By Bronwyn Scott
Published: June 13, 2013
When the lease on Nadine Bombardier’s car ended seven years ago, she tucked away her driver’s license and has never looked back.
The Squamish Adventure Centre employee has been biking to work every day for the past seven years. From behind the Centre’s gift store counter, sporting a blue t-shirt with the distinct outline of a cyclist, her enthusiasm for biking is apparent.
But, admittedly, opting to brave the elements has its less pleasant aspects.
“It’s not always great at six in the morning when it’s pitch black and it’s rainy and you’re riding to work or to the gym. I don’t always love it in January or February,” she conceded.
However, once the sky has lightened and her socks have dried, and her body has warmed with the energy of the day, the bike waiting to take her home is a welcome sight.
“I always enjoy my ride at the end of the day, that’s the best part,” said Bombardier.
The ranks of people like Bombarider is increasingly growing.
This year Bike to Work Week in Squamish had a record number of participants, with 172 individuals taking part. Last year the count was at just 150.
It’s an event that’s been growing both in notoriety and popularity, according to Kim Slater, the Squamish–Whistler coordinator.
She credits the increase to the great weather, the prizes from sponsors and the fact that people are starting to look forward to it because it’s always at the same time of year.
“It’s a way for people to positively change their behavior,” she said. “They get a chance to try biking and hopefully that behavior change sticks with them.”
Maintaining good health and reducing stress, saving money on gas and saving the environment one pedal at a time are just some of the benefits of cycling, Slater said.
While the advantages are obvious, for some it’s simply not realistic to give up on driving.
“It’s really hard for people to do it on a regular basis, I understand that,” said Terri-Lynn Gifford, program coordinator and mother who sympathizes with working moms.
“We have to drive our kids everywhere,” she said.
Even just biking for one day instead of driving can make a world of difference, said Gifford, praising Bike to Work Week for the thousands of kilograms of greenhouse gases saved each year province wide.
“It takes a lot of organizing, you get your poop-in-a-group ready at six in the morning, to have all your worldly belongings on your back for the day, but it’s doable,” says Bombardier.