Bike to work week a big boost to quality of life in Central Okanagan

Stats released show plenty of kilometres churned up on annual bike to work and school week

The Central Okanagan’s quality of life received a healthy shot in the arm this spring from residents discovering that biking to work is a fun way to boost community spirit, is good exercise, good for the environment and puts participants in the running for great prizes, too.

Families also enjoyed the benefits of walking and cycling to school from May 26 to June 1.

More than 54,119 kilometres were traveled by bike and other active transportation options, like walking and skateboarding, during this year’s Bike to Work and School Week. That’s the equivalent of going from Kelowna to Saint John, New Brunswick, and back – five times.

Active Central Okanagan participants reduced 11,726 kilograms or 11.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the region, improving air quality by reducing vehicle use and traffic congestion.

Almost 1,600 residents committed to a cycling commute by signing up for Bike to Work Week. The Central Okanagan had the third highest participation in Bike to Work Week in the province – behind Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria.

“We are one of few communities that also offers Bike and Walk to School Week at the same time and 25 schools participated this year,” said Mike Kittmer, active transportation coordinator. “More than 112 participants registered as new cyclists from the schools.”

Four thousand students participated in this year’s events and the average participation rate at schools was 36 per cent in all modes (using a bike, a skateboard, a scooter or walking). About one-third of those students cycled.

Students and their parents travelled 45,831 kilometres in 10,448 round trips during the week – equivalent to going for three round-trips across Canada from Vancouver to Newfoundland (or running 11 marathons) and in doing so saved over 10.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

A number of events were held across the Central Okanagan to reward cyclists during Bike to Work and School Week. Celebration Stations and new Satellite Stations in Peachland and Lake Country added to the excitement.

“The weather was a little unpredictable early on, but cyclists braved the rain to attend our events,” says Kittmer. “Our sponsors and partners were amazing, as always. With their help, we were able to offer more cycling activities and walking events in more communities.”

Participants are encouraged to make cycling a regular part of their family’s lives. For daily summaries of the week’s events including photos and general cycling information, visit smartTRIPS.ca.

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