Community

Kelowna Big Brigade picking up speed

Martin Bell, right, founder of the 100 Bike Brigade and Tim Blackburn were among 30 cyclists who commuted to downtown Kelowna from the Mission on Friday morning. - Contributed
Martin Bell, right, founder of the 100 Bike Brigade and Tim Blackburn were among 30 cyclists who commuted to downtown Kelowna from the Mission on Friday morning.
— image credit: Contributed

You never know when a brilliant idea will strike. For Martin Bell, it happened while cycling the streets of Kelowna.

“The idea for the 100 Bike Brigade happened as I rode up Knox Mountain,” says Bell. “I realized that I had just travelled about 30 kilometres on great bike paths and cycle lanes. They didn't happen by accident and likely didn't happen without a lot of hard work by volunteers and community leaders.”

Martin knew he wanted to show his appreciation for the current cycling infrastructure in Kelowna.

“I wanted to say thank-you somehow for this great amenity and thought the best way to do so would be to encourage others to get out and experience the bike lanes.”

And so, on Friday, April 20,  the 100-Bike Brigade set off on its inaugural Friday morning bike ride. Two groups make up the Brigade, one group leaves from the Red Barn in the Mission at 7:15 a.m., and the other from the corner of Glenmore Road and Union Road in Glenmore at 7:30 a.m. Both groups arrive downtown before 8 a.m.

“The hope is to ‘pick-up’ other riders along the way,” says Bell. “And at some point we hope to have 100 riders commuting in.”

In the future, Martin sees the Brigade encouraging residents to cycle more and drive less.

“In five years, I hope the 100 Bike Brigade becomes an energetic tradition,” says Bell. “It could become a piece of the community's fabric that encourages people to come together, get to know their neighbours and enjoy cycling in a safe and encouraging environment.”

The Friday morning bike ride kicked off Bike to Work Week in Kelowna, with more than 30 riders cycling in from the Red Barn in the Mission. Bike to Work Week is a fun community event that encourages everyone to try commuter cycling by providing resources and prizes for new and continuing cyclists. It runs May 28 to June 3 this year.

“We are honoured to be kicking off Bike to Work Week this year,” says Bell. “It’s a perfect fit.”

For more information on cycling in Kelowna, visit smartTRIPS.ca.

 

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