Worldwide winter cycling boom
By Kira Judge, Co-Chair, Saskatoon Cycles
- Sales of bicycles are skyrocketing all over the world
- Sales of winter cycling gear are way up this year too
- Thousands of new riders are joining the winter cycling boom
I don’t know about you but I am so inspired after the Winter Cycling Congress that was online on February 11th and 12th. There were many Canadians presenting on their progress and challenges and sharing tips with the rest of the world.
Our own Tyler Rittinger from Switching Gears Bike Radio shared his EcoQuest project for Grade 8. Luckily I was able to listen to him present and cried from the appreciation of what he does for kid’s independence that lasts forever making our kids independent and empowered to explore the world and his/her own potentials. Check out this interview I did with Tyler after the Congress.
Thank you Tyler for your service to the Saskatoon cycling community. How lucky we are to have Tyler living in Saskatoon.
The most important learning for me was that good cycling infrastructure is not just a transportation and environmental question, but also has to be seen as a tool for diversity and inclusion. Do you know that the bike friendliness of a city is measured by how often one sees women riding a bicycle? Next time I see a woman cycling, I am going to be celebrating her and silently saying thank you for riding your bicycle, sister! The infrastructure has to be inclusive for all abilities.
One amazing application from Oulu, Finland I am impressed by is a policy to request city contractors to demonstrate the understanding and the customer friendliness of a service they provide. The City of Oulu requires city contractors to have their own employees test any new infrastructure before it is opened up the public. If we would have had something similar in Saskatoon, the contractors who built our bike lanes would have been required to send out their employees to test ride the lanes before they were available for public to use.
Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal are advancing in their winter cycling infrastructure and policies. Measuring and putting effective key performance indicators (KPIs) in place can help ensure that decisions are empowered by data and will lead to an increase in ridership. It is very important to call ourselves a Winter City. So let’s accept and embrace the fact that we live in a Winter City, Saskatoon, with Nordic environment. Unless you are moving away from Saskatoon soon get ready for our 6+ months of winter, sometimes longer. Thus, embrace and love Saskatoon in winter too.
My takeaway on the success formula for continuing to grow our winter cycling community:
- Gather consistent data
- Build an inclusive infrastructure
- Attract women bicycle riders
Build it and they will come. Plough it and they will stay!
You can watch all of the Congress sessions here:
Winner of Winter Bike to Work Day contest
Congratulations to Morgan Tupps, who was the winner of our Instagram contest last Friday. We drew Morgan’s name from all the entries we received from people who snapped a cycling selfie on Winter Bike to Work Day and tagged us in their post. She picked up a prize pack that included a high-viz Shimano cycling vest from Bike Doctor, a gift certificate from D’lish by Tish Cafe, and a Saskatoon Cycles t-shirt.
We talk cycling infrastructure with Brian Pincott from Velo Canada Bikes
Our co-chair Kira Judge recently had the chance to chat with Brian Pincott, the executive director of Velo Canada Bikes. VCB’s focus is on a national strategy for cycling infrastructure. Brian is a former Calgary city councillor and was instrumental in building that city’s cycling network. It cost Calgary less than $4 million dollars in 2014. The largest expense was special traffic lights, but even these were a relatively nominal cost. Brian believes everyone has a right to be safe while biking. He has some great stats on the sizeable ROI (return on investment) from the walking, cycling, and trees that are all part of great active transportation infrastructure. Kira asked Brian a variety of questions about how to grow our cycling community here in Saskatoon. Over on our blog, you can read the highlights of their conversation or watch a video of their full discussion.
Heads up: Velo Canada Pedal Poll 2021 coming June 1-3
What is Pedal Poll 2021?
Communities counting cycling. On June 1st-3rd, 2021, we’ll map Canada’s potential to shift to a cycling nation post-pandemic. Vélo Canada Bikes and university researchers will use the data to support cycling as a part of the solution to climate change and COVID-19.
Why is it important?
People are getting around differently due to COVID-19. We’re seeing more bikes and we want to know who’s riding them, where, and how much. This will help plan so that cycling is accessible and appealing to Canadians of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
What is the objective?
Engage diverse communities in collecting cycling data in cities across Canada, with a focus on key routes.
How can you help?
Stay tuned to our blog, newsletter, and social channels for more details coming soon. Saskatoon Cycles will be coordinating data collection here in Saskatoon. In the meantime, check out the award-winning mobile app we’ll be using: It’s called CounterPoint, and it’s designed to utilize the power of citizen science and crowdsourcing to help the world understand how people move.