Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bike Aid going global at Velo Village 2012

Salt Spring Island: Fulford Valley from Mount Maxwell
Bike Aid activist Nat Bocking recently visited the Canadian Pacific coast and Salt Spring Island. This community of 10,000 people on 182 square miles of verdant mountain forests and lowland pastures could be favourably compared to Totnes in England as it too is renown for organic agriculture and forward thinking: the Gulf Islands - Saanich district recently elected Canada's first Green Member of Parliament Elizabeth May.

While at Salt Spring's Fall Fair, Nat met with John Rowlandson, coordinator of the 2012 Velo Village, a forthcoming three-day celebration of rural mobility solutions. Next June thousands of cyclists will go to Salt Spring to experience bicycle heaven-on-earth with fun and competitive rides, kinetic sculptures, bicycle cinema and musical performers bookending a one-day rural mobility solutions workshop on June 22nd. Participants will see and hear how people are addressing the challenges of rural riding and set an agenda 
around key themes of families, safety and connectivity between city cyclists and their country cousins.

John wrote: "I love the whole bike aid kit idea. It's an awesome way to anticipate the 'what if' problem for entire populations of new and experienced cyclists." He added: "the BikeAid program gives a hint at what rural communities are doing to improve the quality and pleasure of rural riding."

Suffolk Bike Aid is offering a presentation to Velo Village as either a paper or a short film and there is a link to Bike Aid on their website. Velo Village extends an invitation to the cycling community in England (and the rest of the World) to come along and for delegates from outside BC who can't bring their own, Velo Village will provide cycles to use on Salt Spring.

Salt Spring Island bus with a passenger-operated double bike rack
British Columbia is an outdoor pursuits paradise and commute and recreational cycling is well catered-for on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands. The island has a Bicycle Working Group putting together joined-up thinking such as bike racks on BC Transit buses (a facility as yet unheard of in the UK). Travel to Salt Spring from the UK is much easier than you might think; besides the three scenic ferry routes, there are usually 12 float plane flights a day from Vancouver to Ganges Harbour.