Workers urged to come along for the ride

Oak Bay will celebrate Bike to Work Week which runs May 25 to 31

Sonya Reuter

Sonya Reuter

An avid cyclist, Sonya Reuter has a relaxed approach to biking to work.

Sometimes she does; sometimes she doesn’t.

“I bike to work when it suits me,” says the Recreation Oak Bay staff member. “Riding to work is awesome because you get exercise. It’s a nice feeling. When you get home by the end of the day you feel refreshed.”

She rides a five-kilometre route, one she’s optimized herself with controlled crossings and lighter vehicle traffic, a few times a week. Like many commuters, weather, mood and post-work activities can affect her morning decision.

Perhaps that’s why she can counter any argument against not riding to work during Bike to Work Week May 25 to 31.

That and her background as a longtime cyclist, make her a good team leader for the 2015 Oak Bay team representing the entire staff of the district. Though it’s surprisingly her first time leading the team.

“I’ve been actively involved in cycling. Riding my bike has always been a pleasure for me,” said the Victoria Wheelers member.

She’s spent the last couple weeks encouraging staff to register for the challenge that tracks mileage for the week and celebrates commuter cycling. Prepping them in safety, with reminders to check out the bike, make sure you have a working helmet, that sort of thing.

This year’s 21st annual event features celebration stations throughout the week to celebrate the event that attracts more than 8,000 commuter cyclists, including 12,500 new cyclists since inception.

One of those new commuters a few years ago was Coun. Michelle Kirby.

“The goal is to use it as an incentive to start riding, for me that’s exactly what happened,” Kirby said.

Five years ago on Mother’s Day she went out and bought her first bike since she was eight years old.

“I practised a little bit and started riding just before Bike to Work Week but that was my real goal,” she said. “It was so much fun and I felt so much better – adding that little bit of exercise into my day – as a busy mom, councillor, full-time employee. It gives me 20 minutes twice a day that I wouldn’t necessarily get.”

Five years and a bike change later she still enjoys a commute from Oak Bay into downtown Victoria on a regular basis.

“It’s just a short ride but it makes me happy. I’m a happier employee, happier mom and more productive because I am on my bike,” Kirby said.

“It slowly built up from that first week. I can’t imagine life without my bike now.”

Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society offers a range of courses that are fun, informative, build confidence and introduce participants to the cycling community. Visit biketowork.ca/victoria to register for Bike to Work Week May 25 to 31 or to follow along with miles cycled in the Capital Region.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com