(Jeff Tindall, founder of Let’s Bike Stittsville received the Bruce Timmermans Award for cycling on June 2nd. Here at Village Square Park, Jeff was number crunching for a Bike Ottawa/Vélo Canada joint project identifying cyclists. Photo: Stittsville Central)
Bruce Timmermans was dedicated to and a valued member of the cycling community. He was a board director for the Ottawa Bicycle Club and as a founding member of Citizens for Safe Cycling (now Bike Ottawa) worked tirelessly to promote cycling and safety for cyclists. His legacy lives on with the Bruce Timmermans Award that recognizes individuals and organizations committed to cycling in our community. Stittsville’s Jeff Tindall, founder of Let’s Bike Stittsville (LBS), was honoured at a virtual ceremony on June 2 when he was named as the recipient of the 2019-2020 Bruce Timmermans Individual Award. An honour indeed and congratulations are in order.
Jeff was invited to the recent City’s Transportation Committee meeting where it was announced he was the award recipient. Jeff told Stittsville Central, “I was shocked, but honoured at the same time”. Jeff has been an avid cyclist for years, biking to and from his downtown workplace daily, pre-COVID, with the exception of the winter season. Jeff told us that he has about 18,000 kms on his road bike and another 5,000 on his gravel bike. From Stittsville to downtown, it takes Jeff between 50 to 60 minutes to get to his office at Transport Canada, unless of course, the spring goslings cause a slowdown.
The idea of Let’s Bike Stittsville evolved from a conversation with one of his work mates at the time, Rochelle Buenviaje (also of Stittsville). It took around a month for the two to formulate a plan. With a mission of advocating for cyclists rights and safety, while promoting the benefits of cycling in place, a logo in place designed by Rochelle, they were ready to hit social media.
On March 25, 2019, with a total of two members, Let’s Bike Stittsville was launched on Twitter. They retweeted their initial message, tagging Bike Ottawa hoping to receive a larger response and gain members. It worked, Let’s Bike Stittsville now has 277 members!
Jeff being a strong advocate for safe cycling, pointed out some of the City and Stittsville’s infrastructure that requires improvement. He would like to see, “protected cycling lanes with flex stakes as they are a better visual cue to the driver and are better than nothing. His preference is an actual barrier/segregated bike infrastructure preventing vehicles from entering a bike lane – he wouldn’t classify flex stakes as qualifying as such. More bike parking in Stittsville, especially in front of or close to local businesses and strip malls (albeit he did say it is getting better); and, documented bike parks.”
“The City needs to make a shift to how planning infrastructure is developed keeping in mind and including the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. The current Action Plan the City is working on is great, but when a road is re-built only then is the upgraded infrastructure put in place for walking and cycling – a generation of timing,” Jeff continued. He believes that developers should be forced to upgrade the infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists in the surrounding neighbourhood in which they are building.
During 2020, Jeff had planned for group rides and some independent rides for LBS members and anyone else wanting to participate, but when COVID arrived, his plans were unfortunately quashed. He hopes that with vaccinations being delivered now, he can organize some rides for this summer. Jeff said, “I’ve seen an amazing uptick on the number of bikes in Stittsville and would like to organize casual rides and intense rides of a further distance.” “I’d also like to provide some sessions for newer riders on the experience of biking.” Be warned, some of those rides may lead you to a local microbrewery to pick-up your thirst quenchers after a long ride!
We again caught up with Jeff on Saturday at the Village Square Park while he was crunching numbers of cyclists travelling the Trans Canada Trail for a project jointly run with Bike Ottawa and Vélo Canada. In the two-hour timeframe that Jeff was in the park, the numbers showed the increase in people cycling from all ages and backgrounds. We are fortunate to have the Trans Canada Trail running through Stittsville where both cyclists and walkers have a place to enjoy our landscape, the environment and the benefits of exercise – especially during the past year when people just want to get out of their homes.
Jeff would like to see people take those short trips to the bank or local shop on a bike. As he says, “you are not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic!”