PUBLICATION: WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
PAGE: B3 SECTION: City
Cyclists to promote bike trail completion
Hundreds of cyclists are expected to ride down Bishop Grandin Boulevard Thursday in an effort to spur politicians to complete a bike trail along the busy thoroughfare.
The event is being organized by SPIN (Strength and Power in Numbers).
"Basically we're trying to prod everybody to get it down," said SPIN spokesman Lindsay Gauld.
"It's great to talk about it but we need to get it finished." Gauld said only about 3.5 kilometres of the nine-kilometre stretch from Southdale Community Centre to Winnipeg Technical College has been completed.
"There really is no other route to get east to west, from the Red River to Whyte Ridge," said Gauld.
While the shoulder along Bishop Grandin is fairly wide, Gauld said it can be intimidating to ride, particularly with the fast-moving traffic. The speed limit is 80 km/h, however Gauld, who as a courier rides along the boulevard frequently, said many motorists often travel at speeds well above the limit.
"Sometimes when you hear those trucks rumbling up behind you it sounds like they're going to run you over," said Gauld.
He said the bike path, when complete, would connect 22 communities and also provide a safe route for cyclists heading to the University of Manitoba.
This is the second ride SPIN has organized. Last year, over 600 cyclists rode from the Assiniboine Park Zoo to City Hall. The purpose of that ride was to show that cyclists and motorists can co-exist on the road.
Gauld said beyond the Bishop Grandin trail, he hopes this year's ride will also get planners thinking about how cyclists can be accommodated when it comes to infrastructure.
"I don't think in the planning process anybody's sitting there saying, 'what do cyclists need,'" said Gauld. He added that less than two per cent of Winnipeggers use bikes for daily trips as opposed to 28 per cent in Amsterdam.
This year's ride will get underway with riders leaving the Southdale Community Centre at 254 Lakewood Blvd. at 6:30 p.m. and finishing at Winnipeg Technical College.
Gauld said there will be a police escort and cyclists are encouraged to wear helmets. He said newly-elected MLA Erin Selby is expected to take part in the ride along with a representative from federal MP Raymond Simard's office. Gauld added that Mayor Sam Katz wasn't available to attend but did call up the group and offer his support.
More information on the ride can be found at http://www.bishopgrandingreenway.com/Events.htm.
Volunteers: Please call or email: Lindsay Gauld, Olympia Cycling Club / SPIN 794-5080 firstname.lastname@example.org Janice Lukes, Winnipeg Trails Association 952-4222 email@example.com SPIN 2 is a peaceful demonstration cycling ride in favour of alternative transportation infrastructure. SPIN 2 highlights the need for a connected commuter and recreational pathway along Bishop Grandin Boulevard. All participants in this ride are being asked to wear helmets and to follow the rules of the road. We anticipate this ride will attract 200+ riders based on a similar event held last September
This city sucks for cyclists, but even one person can make a change. There is power in numbers. Go for a SPIN.