By Cassidy Muir
Smithers residents celebrated the sixth annual Bike to Work Week kick-off party May 28 at Bugwood Bean on Main Street.
The event has been held at Bugwood Bean every year since Bike to Work Week was established in Smithers, and owner Nick Meyer said this has been their most successful year so far.
“This was, I can definitely say, our largest turnout for our Bike to Work Week kick-off,” said Meyer, who also volunteers on the Smithers Bikes committee.
Meyer acted as the celebration’s emcee as hundreds turned up to partake in the festivities. Bikers were challenged to ride through an obstacle course without spilling a latte, and parents raced on their children’s bicycles for the chance to win a pair of sunglasses.
Bike to Work Week is a province-wide event meant to encourage more people to make biking a part of their routine. Meyer said it was the motivation for him to start bicycling more often.
“Bike to Work Week approached me about kicking off their event at Bugwood six years ago, and I was like, ‘Sure, that sounds fun.’ I didn’t really bike, myself,” he said, “but, when everybody started showing up on bikes I started biking. Now I bike to work every day, as much as I can.”
Those signed up for this year’s Bike to Work Week have the chance to win a prize for their participation.
“We have a celebration station every day of the week,” Meyer said. “Participants stamp their passports at every celebration station, whether it’s in the morning, or at lunchtime, or an afternoon activity. With five stamps they’re entered into a draw to win a free bike donated by [McBike & Sport].”
The true number of participants in this year’s Bike to Work Week is not concrete, and Meyer said it will only grow as the week goes on.
“What generally happens is, as we get the Bike to Work Week started, then people see so many people biking that they themselves begin biking, and then by the end of the week there are a lot more people at the activities than there are at the start of the week.”
Meyer said there are many benefits to biking, including a healthier and happier town.
“You can look at benefits for your health and wellness, your community, socially – you interact a lot more when you’re out in the street and you’re seeing people … the economic benefits are becoming clearer and clearer. That it’s so much cheaper to ride a bike than to use a vehicle. And it just makes you happy; it just feels good to be moving, and outside, and in the weather.”