Ride with respect
Temperatures are finally on the rise. The snow is melting. And people want to get out of the house and into the fresh air…albeit at an appropriate physical distance from others. Let’s all be kind and patient out there on city streets and paths. Ride with respect for pedestrians and motorists.
Finding space to ride
Over the past month, our lives have turned up side down. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought lots of stress, sadness, and uncertainty. On the other hand, it also offers us a chance to reflect on all we have to be grateful for in our lives.
Even if you are physically isolating, we still have our bikes! Being able to explore the city, wind in our face, and a sense of joy in your heart is the perfect antidote for these days.
Last weekend, we submitted an open letter to the City of Saskatoon, asking City Council to consider temporarily opening up more road space to cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic, to support physical distancing. When we posted the letter, there were 32 signatures attached. As of Friday, April 17, close to 300 people had signed on to show their support.
While Council chose not to make any changes immediately, they have asked administration to look at what other prairie cities — Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg — are doing. So perhaps the door is not entirely shut.
There has never been a better time to be bold. We need outside-the-box thinking to identify solutions. For example, Tyler Rittinger and his family are using red cans to mark off a “demonstration lane” on Victoria Ave from 8th St heading south to 5th St (as an extension of the Victoria Ave cycle track) — to show just how simple and effective temporary traffic measures can be to implement (see photo at top of newsletter). An option the City could trial would be to designate many streets open for pedestrians and place a 20 km/hr speed limit for cars, so local traffic can continue to have access to their homes. City officials have expressed concern that if they close the Traffic bridge or Spadina for a few blocks it would act as a magnet, encouraging people to congregate. However, if we were to open streets all along the river there would be plenty of space for people to spread out. Open streets need to be very local in context, they need to be where the people are and need to go (eg grocery store, work, hospitals), they should be be part of a network, and they should link with parks. It will be a temporary solution.
We’re suggesting the City test some ideas, and communicate broadly about these with citizens. Monitoring the situation, collecting some data on use, and changing things as required would be better than simply hoping that people won’t congregate. This is a great opportunity for the City to demonstrate leadership in promoting the health and safety of the citizens of Saskatoon.
USask Bike Share Program
Five U of S students enrolled in a class called ‘Sustainability in Action’ (ENVS 401) have set the wheels in motion for a bike share program on the USask campus. Their goal is to develop a green, efficient, cost-effective and convenient bicycle sharing service, to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce carbon emissions. The team has already secured $650 in funding, and received two donated bikes. While the pandemic has forced them to hit the pause button, the students plan to launch once campus reopens. Watch our website for more details.
Friends of Cycling: 9 Mile Legacy Brewing
We are pleased to introduce our second “Friends of Cycling” merchant: 9 Mile Legacy. Saskatoon Cycles appreciates their continued support of our mission to make cycling a viable, year-round mode of transportation that is safe and convenient for all ages. It was 9 Mile (and their neighbours, Doug’s Spoke N’ Sport) that added that great new piece of cycling infrastructure last summer — the bike patio.
While their always warm and friendly taproom is shut down right now because of the pandemic, you can still get your fix of great local craft beer for pickup or delivery through their virtual taproom. Be sure to tell them that you heard they were a Friend of Cycling in the Saskatoon Cycles newsletter. You can also follow 9 Mile Legacy Brewing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Our new Friends of Cycling program recognizes bike-friendly businesses around town. Show them some love by shopping in stores proudly displaying the Friends of Cycling decal in their window.
Used Bike Sale and Expo…cancelled
We were getting so excited to be part of this event. Half of our Expo was filled, volunteers were signing up, and many people had contacted us offering to donate bikes. It looked like it was going to be an amazing day. Of course you will know that we have cancelled. As much of our planning was well in hand we will have a jump on next year.
Bike to Work Day…cancelled
The good news? Our RFQ to organize and run this year’s Bike to Work Day in May was selected by the City of Saskatoon. Yay! The bad news? Bike to Work Day has been cancelled or postponed.
As Saskatoon’s various spring and summer festivals fall like raindrops, it’s beginning to look like there won’t be much call our Bike Valet service this year. If some events are simply postponed, we will be ready.
Good news! We were awarded an Environmental grant to help this very successful community service along. Bad News: The festivals have cancelled. Good News! We can keep this grant and use it for the 2021 season.
Tune in to CFCR Thursday nights for Switching Gears Bike Radio
Tyler Rittinger’s Shifting Gears radio program airs every Thursday at 6:30 pm on CFCR Radio. Listen on your radio or the CFCR app.
Wanted: commuter bicycle
Hi fellow avid bicycle riders. Due to recent unforeseen financial calamities, I have decided to cancel my car license plate and ride or walk. But without a bike — my last two have been stolen out of my backyard — cycling is not currently an option. I am hoping someone in the Saskatoon cycling community will sell me a good, sturdy, well-maintained bike. I don’t need any bells and whistles (although a bell would be nice!), just something to help me get groceries and exercise. I can afford $100. Thank you in advance for your generosity. Sincerely, Anita Fuller (306-713-9491)