Pandemic causes radical shift for Let’s Bike month

(Some members of Let’s Bike Stittsville take their first group ride of the year. Photo: Stittsville Central)

Since 1999, thousands of Ottawa’s commuter cyclists have participated in May’s annual ‘Bike to Work’ month. The campaign had 4,784 people report they biked to work for the very first time over the years with 2,063,694 kilometers being logged! But the world, our work, and even our lifestyles have changed a lot these last few months. Many workplaces are shifting toward a virtual workspace, permanently changing commuter demand. At the same time, many local residents are taking up or re-discovering cycling as a safe, healthy and fun transportation option. Now, the mission of the EnviroCentre is to strengthen this trend by actively supporting all trips taken by bike — no matter where a person is headed. 

After 10 years of celebrating Ottawa’s two-wheeled commuters with an annual Bike to Work Month campaign, EnviroCentre is changing gears to encourage and support all cyclists — introducing ‘Let’s Bike Month’!  This new campaign is being offered through a partnership with the City of Ottawa and support of many local businesses and community organizations.

Stittsville Central connected with Jeff Tindall, the founder of ‘Let’s Bike Stittsville’ to gather his thoughts on the change of gears for the program. Jeff told us, “I’m a big fan of the changes to September Bike Month (formerly bike to work). Riding a bike is an incredible way to explore your neighbourhood, get some exercise, run an errand, benefit your mental health and enjoy the many hidden treasures of Stittsville and Ottawa in general that you can’t see from a car.

Cycling has gained a tremendous amount of interest this year, I have seen so many more new people riding their bike and all of them have smiles. I hope and expect the new approach will gain more interest than in years past. By expanding their vision to track all rides with a focus on workshops and cycling resources it should help increase the confidence of new riders and provides a good refresher for more seasoned riders.

Let’s Bike Stittsville, our community initiative will once again put in a team for anyone to join, no matter what your age or level of riding; and are hoping to arrange a community social distance ride. I would encourage everyone on a bike to give it a go, not only can you win prizes, but I think many will be even more impressed on just how many kilometers they track. Hope to see many of you on the paths and streets. Ride safe.”

Let’s Bike Month continues to serve commuters and workplaces, but have expanded to provide carbon tracking, workshops and cycling resources to all community members who choose to bike, no matter the destination, for transportation, leisure or exercise. That’s not all — this September, participants can log their bike rides on EnviroCentre’s easy-to-use app, to see their real-time carbon savingsand be eligible to win prizes! We will be offering free public digital workshops throughout September on Urban Cycling; Discover Your City by Bike; Bike Maintenance; and, Extend Your Cycling Season. Private workshops for businesses are also available for a fee.

We are so pleased to have the opportunity to expand the reach and impact of this outreach tool, and grow the level of community engagement here in Ottawa around low-carbon travel. We are looking forward to sharing our love for cycling and getting around by bike with an even larger audience of Ottawa residents!” said Sharon Coward, EnviroCentre’s Executive Director.

If you are interested in joining the Let’s Bike Stittsville team, visit their Facebook page here and send a message to Jeff. You can also follow the group on Twitter here. Happy cycling everyone!


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