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Central Okanagan cycling popularity growing

Bicycle stalls located outside the Gi0bean Espresso cafe on Water Street.   - Contributed
Bicycle stalls located outside the Gi0bean Espresso cafe on Water Street.
— image credit: Contributed

The way we get around in the Central Okanagan is evolving as more residents take to the streets on their bicycles.

During this year’s Central Okanagan Bike to Work Week, more than 3,300 cyclists of all ages took to the streets to travel more than 88,000 kilometers in just one week. The Central Okanagan’s participation rate continues to grow, placing third among the 20 participating B.C. communities, behind the much larger communities of Metro Vancouver and Victoria.

“As the number of residents that are choosing to bicycle grows, we are raising awareness of cycling and inspiring others to cycle more regularly,” said Mike Kittmer, active transportation coordinator for the City of Kelowna.

“People are seeing their friends and neighbours out riding and thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I should give that a try too.’”

Participants in Bike to Work Week said they ride to reduce their environmental impact, for exercise and mostly because it’s fun.

“Once you’ve experienced the benefits of cycling you’ll want to travel by bike more often,” said one participant. “Cycling is a great way to wake up in the morning, and de-stress at the end of the day.”

Locally, the City of Kelowna has responded to a request by Gio and Lucy Lauretta, of Gi0bean Espresso, to turn two parking stalls into bicycle parking for the summer in front of their café on Water Street.

“Kelowna is such a beautiful city and cycling is the perfect way to get around,”  says Gio Lauretta, owner of Gi0bean Espresso.

“I have lived in many places throughout Europe and have enjoyed the cycling culture, and wanted to bring a piece of that culture to Kelowna.”

Cyclists of all ages and levels frequent their downtown café and the bike racks will provide the facilities needed to support their customers.

“The city will provide the bicycle racks that will accommodate 24 bicycle parking stalls on a trial basis,” said Kittmer.

“We were very happy to accommodate this request as a pilot project and support active transportation in our community.”

For more information about this year’s Bike to Work and School Week and general cycling information, visit smartTRIPS.ca. Follow @CityofKelowna on Twitter for #smartTRIPS updates.

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