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Saskatoon Cycles February 2024 Newsletter

Winter BYXE Week 2024

The “Ice Cycle” Slow Roll to kick off Winter BYXE Week 2024.

Saskatoon Cycles is partnering with the city again this year to deliver BYXE Week activities to the broader community. The Winter session ran from February 17 -25, 2024, and saw scores of cyclists take part in a variety of pursuits, from a revamped Scavenger Hunt to a bustling series of Bike to Work Day stations.

Both the City of Saskatoon and Saskatoon Cycles participated in a range of news stories about the week’s purpose and scheduled events:

The “novelty” of the winter cyclist is still part of our culture, but there can be no doubt that comparing cold weather riders to unicorns is on the decline. Data shows a steady increase in participants over the past few years, and the response to the City of Saskatoon’s BYXE Week initiative shows that awareness of cycling as a winter activity is gaining traction.

Our very sincere appreciation goes out to all of the businesses who contributed prizes and time to make Winter BYXE Week such a fun time:

Get ready to join us from May 11 – 19 for Spring BYXE Week, where we’ll do it all again PLUS more!!

SafeConnect

We’re pleased to officially announce the launch of our advocacy program, “SafeConnect“, designed to bring a safer active transportation network into focus for all stakeholders in the city.

The demand for better cycling infrastructure took on a greater sense of urgency when Natasha Fox died in a collision on May 24, 2023 while cycling with her two young sons. Her death reverberated through the cycling community and sparked the mobilization of hundreds of cyclists, a city-wide outpouring of grief, and a number of motions at city council designed to improve safety at the intersection where she was hit.

The death of Darin Kinniewess less than four months later underscored the need for more attention to be paid to vulnerable road users in Saskatoon.

SafeConnect wants to apply the community’s interest and passion for safer, greener transportation options to not only a couple of intersections, but the entire city. We want every neighborhood in Saskatoon to be accessible and safely connected, so that Natasha and Darin’s stories are the last of their kinds to be heard.

The official stated goal of SafeConnect is for Saskatoon to have:

A baseline network of safer, continuous, and connected active transportation routes, free of gaps and danger zones, maintained appropriately, linking common Saskatoon destinations.

We’d love for you to be a part of the movement. Get all the details, read the Frequently Asked Questions, and find out how you can help at our dedicated page here: SafeConnect

“Lion or Lamb” Slow Roll – March 23, 2024

Putting the “art” in Artificial Intelligence; sheep don’t have to have hooves…

It’s always been hard to predict the weather in Saskatchewan. This year, it’s been really hard; melting one day, blizzard and -30 C the next.

So, the question on many minds is “what will March bring us”? Will it begin in a rage and finish off meekly? The opposite? Or will we see a whole new kind of March that comes in like a lion and just keeps roaring?

Whatever the weather, we hope you’ll join us for The “Lion or Lamb” Slow Roll on Saturday, March 23, 2024. The ride will probably resemble a lamb throughout, though some hills have been accused of lion-like tendencies.

As usual, we’ll be mustering at the River Landing Fire Vessel (just south of the Remai Modern Gallery) and departing at 2PM.

You should come out for a ride. We promise we won’t push you too baaad.

New Board of Directors Spotlight: Murray Gross

As a non-profit, Saskatoon Cycles relies heavily on the efforts of its volunteer board. Our Board of Directors bring a range of perspectives and skill sets to the organization, contributing what they can without pay or very much glory. At our AGM on November 15th, 2024 three people joined our Board. In this edition, we’ll introduce you to Murray Gross.

Q: Why do you ride a bike?

I ride for fitness, transportation, convenience, environmental reasons and to save money.  But  most of all, I ride because it is fun and riding offers a sense of freedom.  To quote John F. Kennedy… Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

Q: Why did you decide to run for the board? 

I believe that, the bicycle is a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems (not my quote).   I hope I will be able to support and add to the leadership of our cycling advocacy organization, as we work to normalize cycling as a safe transportation/fitness/recreation activity. 

