Pedal power

UVic kicks off Bike to Work Week June 2–8

By Tara Sharpe

Bike to work weekVerna Laliberté and William Rondow pose with spokes in readiness for next month’s Bike to Work Week. Credit: Tara Sharpe

It’s time to start gearing up for Bike to Work Week.

The University of Victoria is taking part once again in the annual city-wide campaign to promote bicycle commuting and get tuned to an even healthier lifestyle. June 2 through 8 will be an exciting week of cycling-related events on campus and throughout our city.

Commuting by bike doesn’t just happen in June for William Rondow of UVic’s library services. Rondow is a volunteer for the UVic SPOKES program (a bicycle bursary program that combines recycling with cycling) and lives 15 minutes by bike from campus, near the Quadra and Finlayson intersection. He rides rain or shine almost every workday of the year. “It allows me to be more aware of my surroundings and it’s actually faster,” he says. “Whenever I drive a car, I’m always rushing to each stop light only to wait again.”

Rondow wants to see more bike routes leading to UVic. He also helped initiate a monthly public “Moonlight Midnight Mystery Ride” in the fall of 2003. Interested cyclists take to the parks and hilltops of Victoria for a midnight ride on the second Friday of each month.

Verna Laliberté is another UVic staff member who doesn’t need an excuse to get on her bike. Given her Dutch ancestry, biking is in her blood. She lives a 10-minute cycle away from campus, in Gordon Head. “I enjoy the exercise, the air, the speed, and it’s such an efficient way to get around,” says Laliberté, assistant to the vice-president academic and provost. “It’s great to get some exercise before sitting down for the day. And when I visit Holland, I see everyone on bikes, even women in skirts with their babies and groceries.”

Volunteer team captains are needed. Visit and click on the Bike to Work Week 2008 event for the latest info. Activities include one-hour safety courses, lunchtime workshops, electric bike test rides and even a “bike-in” movie (a low-carbon version of a drive-in movie).

There will be prizes worth $2,000 courtesy of the Bicycle User’s Committee. UVic has also teamed up with Travel Cuts to offer a special “Bike to Work then Bike in Europe” grand prize. Details will be posted on the sustainability webpage.

With Active U participants counting every step and Bike to Work Week teams zipping through campus, the action at this university just never stops.

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