Wow, was that ever a fun afternoon.
The whole week we had been watching the weather at Fisher Heights. The entire week, the weather forecasters predicted a gray and rainy Saturday. Until it was Saturday: wall to wall blue sky in the morning, clouds in the afternoon, but sun all day.
Fisher Heights and Area Community Association Bob McCaw had suggested a bike afternoon already months ago. The association wanted to have a spring event and asked if something like that would be feasible. We invited the City Wide Sports department staff, who design a few mini road situations with a “car”, including an open door at the driver’s side, a stop sign, a right turn etc. Safer Roads Ottawa was available with safety instructions, helmet fitting and an 3D ‘sample’ of a brain, made of gelatin. I had seen that thing before, that wobbly dessert looking, but never realised someone actually makes it every time they go to an event. I had assumed it was some rubber thing.
Two bike mechanics (the illusive Shane from RightBike and a volunteer from Fisher Heights) worked two hours (and longer actually) non stop to do small bike tune ups, such as adjusting gears, brakes etc. A surprising number of people don’t know that one should pump up the tires once in a while…
Just before 3, a small group of kids with 4 adults took off for a ride around the neighbourhood. A three year old buy cycled the entire 4 km route on his tiny bike with training wheels with his dad running beside him. Although we suggested he might want to turn back, he insisted he wanted to complete the tour. One little girl fell because she took the corner to short and I took her in my bakfiets, which was not only appreciated by her, but drivers thought it was the cutest thing too.
We think we counted about 60 bikes and even more people. Lots of people I had never met before and I discovered hte Murdoch Mysteries are partly written in my own street! The city staff mentioned they were very pleased with the numbers and thought it was a great success. So did we.
I think it was an eye opener for all of us that there was so much more interest than we had expected. Increased interest in cycling is a good reason to keep working on finishing the Nepean trail.