West Coast summer cycling

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As May makes way for June and we prepare for a true West Coast summer, all across Victoria, the Gulf Islands and even the mainland, chains are being greased, tires are being pumped and legs are being stretched. It’s biking season. June has consistently been a time to celebrate bicycles and cycle culture, and this year is no exception. Events like Bike To Work Week, the province’s first bike-only ferry ride and the infamous World Naked Bike Ride all take place during the transition from spring to summer.

Bike to Work Week

This year’s Bike To Work Week, which ran May 28 – June 3, saw 648 registered teams of commuters diligently ride to work each day through Victoria’s unpredictable spring weather.

The week included events on cycling safety and skills, daily celebration stations and offers and cross-promotions from sponsors, such as Bikram Yoga Saanich’s coinciding Bike to Yoga Week.

For more information, visit biketowork.ca/victoria.

Victoria International Cycling Festival

Now in its second year, the Victoria International Cycling Festival takes place from June 1–24 and encapsulates many of the major cycling events taking place in the city.

Starting with a kick-off party at Phillips Brewery held on June 2, the festival includes events such as the Russ Hayes Time Trial (June 1), Bastion Square Grand Prix (June 3), Harbour Sprints series (June 15 and 22), Theatre SKAM’s Bike Ride (June 16, 17, 23 and 24), Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria (June 24) and of course the airborne spectacle of Jumpship (June 22–24).

“Whether you want to spend a nice summer day watching mountain bikers huck themselves off jumps in the middle of the harbour, or whether you want to watch road bikers go by at 60 kilometres an hour, there really is something for everybody,” says Leif Baradoy, marketing and media director for the festival.

Keep an eye out for the Martlet’s exclusive video coverage of the festival, particularly Jumpship, at martlet.ca. For more information on the festival and a full schedule, visit VICF.ca.

Velo Village and the Velo-city Global Conference

On Salt Spring Island, the community’s fight to raise money for proper bike lanes has led to the creation of Velo Village, an event that seeks to connect city cyclists with their country cousins.

Velo Village, which runs from June 21–23, is put on by Island Pathways, a group that has spent the last 25 years promoting active transportation options. The event includes concerts, art shows, conferences and the province’s first bicycle-only ferry ride on Saturday, June 23, which will ferry cyclists from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour.

“We’re going to take a boat, the Skeena Queen, that is designed to take gigantic trucks and cars on it, and we’re going to put 400 bikes on it,” says John Rowlandson, one of the event’s main organizers. “Our promise is that Salt Spring will be bicycle heaven-on-earth for 72 hours.” Velo Village also acts as a pre-conference to the Velo-city Global conference, an international conference put on by the European Cyclists’ Federation that focuses on bicycle infrastructure and planning. The conference will take place in Vancouver from June 26–29.

For more information visit: velovillage.ca and velo-city2012.com

Government support

What all of these events have in common is the shared goal of raising the profile of cycling as not only a sport or hobby, but as a viable, year-round form of transportation. And with the government’s recent investment of $7.25 million into the province’s cycling infrastructure, it is clear that B.C. won’t have any trouble maintaining its status as the cycling capital of Canada.

“This increased investment will allow more people of all ages to choose cycling as a healthy form of transportation, recreation and sport in communities around B.C.,” says B.C. Cycling Coalition president Richard Campbell.

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