere. About 20 years ago I noticed that I was finding it increasingly stressful getting from place to place in Saskatoon, so I started focussing on what made the journey or trip more or less enjoyable. This meant, for me, not driving in spring, summer, and fall. About 5 years after that, I bought studded tires and started riding in winter too. It’s one of those happy parts of my day: in all weather, to ride home, and decompress. Riding a bicycle is one of those built-into-your-day mindfulness things: I recommend it. I haven’t found another form of transport that does that for me.
Q: How long have you been on the Saskatoon Cycles Board of Directors?
I’ve spent one year so far on the board.
Q: Besides being on the Board, what other Saskatoon Cycles activity/initiative do you volunteer your time towards?
I’ve attended some meetings with the people who plan Saskatoon’s transportation, to get a sense of how we might contribute to better active transportation in #yxe. The first Saskatoon bike sale and swap was a lot of fun; I’m looking forward to the next one, in May 2020.
Q: In an average month, about how much time do you contribute to Saskatoon Cycles, between being on the Board and your other volunteer efforts?
2 to 4 hours with Saskatoon Cycles. I am also on another unrelated community committee which takes about the same amount of time.
Q: What has been the highlight of your involvement with Saskatoon Cycles so far? What are you most proud of?
I’m interested to see what further dialogue we can have with those who plan “active transportation” in the city. I’d sure like to see the “all ages and abilities” idea take off, so that anyone who thinks of riding a bicycle anywhere in the city doesn’t hesitate because they worry about safety. I’ve met lots of people who cycle and people who like bicycles: a community of people with a common interest. I attended the World Winter Cycling Congress in Calgary in February 2019; that was extremely informative and extremely fun. Did you know that Calgary has a complete all-year separated cycle track network in the downtown (separated bike lanes), a 4-season bike sharing program, and year round bicycle police? These are things we can aspire to here.
Q: Why are you involved with Saskatoon Cycles? What do you get from being involved?
I am a commuter by bicycle. I want to see transportation options in Saskatoon that allow those who can’t or don’t drive a car the same opportunities to get from place to place. And to not be fearful of being struck by someone in a car. As an older adult, I thought it was important that people can understand that it isn’t athletic to ride a bicycle to get from place to place, it’s just transportation. That a person on a bicycle shouldn’t have to be brave to ride in #yxe. I hope to help with Saskatoon’s struggle to understand “transportation equality” – that everyone deserves the right to travel safely and to not have conflict with other street users. I hope that our civic leaders and planners can lead on this issue, and think outside of the car.
Q: What would you say to someone considering becoming a board member?
It’s a diverse group with one thing in common: cycling forms some part of their life. You don’t have to know much about cycling or how a board operates. People who cycle are friendly. Contact Saskatoon Cycles or a board member, like me @JamesBicycle (Twitter).