More than 3,000 people were registered by Monday afternoon to log their rides in Greater Victoria’s Go By Bike Week, and organizers are hoping to see a rebound in this second year since taking a hiatus from the event during the pandemic.
The week kicked off Monday morning with 187 riders at a pop-up “celebration station” at Archie Browning Centre in Esquimalt.
Capital Bike is hosting 13 stations throughout the region over the course of the week, where there will be prize giveaways, bike shops on hand to do free tune-ups, biking education materials and drinks and snacks.
The week helps to show people that it’s “easy, safe and fun” to ride around the region, said Jordan Glowicki, event manager for Capital Bike.
“It also really creates a great sense of community. We see lots of friendly faces and familiar people that we see kind of time and time again,” Glowicki said.
Participants in the week’s events are encouraged to bike instead of drive and to log their bike rides. Capital Bike will tally the number of bike trips logged, the kilometres cycled and the greenhouse gas emissions avoided as a result of the logged rides.
Last year, the first year for in-person events since the pandemic sent everything virtual, the group counted 32,274 trips by bike, 389,755 kilometres cycled and 84,500 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions averted, Glowicki said.
Participant numbers were slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels, and organizers are hoping to see the number of people joining grow this year.
B.C. Transit is offering free bus rides to anyone who shows the driver their bike helmet. One celebration station at Saanich Municipal Hall on Friday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. will host a bus demo where people can practise putting their bike on the racks on the front of a bus.
“It gives people a sort of practice run before they’re in front of a busload of people,” Glowicki said.
The week culminates in a block party at Oak Bay Bikes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday with prizes, music and free food.
The event used to be called Bike to Work Week but the name was changed a few years ago to broaden the scope beyond commuters.