For the love of bike

It was a hectic return to “real life” last week, but I am just in time for Bike to Work Week in Fort St. James!

It was a hectic return to “real life” last week after two weeks of glorious travel and cycling around the Adriatic Sea for my vacation, but I have returned just in time to get prepped for Bike to Work Week in Fort St. James!

This will be the first ever year Fort St. James has participated as a municipality in the provincial Bike to Work B.C. event.

The event takes place from May 27 until June 2 and is an event which in 2012 included more than 25 communities across B.C. and 19,439 participants.

Started in 1995 in Victoria, B.C., Bike to Work Week was meant to encourage safe commuting by bicycle as a viable alternative to driving.

Since then, biking has been growing as both a form of transportation, recreation and culture, and has begun to take over some cities, with places like San Francisco and Portland becoming well-known for their urban bike culture and hipsters everywhere embracing the bicycle as a form of transportation everyday.

Of course, you don’t have to be a hipster to embrace the bike as transport, and not one of those on my recent vacation, which included a seven-day bicycle tour, would identify themselves as a hipster of any kind (and most would not even know what one was).

My father, for example, is not, per se, a cyclist.

Growing up on the outskirts of Williams Lake, he did not spend afternoons biking the dirt roads and steep hillsides around his childhood home.

Instead, the family did weekend horse rides rather than bike rides, and biking would more likely have been something identified with more “citified” types and places.

But for some reason, he must have decided he wanted to give biking a go, and this year, he chose the trip around the Adriatic as the place we would go as a trip I would take him on to thank him for his work on my house.

The trip began in Venice, Italy, and went around the Adriatic, into Slovenia, and ended in Porec, Croatia.

The three of us and my friend Nicole went together, but on what was a “self-guided” trip, the company books the hotels along the way and moves our luggage, but we ride along a route at our own pace following maps and directions to make our way to the day’s destination.

So my dad managed to cycle for anywhere from around 50 km in a day to 87 km, riding anything from flat and rolling to big climbs around the headlands leading into Slovenia and Croatia.

While he was wobbly at times, and made me intensely nervous in traffic, given his lack of familiarity with bicycle brake and gear operations, my dad not only enjoyed the riding, but said next time he would want to go for a longer one.

At nearly 65, my dad proved it is never too late to give biking a try and you can do anything you set your mind to.

So in case you wanted to use age or lack of experience on a bike as an excuse not to ride around this summer or during Bike to Work Week, I say give it a shot, you might be surprised how much you like it, and how much better you feel afterwards.

Riding a bike to and from work increases your alertness, decreases your costs on fuel and vehicle wear, decreases your need for the gym, and allow you some head-clearing time at each end of the day, as just a few of the benefits.

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