As Barbara Hourston has witnessed, people of all ages can enjoy cycling.
Hourston, 81, began cycling at age five. She cycled to Nanaimo District Secondary School, where she worked as a teaching assistant and even now, her electric-assist bicycle is a huge part of her life.
She bikes to pick up groceries or to attend classes at Oliver Woods Community Centre and there are obvious benefits, according to Hourston.
“You have built-in exercise, you don’t have to worry about getting your cardio, you don’t have to worry about making time to go to the gym,” she said. “It can be meditative, it can be like, ‘Yay, I’m here in the fresh air and you guys are all in that stupid metal box.”
Bike to Work Week in Nanaimo takes place between May 26 and June 1. Cyclists wanting to take part in the week-long event can sign up at www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo, cycle to work during the week, recording their kilometres as they go along.
“If you go on to the [Bike to Work Week Nanaimo] website, we always have a competition with other communities there about the same size as us to see how many people we can get on their bikes and how many kilometres we can ride,” said Deborah Beck, City of Nanaimo recreation coordinator, adding that there is competition among city departments and others are encouraged to do the same.
“It is kind of fun to see if we can beat Kamloops, which is about the same size as us, or Comox and Campbell River. We always have that friendly competition amongst the Island,” she said.
There will be two celebration station stops with refreshments that participants can visit each day. Beck said people can enter their names into daily prize draws, with a grand prize draw for a Kona commuter bike at the end of the week.
Hourston doesn’t think the name Bike to Work Week is apt, as it implies it is only for workers, but Beck said the Bike to Work Week is open to the employed and retired alike.
“If you are retired or not working, as long as you’re using your bike as a commuter tool to go get groceries or go to the library, instead of going out for a joyride, then you can log your kilometres,” said Beck.
For more information, please go to www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo.