The opening of the Pelmewash Parkway has more folks out riding their bikes in Lake Country and according to the owner of Lake Country Cycle, the parkway is a good first step to increasing the number of bike paths available for folks who want to ride.
Cam Donald says this week’s bike to work week is putting the spotlight on biking as an alternative way of transportation but he added the new highway 97 and the Pelmewash Parkway has already been a boost to the cycling community.
“The number of riders we see going by the shop all day long has drastically increased with Pelmewash Parkway,” said Donald, 35. “It’s increased not just the hard core bikers but a lot more casual riders as well. People are bringing in bikes that are 20 years old that they haven’t ridden in 10 years and they want to get out on the parkway.”
Donald is taking part in this week’s bike to work/bike to school week and will be alongside members of the District of Lake Country Wednesday (May 28) morning (7:30 to 9:30 a.m.) at Swalwell Park providing giveaways and encouraging folks to get out and make cycling a bigger part of their daily lives.
“For us this goes right along with our core business,” said Donald. “It’s our customers that are out there riding bikes to school and work so we want to help promote the sport. The more people that are out there on their bikes the better.”
Donald began Lake Country Cycle in 2009 and runs a family operation, getting help from his step-father and his wife to give Lake Country cyclists a local bike shop to take advantage of.
Growing up in Lake Country, Donald says he used to have to head for Kelowna when his bike was in need of repair and that was a large motivation in starting his business.
Many Lake Country residents now work in Kelowna and Donald says it would be a huge development if there was a better route for cyclists to take between the two communities.
“With a lot of the Lake Country population working in Kelowna, I think the biggest thing that could happen to get more people using bikes to get to work is to have a safer way to Kelowna by bicycle,” he said. “I see a great opportunity if the Okanagan Rail Trail initiative goes through. That would open up a nice ride to Kelowna without having to get on the highway.”
Donald says there is a need for more bike lanes and trails in Lake Country but he adds the Pelmewash Parkway is a great start and has opened up a loop ride around Wood Lake that was not available before the new highway.
“There’s not a huge network of trails but the district is planning to offer more safe alternatives and more safe routes for cyclists in their forward road planning so that is a positive,” he said. “The more cyclists that we can have out there on the streets the better.”