B.C. cyclists prepare to brave snow on Bike to Work Day
'It is unsafe if you don't think about what you're doing'
Despite a record snowfall in many parts of B.C. this week, some cyclists plan to brave the conditions as part of Winter Bike to Work Day Friday.
Cities around the world are participating in the international event, including Kelowna, which is in the top 15 cities globally for registered participants.
Though Kelowna has received at least 28 centimetres of snow since Friday — very unusual for February — organizers aren't deterred.
"Winter Bike to Work Day is happening regardless of the weather," said Andrea Mackintosh, an event coordinator with smartTRIPS.
Bike lanes sometimes used for snow storage
"It's really to celebrate those who are already out there cycling in the winter and who are experienced riders. It's not for beginners," she said.
Mackintosh expects dozens of cyclists to take part Friday, though she admits conditions aren't great in some parts of the city.
"The bike lanes are sometimes used for snow storage. Not every single bike lane is going to be plowed perfectly."
"We encourage people to scope out their route before going out," she said.
"Don't just jump on your bike and be surprised that your bike lane is covered in snow. Take a look first and make sure that you're being safe."
As part of the event, cyclists can visit different breakfast stations around the city, get a free bike safety check and enter prize draws.
At least 100 people have registered for the Kelowna event.
'The weather doesn't stop us'
"As year-round cyclists, the weather doesn't stop us. Just because it's going to snow tonight and tomorrow, we're still going to be out there," said Landon Bradshaw, vice-president of the Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition.
"It is unsafe if you don't think about what you're doing. Even a little bit of research would help," he said.
Bradshaw recommends either a mountain bike with at least two-inch tires or a fat bike. Cyclists may also consider getting studded tires.
Not worth the risk, says Bike to Work society
However, last week, Bike to Work B.C. said people should just wait for conditions to improve.
"I just don't think it's worth it, said Penny Noble, the society's executive director. I think people are best to be safe and just give up on cycling for a few days until this goes away." said
Noble said even special equipment like large tires that help with traction in snow are not enough to keep cyclists safe on ice.
Kelowna's Winter Bike to Work Day officially kicks off at 6:30 a.m. PT Friday. Winter Bike to Work Day events are also taking place in Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford, Saanich and Penticton.
February 10th. Winter bike to work day. Get on it! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bikepenticton?src=hash">#bikepenticton</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Penticton?src=hash">#Penticton</a> <a href="https://t.co/iT82hIMJ6t">pic.twitter.com/iT82hIMJ6t</a>—@pacapenticton