Last week I attended WinterBike, an invitational networking event for everyone in the cycling community, ranging from bloggers, advocates, pro athletes, retailers and mechanics.
This was my first year attending the not-for-profit gathering, which is now in its third year. I wasn't sure what to expect, other than a big crowd of people who all love their bikes. The turnout was impressive and we packed the FiveSixty club on Seymour Street.
There were DJs, some very generous door prizes (thank you event sponsors!), interviews, awards, and of course some great riding footage to watch. However, the core of the event was networking, and it was evident what a tremendous community we cyclists have here in Vancouver.
I spoke with an incredible array of involved and passionate cycling folk but what I most appreciated was their tremendous diversity. Over the course of the evening I chatted with old and new friends from cycling advocacy groups; met others from the writing and reporting fields; gabbed with North Shore trail builders and riders; and connected with road riders whose faces were familiar from the Gran Fondo and other races.
It was so great to see all these people come together for one single event, and I learned a ton of new things about cycling activities in the city and what it's like to compete in an event like the BC Bike Race.
WinterBike was also a wonderful reminder of just how many ways there are to have fun on a bike.
Rocketing down muddy trails through the trees on the North Shore, riding the tailwinds on a lightweight road bike down the long straightaway to Iona Beach, feeling your head clear as you pedal home after a long day at the office, reaching the final few kilometres of a 12-hour Ran-donneur brevet, cruising with family and friends around the Seawall on a sunny day.
Even just a quick run to the store for groceries is way more fun on two wheels.
During the winter, I sometimes overlook the many forms of cycling other than commuting. WinterBike was a timely reminder that there's joy in the open road and on the trail even during short days and rainy evenings.
So to celebrate, this weekend I took out my downhill bike and went for a muddy, happy spin along the easy trails in Pacific Spirit Park.
Kay Cahill is a cyclist and librarian who believes bikes are for life, not just for commuting. Read more at www.sidecut.ca or email email@example.com.