Ready to ride: A cycle-centred summer

Rebecca Ferguson

Looking at the great cycling events and community bike rides in June, it’s clear that Waterloo Region’s bike culture is on the move.

“Cycling is a healthy, economical, environmentally sustainable way for citizens to get around,” says Kitchener city councillor Sarah Marsh, underlining the importance for our community to embrace cycling culture.

June’s events highlight the active community that we are fortunate to be part of here in Waterloo Region. There is something for everyone, and all are welcome. So get out, get active and get involved in this city’s vibrant summer life.

To kick off cycling in June, take part in an Aboriginal History Ride. Hosted by the Kitchener Public Library and BikeKitchener, these rides take cyclists on a tour of archaeological sites and Aboriginal culture centres in the city. They start at the gazebo in Victoria Park and make their way to the Central Library. Riders will enjoy complimentary refreshments and a viewing of ‘From Each Side of the Grand,’ a Six Nations Land Claim Exhibit. The first of these rides will be 27 km long, and take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. The second will be a shorter 6 km ride, and take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday June 10. The final Aboriginal History ride will be 12 km long, and take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday June 23. All ages and skill levels are welcome to participate in these cultural bike tours.

For those who enjoy the lively uptown atmosphere, Waterloo’s uptown market will feature The Working Centre’s Community Access Bikeshare and BikeKitchener information tables on June 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. to talk about bike safety, cycling routes and cycling events.

Competitive cyclists have the opportunity to race at Cycle Waterloo’s Kitchener Twilight Grand Prix and the Tour de Waterloo. The Grand Prix is set for June 19, and will have the cyclists road racing on a short circuit around the city. The 6th annual Tour de Waterloo will take place on June 21. The Tour is a mass participation event, with different races for all skills levels, featuring 36 km, 76 km, or 46 km rides. These rides launch at Columbia Lake Health Club in Waterloo, and provide an opportunity to cycle through the beautiful landscape that surrounds the city. There will be route markers, route marshals, emergency services and rest stops.

If you want to participate in casual rides but do not have a bike of your own, be sure to check out the Community Access Bikeshare. Hosted by the Working Centre, this initiative makes cycling more affordable. For just forty dollars a season, members can access public bicycles located at stations around the city.