I often combine work related trips to other Canadian cities with a speaking engagement on cycling in the Netherlands and/or Ottawa; the topic depends a bit on the public. Over the last two years I talked to about one thousand Canadians about the advantages of cycling, including to CAA members in Vancouver, to the Perth Chamber of Commerce, to attendees of the Nova Scotia Planners Directors Conference, to members of the public at Dalhousie University in Halifax, members of city council and staff in Regina and members of the public in Calgary, Kingston (at Queens U.) and Mississippi Mills to name but a few. I was even asked to talk about public engagement at University of Ottawa. People love my slightly unconventional style of speaking.
I was born in Holland, as you might have guessed by now, but live in Canada since 1998, hence my odd use of English here and there. Since last year I am the president of local cycling group Citizens of Safe Cycling (CfSC), but I maintain the blog on the side for the fun of it and not as an official channel of CfSC.
Cycling doesn’t have to be a race against time. In many places in the world, cycling is just a way to get around, not a sport in which you have to excel. If you cycle half an hour a day, you meet the required 20-30 minutes of recommended daily exercise by Health Canada. That is the equivalent of about 6-8 km of cycling. And think of the savings: the CAA calculated that a car cost you anywhere between $8000 to $12000 a year in the first four years. Maybe you could do with one car less? Think of the savings.
So how much is 8 km? Say you work in down town Ottawa. An 8 km radius would cover more or less a circle from Asticou (QC) in the north, Beacon Hill in the east, South Keys in the south and Lincoln Fields in the west.
I am showing the lighter side of cycling with a focus on Ottawa, Canada and once in a while I write about side trips to other great places. Ottawa is one of the best (if not the best) cycling city in Canada. There are an estimated 240 km of National Capital Commission shared paths and another 170 km or so City of Ottawa bike paths. That is over 400 km in total. An estimated 60,000 people cycle in Ottawa, some year round, a lot more to work and on the Bike Sundays. Long before Cyclovia was invented, the NCC closed the parkways for Sunday cycling mornings between Victoria Day in May until Labour Day in September , in 2012 for the 42st time.
I am using a Canon Powershot SD 780 IS, which slides in the pocket like a cell phone, without the cost of a cell phone….the pictures could be sharper, but I compress them for faster download. I am a tad disappointed with the lens of the camera, and I drool over some beautifully sharp pics I see on other blogs. But the trade off is a bulky camera….
Myself, I am just an ordinary guy who cycles to work and does the odd errand by bike. I am cycling on the same bike for eleven years and I don’t even really like the bike as it is slightly too big.