by Kira Judge, co-chair, Saskatoon Cycles
If you are like me, there’s an internal debate around whether to head outside when the temperatures get below freezing. One part of my brain tells me it’s cold and miserable; the other tells me I’ll be glad to fully embrace winter. Of course, once I’ve made the decision to be in the fresh air, I am always grateful. I beam with joy and gratitude, especially when I’ve taken my bike to get somewhere. Every choice leads to better habits, and as you know, these habits form us and define our destiny.
But do we realize how privileged we are to be winter cyclists? I had a lot of support and guidance in the process of getting comfortable with all kinds of winter activities, cycling among them. There are so many obstacles that prevent many in our community from engaging in the season: finding correct gear and clothing, a lack of knowledge and training for active transportation, even our basic infrastructure can be problematic, especially if one is in a traditionally marginalized demographic. It takes considerable effort to overcome these barriers, and requires experience and support from those who have already been lucky enough to do so.
Since our Keep Rolling event on October 16th, many things have happened that remind me of the importance of the work Saskatoon Cycles does and the impacts it can have locally, nationally, and globally:
- I met so many people through our Keep Rolling mentorship program, many of whom are non-cyclists.
- The Enchanted Forest is only “considering” one walking tour of their light show this year (we wrote a letter to the organizers).
- At COP26, cycling infrastructure was not recognized as part of the solution to climate change.
- Unprecedented flooding in BC and NFLD brought destruction to many communities, many still just recovering from droughts and fires this past summer.
- COVID-19 continues to wear on our collective mental health, especially as we try to stay active over winter.
If you are like me, you can see the connections within these challenges. They’re overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Exciting, because our choices in the face of adversity can lead to better habits. We can define our destiny.
Saskatoon Cycles is taking baby steps to do our part toward more sustainable living:
- planning a few winter events for mentorship program and inviting winter cyclists to mentor other families in any winter activities,
- working with Mitacs on a pilot program called ZenZED to try out our first business model for cycling courier business,
- working with Mitacs on an inner city living guide to provide information support to our community,
- a pending survey to members for options to make Saskatoon Cycles financially stable in the long term.
By sharing our knowledge, experience, and privilege, we can maybe move the needle on the big issues facing us. Please consider joining our weekly meet ups (“Bikes & Banter”) where we inspire each other by sharing our love of winter and building community!