Annual Winter Ride Your Bike to Work Day rolls through Kitchener
KITCHENER -- Dozens of cyclists were geared up for a winter trek and to encourage biking all year round.
The Winter Ride Your Bike to Work Day event put on by the City of Kitchener had many participants on bicycles, scooters, and motorized bikes braving the Friday morning wind chill.
"Even though it's -19 you can still do it," said scooter rider Luke Mydlarz.
Cyclists bundled up and started their ride on Belmont Street near Union Street. The route took them two kilometers south and ended near Highland Road.
Brand Chan says biking is his primary means of transportation and that a motor on his bike makes the commute a lot easier.
"By the time I get to work I'm a popsicle," he said. "But my bike to work is also really long and I end up sweat at the very end too, so what could I do to make it easier? Motor power."
He adds that dedicated bike lanes would make the commute even easier.
The city says the annual event is celebrated by winter cities across the world to normalize riding in chilly conditions.
Darren Korpf, the active transportation manager for the City of Kitchener, says that if you can walk in the winter you can bike as well.
“Once you get moving you actually generate a fair bit of heat,” he said. “It’s kind of like when you go skiing. You want to make sure you don’t have too many layers on your core because you’ll actually start to sweat a little bit. Keep the face warm and you’ll be okay.”
A city representative adds that a goal of a new pilot project along Belmont Avenue is to determine more accurate cyclist numbers as well as bike lane winter maintenance costs.
The master plan to connect all trails in Kitchener also relies on the five kilometre project to create seperate bike lanes.
"Those physical barriers are key because we know that's what keeps the average person who maybe be concerned about safety," said Korpf. "They're going to try that because there is a little more protection to them."
The pilot project currently comes with a price tag of $430,000.
"Bike lanes take up less space than cars, so for every person that is in a bike lane that's one less car in front of you," said Korpf. "It's not about getting rid of all cars, it's about giving people options."