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Volume 9 Issue 1
May/June 2003

Destiny Leads to Discovery of Johnson's Landing Retreat

Spinach! Spring!

Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program

Circles, Sound, and Creation


Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program Creating a Healthier Lifestyle and Environment
by Olin Valby

"When 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 warming–what's the deal with Kyoto? Taxes are going up. Healthcare reforms–where 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?"

Bike there!

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 excellence.

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."

No problem!

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 motorists;
  • 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 number.

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 to Saskatoon.

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, $50 business.

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 office@saskatoonbikes.org, 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.

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