Community Bicycle Program Creating a Healthier Lifestyle and
by Olin Valby
we are dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When we are dreaming
with others, it is the beginning of reality."
Dom Heldere Camara
We live in a world of change. Spring leaps into summer. One
billion persons in 1900, six billion in 2000. Movies and magazines
beamed around the world. From no love, to free love, to what
can I sell with love? Baby brother is 6 foot 5 inches. From
the king's carriage to a car in every driveway. There'll
be a billion cars spewing smoke quicker than we can legalize
a couple of joints.
We live in a world of demands. A 40-hour week that feels
more like 60. Figuring out what Windows XP has to do with
music. Traffic jams. Global warmingwhat's the deal
with Kyoto? Taxes are going up. Healthcare reformswhere
are the dollars? My car is falling apart, again!
"Sometimes it's too much. I just want to go for
dinner, a couple of drinks, and come home to a good book.
What should I do?"
The Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program (SCBP) believes that
every bicycle trip improves our quality of life. Cycling is
good for our health system, good for our environment, and
good for our pocketbooks. Cycling is good for our community.
The Canadian Medical Association reports that two-thirds
of Canadians are physically inactive resulting in $2.1 billion
of direct health care costs annually. Riding a bike is a great
way to exercise. When you bike there, you're helping
our universal health care system continue its tradition of
Global warming is an international concern. Short distance
motor-vehicle trips are the least fuel-efficient and generate
the most pollution per kilometre. When you bike there, you're
helping Canada meet our responsibilities head on.
There never seems to be enough cash car payments,
insurance, parking, and $40 fill-ups. It's not hard to
spend $5000 a year, just to get a car. It'll be another
$3000 for gas and parking. When you bike there, you're
putting dollars in your pocket.
"That sounds great. The thing is, I haven't biked
since I was a kid. I wouldn't feel safe in traffic, especially
cause my only bike has three wheels. I'd like to
buy a good bike but I'm worried it would be stolen."
We believe that a lot of people feel the same way. Cycling
should be safe, convenient and fun. So we're launching
the Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program. We have three objectives:
- Provide and maintain a fleet of community bicycles;
- Organize and conduct bicycle education for cyclists and
- Staff and maintain a drop-in cycling centre.
Many European and American cities have started community
bicycle programs. Copenhagen is particularly notable. Over
4000 bicycles are distributed throughout the city for all
to use. A day in the life of one bicycle may find it commuting
to work with an older business-person, sightseeing with a
newly married couple, carrying groceries for supper, off to
the pub with a student, and then across town from a night
at the theatre.
Inspired by a neighbouring community's success in active
transportation, we aim to place a fleet of brightly painted
community bicycles within Saskatoon, free for all to use.
Each bicycle will have a placard both identifying it as a
community bicycle and giving the bike program's phone
Safe cycling depends on both cyclists and motorists. Cyclists
are recognized under the Highway Traffic Act as having the
same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicles on
the roadway. However, cyclists are particularly vulnerable
as they don't have a steel cage protecting them. Mutual
respect and understanding are vital to safe cycling.
The Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program will organize and
conduct bicycle education for both cyclists and motorists.
Material covered will include good cycling habits, how to
not get hit by a car, cyclist-friendly driving, and tips and
tricks for cycling in Saskatoon. We will actively search out
schools, businesses, and community groups that would like
a cyclist and/or motorist safety presentation. As well, all
materials will be available on our webpage at www.SaskatoonBikes.org.
We envision a drop-in centre which would provide the tools
and guidance necessary to assist cyclists in maintaining their
own bicycles. In addition, materials on safe cycling, route
selection, and winter cycling would be on hand.
The SCBP is a non-profit organization dedicated to safe,
convenient, and fun cycling. We rely on volunteers to bring
bicycle education, community cycles, and a drop-in centre
Donate a bike! Each bike donated saves hundreds of dollars
which would have gone to a store bought bicycle. We'll
take rusty bikes, broken bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes,
two-wheel bikes, no-wheel bikes. They all help.
Buy a membership: $25 individual, $10 low-income/student,
Volunteer your time. We need lots of folks to transport bikes,
maintain bikes, give presentations, and organize events. No
matter where you're starting from, we'll provide
all the training you need to be successful. Whether 3 hours
a year or 3 hours a week, your efforts are greatly appreciated.
We'd love to hear from you!
Find out more by calling (306) 260-8853, emailing email@example.com,
or visiting our website: www.SaskatoonBikes.org.
Olin Valby, who lives in Saskatoon, has been dreaming with
others in order to begin making the SCBP a reality.