A grassroots group in Castlegar wants to encourage more people to cycle in the city and is planning a spring campaign to remind drivers that there will soon be more cyclists on the road.
The Castlegar Urban Cyclists just started meeting in February, but have had a Facebook group for over a year. Four people attended the first meeting and the Facebook group has 21 members.
Greg Powell, a member of the group, said that in part the Castlegar Urban Cyclists grew out of the City of Castlegar’s consultation on the Columbia Avenue Redevelopment project.
“There was a whole bunch of feedback that came back to the city from people that actually cycle — and some of them cycle year round — and I thought, ‘We should get together and talk face to face and figure out what each others’ concerns are, and see if the concerns are similar, and maybe this would help when the city has further consultations,’” said Powell. “If there’s a bit of an organized group then they would have a point of contact to get feedback all at one time.”
The Castlegar Urban Cyclists have also organized an upcoming bike ride with some city staff and councillors.
“This would be a tour of Castlegar to both gain an appreciation for the existing cycling infrastructure and also identify how it can be improved,” said Powell. “And just generally what it’s like to cycle around Castlegar.”
The group is also planning a spring campaign to raise awareness with drivers that there will be a lot more cyclists on the roads.
Cyclists are smaller on the road than other vehicles so it can be easier for drivers to miss them and Powell said that there are some busier intersections where it’s easy for drivers to overlook cyclists with everything else that’s going on.
“We just ask drivers to keep an eye open,” said Powell.
There’s also an e-bike demonstration project planned with the goal of addressing what Powell said is one of two main barriers to cycling in the city — the first being safety or perception of safety and the second being an aversion to hills and arriving at work sweaty, which e-bikes can help address.
“The hills don’t look quite as big when there’s an electric motor on the bike as well as peddle power,” said Powell. “And it takes a lot less effort to get to work when there’s an electric motor assisting cyclists getting around.”
The plan is to have four Castlegar residents each use an e-bike for a year and document their journeys with the bikes. Residents will be able to apply to participate in the project.
The cyclist group has also discussed the possibility of forming a cycling school bus, where students are able to meet and ride their bikes to school together.
The Castlegar Urban Cyclists will also be appearing as a delegation before Castlegar City Council on Monday, April 9, and will have their next meeting Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at Common Grounds.
Cyclists or those who are interested in doing more cycling are encouraged to attend.
You can also find out more by visiting the Castlegar Urban Cyclists Facebook page or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.