When Crystal Veinot went back to school in 1993, she decided to hop on a bike and commute. She instantly realized she loved cycling and appreciated how much easier it was than driving.
Since then she has cycled to and from work and around the neighbourhood. And now, 20 years later, the Mechanicsville resident will be sharing her cycling tips in an online video as part of Sustainable Transportation Week, which takes place across Ottawa September 16 to 22.
“It was so fun to do,” says Veinot, describing her experience filming the video. “[In the video], I talk about using my bike to get to work, what routes I take and what gear I typically have on my bike. I wanted to try and get someone excited about using their bike instead of a car.”
The video features Veinot and others who use bikes as their primary way to commute. While Veinot usually puts her bike away in the winter months, she says cycling is her main mode of transportation around the city – including in Kitchissippi Ward.
She says the ward’s toughest part to cycle is around Wellington Street West. However, she feels most other parts of Kitchissippi Ward are safe for cyclists.
“It’s how I get around the neighbourhood,” she says. “I truly appreciate a neighbourhood where everything is here. Overall, it’s a good place to cycle.”
Veinot adds that she hopes the video – and Sustainable Transportation Week – will inspire others to put away their cars for a day or two and see what it’s like to cycle.
She says anyone can hop on their bikes and commute – even in jeans and basic safety gear.
“Ottawa is really great for cycling,” Veinot says. “We have fantastic maps that show where there are paths and integrated lanes. You don’t have to go on busy streets. And if you do, there’s information on how to be a safe cyclist.”
During Sustainable Transportation Week and year round, Veinot says she hopes to see cyclists be safe and smart while on their bikes.
“You need to be a vehicle on the road,” she says. “Be conscious of what’s around you and make yourself aware of what the rules are on the road for cyclists.”
What is Sustainable Transportation Week?
Sustainable Transportation Week is organized by the EnviroCentre, which offers services and programs promoting sustainability – helping individuals, families, and organizations conserve energy, improve environmental health, and act more sustainably. The organization is committed to reducing climate changing greenhouse gas emissions, and, as part of its vision, hosts events to help residents understand sustainability.
This year it is hosting the third annual Sustainable Transportation Week in Ottawa, which encourages residents to walk, cycle, take transit and carpool instead of driving alone.
As part of the week, The City of Ottawa, in cooperation with EnviroCentre, is organizing an International Car-Free Day celebration in Westboro on September 22. Car-free day is celebrated annually in over 1,500 cities in 38 countries around the world. Richmond Road will be closed to traffic from McRae Avenue to Berkeley Avenue, except for the intersections at Churchill Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. Booths from active and sustainable transportation organizations will be spaced along Richmond Road and there will be activities throughout the day.
For more information on Sustainable Transportation Week, visit: infostw.org.