Bike to Work week is all about getting out of the automobile and using pedal power to make the morning’s commute.
But what happens when that commute is already quite long — even if you’re in a vehicle?
The goals of the campaign to get more people to leave their cars at home and use their own bikes, or transit options, is noble. Yet, in a regional economy like Greater Victoria, a mass exodus from the auto may not be happening any time soon.
Take the Saanich Peninsula for instance. Plenty of workers in the North Saanich and Sidney industrial areas come from away. That is, they might live in Langford, Colwood or even in Saanich. Those commutes, by bike, could get you in shape. They could also have you arriving at work already tired. Still, for some, it’s a viable option. And whether the people using routes like the Lochside Trail are commuting to work or not, there does appear to be plenty of cyclists using the regional pathways every day.
For many workers, cycling to and from work just isn’t going to cut it, for any number of reasons.
That doesn’t mean we should abandon Bike to Work Week. It’s message is still a good one and it will make a difference, albeit incrementally.
What could make more of a change here on the Peninsula, is a ‘Bike Around Work’ effort.
Take, for instance, the RCMP bike patrols during the spring and summer. Instead of driving, police officers will often ride, giving themselves and residents a different perspective on the job.
Then there’s the Town of Sidney, which has a bike that employees can use to run errands around the community. There aren’t a lot of hills in Sidney and the town itself is quite compact, making cycling a realistic option.
Those are just two examples of how something like biking around the neighbourhood for work-related errands could also meet the goals of reducing gridlock and pollution on our roads.
People might not always be able to cycle 20 or 30 kilometers to and from work every day. But they might be more willing to pedal around town.