Bike Week Winnipeg wraps up with party at The Forks

Thousands of Winnipeg cyclists are expected to pedal to The Forks Sunday for the final day of Bike Week Winnipeg.

Annual event held to encourage more to take up cycling

Bike Week Winnipeg wraps up Sunday with a celebration at The Forks. (CBC)

Thousands of Winnipeg cyclists are expected to pedal to The Forks Sunday for the final day of Bike Week Winnipeg.

The sixth annual celebration of all things bicycle has seen dozens of events held across the city over the past week, including the 13th annual Bike to Work Day, which kicked things off Monday.

 Andraea Sartison, one of the event's organizers, estimates 3,000 people have taken part so far.

She says she's seen the festival grow year-over-year during her seven years with the volunteer-run event, and points to the city's push to accommodate to cyclists as part of the reason more and more Winnipeggers are choosing to ride.

"It's great to see some new pathways open up and especially new designated bike lanes that are separated from the streets," she said.

Andraea Sartison, who is a Bike Week Winnipeg event coordinator, says organizers estimate 3,000 have taken part in the event so far. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

"I think the more we can share the road safely and learn how to do that together, I think that's ideal."

 A poll for the Canadian Automobile Association and Bike Winnipeg, conducted by Probe Research last summer found more than 20 per cent of respondents said they cycle daily or at least a few times a week for transportation.

Another 35 per cent said they would cycle more if infrastructure conditions were right.

City councillors passed a 20-year, $334-million cycling and pedestrian strategy in 2015, with the goal of completing 800 kilometres of new and rehabilitated bike lanes, sidewalks, neighbourhood greenways and multi-use paths.

Encouraging more to ride

Sartison says the city is on the right path.

"I think that's what every Winnipegger wants to see whether or their driving a car or riding a bike or whether they're considering commuting bike as an option," she said of the city's work.

Bike Week Winnipeg grew out of Bike to Work Day Winnipeg, an event organized to raise the profile of cycling in the city, first held in 2007.

According to the event's website, organizers decided to expand their efforts to a target audience beyond just commuters and Bike Week Winnipeg was born.

Sartison says more and more Winnipeggers are choosing to ride their bikes as the city improves infrastructure for cyclists. (CBC)

This year's event saw bike labs, jams and workshops on everything from bike repair to how to ride through city streets safely.

Sunday's Bike Week Winnipeg Celebration wraps up the week full of activities with the chance to have your bike tuned up, listen to bands and take part in bike-related competitions, including a tire changing competition and a tire tube tossing contest.

Sartison says the event, which runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a good chance for cyclists to get to know each other, adding comradery is a big part of the fun of riding.

"I feel a lot of us have decided to cycle because it's the cheaper option, but in doing so you start to see familiar faces as you ride," she said.

"So it's nice to be a part of a community and experience Winnipeg from street-view."

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