London, Ontario's first ever Winter Bike to Work Day!
FEBRUARY 12, 2018
Winter Bike To Work Day always starts in the dark. Good lights are essential!
This past Friday, February 9, London celebrated its first-ever participation in International Winter Bike To Work Day! WBTWD is a collection of global events and individuals that celebrate people who ride bikes in the winter. If you can go skating in the park, or skiing at Boler, you can ride your bike to get you where you want to go, too. Tom Babin's Frostbike is a great read that emphasizes this, and shares his story of becoming a 4-season rider. Less of a "how to" guide, more of a historical and modern take on all season cycling, it contains a few really important ideas for city planners about being a winter city (which all of us in Canada are, except those lucky places like Victoria on the left coast where the cherries bloom in January). For people riding in the winter, we put together a little winter cycling guide a while ago which can be summed up as 1) get studded tires, and fenders, 2) dress in layers, and 3) go a bit slower than normal. Riding in the winter is easy, and we can help you get started!
WBTWD also coincides with the Winter Cycling Congress which was hosted by Moscow in 2018, and will be hosted by Calgary in 2019. WCC is a gathering of city professionals, people who ride bikes, and experts in transportation systems to discuss the best ways to adapt winter cities for people on bikes. Only when a city makes it easy to choose a bike on 95% of the days does it become a legitimate transportation option for people year-round. The formula to have more people riding in the winter in the city is simple: protected bike lanes + maintenance. From experiences around the world, nothing else matters.
Fortunately there are people in London are riding their bikes year-round in spite of the terrible infrastructure and lack of maintenance. They choose to ride because they'll be healthier, they choose to ride because it's more fun, and they choose to ride because unlike being stuck in a car, people on bikes are never late for work because of traffic issues. To celebrate these awesome trail-blazers in our city, we teamed up with Outspokin' Cycles and set up a free coffee station in Victoria Park to give out drinks and high fives to winter commuters. There was a lot of snow in the forecast, but people rode anyway, and it was great to meet up with everyone who was out on the streets.
Thanks to all who dropped by, or sent us photos, tweets, and messages of support! This is an event that will continue to grow year after year, and we're grateful for all of you who participated in the first WBTWD in London. Here are some of the people who ride all winter here in London: