Last month, we celebrated cycling to school during Bike to School Week from May 14 to May 18. The event, coordinated by HUB: Your Cycling Connection, was warmly received at over thirty participating schools in Metro Vancouver. More than five hundred students took part in rides hosted by Nootka, L’Ecole Bilingue, Hastings, Cook, and Grenfell elementary schools.
Bike month has started with more rain than expected, but that didn’t stop many from riding during Bike to Work Week (May 28 to June 1) led by HUB. In anticipation for Velo-city, HUB is also hosting this month a Velo-Talk event which will feature a morning bike ride, keynote speaker, and Pecha Kucha storytelling.
Spacing Vancouver contributor Kathleen Corey had the opportunity for a Q & A session with Steph Gray, Bike Education Program Manager, about her experiences and involvement in cycling advocacy and education.
Spacing Vancouver: What attracts you to bike and how did you become involved in cycling advocacy?
Steph Gray: I grew up riding a bike with my family but what really got me hooked was when it became a social thing with my friends. Once I was out of school and really started making my own transportation choices, more and more of my friends were choosing cycling and so it was easy for me to join in! When I did I found I loved it for the freedom – not just in getting around, but also in maintaining my bike which I learned to do at Our Community Bikes!
I got into cycling promotion through my background in kinesiology. I was looking for an area of work that incorporated both healthy environments and healthy youth. Encouraging students to get on bikes was an easy choice.
Spacing Vancouver: How is Bike to School Week 2012 different from the previous years? What are some success stories that resonate with you?
Steph Gray: This year Bike to School Week broke out on its own in a separate week from Bike to Work Week. The timing worked better for the schools, and it was a beautiful sunny week!
Spacing Vancouver: Bike to Work Week has a reputation for breaking down barriers to cycling. What are HUB’s goals for this year?
Steph Gray: HUB’s Bike to Work Week goal was a 15% increase in cyclists recording their routes online, and I believe we reached this goal!
Spacing Vancouver: What is the significance of engaging people to participate in cycling events?
Steph Gray: While the city of Vancouver and other municipalities in the area have been putting more and more resources into cycling infrastructure, most people need encouragement and education as well to get themselves riding for the first time. Activities and events such as Bike to Work and School Week help encourage people to try cycling as a daily activity for the first time.
Spacing Vancouver: Where can one find information to Bike to School Week and Bike to Work Week results?
Spacing Vancouver: What is HUB’s Vision for the future of cycling?
Steph Gray: HUB wants to make cycling better through education, advocacy and events. We see cycling as something that everyone can participate in and that can help create healthy, happy and more connected communities.
HUB is a non-profit society working with governments, businesses, and the community to address cycling issues through advocacy and education. With growing emphasis on bicycle education, HUB is reaching out to riders of all ages. Their interactive on-site workshops cover a wide range of skills, knowledge, and techniques varying from one-on-one instruction to group courses in both the classroom and outdoors. Whether you are a newcomer or regular rider, these workshops provide the basics-to-advanced level of bike maintenance, streetwise skills for riding in traffic, resources for planning your route, and more.