Q: How would you describe cycling in Saskatoon to someone new to the city?

Cycling in Saskatoon is a mixed bag.  There are lots of great things about cycling and Saskatoon and there are lots of things we need to do as a community to improve the cycling experience.

PROS:

  • It is pretty flat.
  • The Meewasin Trail is an excellent resource.
  • The cycling clubs are active and there are opportunities for group rides.
  • The Saskatoon Cycles “Slow Rolls” are fun and easy to participate in.
  • The Saskatoon Cycles “Bike Valet” is a great resource and a way to ensure bike security at major community events.

CONS:

  • Bike security (i.e. your bike being where you locked it, when you come back is not guaranteed).
  • Bike lanes/bike ways are very limited, poorly thought out, poorly maintained, not continuous and do not serve the bike commuter terribly well.
  • There seems to be a sense of anger towards cyclists from vehicle drivers.
  • We have lost two riders in the past year…this makes me feel Sad, Angry and Vulnerable.

Q: If you could make one change to the cycling experience in Saskatoon overnight, what would it be?

City Council and the City of Saskatoon would meet its commitments and plans regarding Active Transportation, specifically be ensuring that there are safe, separated, marked, accessible and convenient bike ways/bike routes to major destinations through the city.

Q: Do you have any favourite cycling rides or routes in or around Saskatoon?

I enjoy riding on all parts of the Meewasin Trail.

Q: When you’re not cycling, what are your favourite activities?

When I am not cycling, I enjoy walking on the Meewasin Trail and hiking in general.  I like to read and am a regular patron of the Saskatoon Public Library.  I am the Chair of Jane’s Walk Saskatoon and lead walking tours during the Jane’s Walk Weekend (First Weekend of May).  I enjoy the work of researching and preparing walking tours. 

Information Building

Here’s another reminder (and we’ll be keeping on this throughout 2024) to help us lay the groundwork for better cycling in Saskatoon by contributing to cycling data collection. One of the biggest missing pieces we face is a lack of information that indicates how much cycling is happening and where our bikes are taking us. You can get started on the remedy for this gap today.

  1. Install Strava on your phone and track every ride or walk you take. You only need a free account. And if you already use a tracking app, check to see if it has a Strava integration. There are more than 100 apps that Strava connects with.

    Strava anonymizes the data from all users in an area and creates the Strava heatmap. Images from these heatmaps were a powerful visual to show that there are cyclists and walkers using the streets north of Circle Drive on Ave C. But we need as many cyclists as possible to be using that system!

  2. Bookmark Bikemaps.org and report every time you have a cycling crash, a near-miss, see a cycling hazard, or have your bike stolen. This is NOT instead of calling an ambulance or the police. Absolutely do that first if it’s needed!!

    Bikemaps.org is a system that aims to catch as many as possible of the almost 70% of all cycling incidents or near misses that don’t get reported officially.

Get Strava

Find out more about the Strava app at strava.com

Donate to Saskatoon Cycles

Your donations give us the resources to press toward a Saskatoon where cycling is a viable, year-round mode of transportation that is safe, convenient, and comfortable for all ages.

We want your kids and their grandma to simply hop on their bikes to go grab an ice cream and enjoy the beauty of Saskatoon. For you or your partner to pick up groceries or a library book. And we really want you to be able to commute to work and back safely and conveniently.

Your donation helps us work on these three ‘pillars’ of cycling development for Saskatoon:

  • Infrastructure – A safe, convenient, comfortable and well maintained cycling network throughout the city that allows cyclists to go from every neighbourhood to key destinations
  • Ridership – Educate, encourage, and promote cycling so more people choose bicycles as a convenient and safe transportation option year round.
  • Culture – Educate, encourage, and promote diversity in ridership with respectful inclusion of all modes of transportation.

Please Donate Today


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