Bike enthusiasts promote cycling culture

A cycling culture helps people invest in their health and in more affordable transportation, says Jeannine DeGagne.

A former personal trainer in Kenora before she returned to school as a disability studies and psychology student, DeGagne aims to raise awareness about exercise and the benefits of outdoor activity. The annual Bike to UWindsor Week is intended to educate students and professors on the health and environmental benefits of commuting to campus on a bike.

“By riding a bicycle, one can avoid parking fees and be more active,” says DeGagne. “We have collaborated with Campus Police and other departments to create a community to promote this idea.”

Co-organizer Nicole Noel, research coordinator at the Centre for Studies in Social Justice, promotes an environmental perspective.

“We are promoting cycling as a more affordable alternative to cars,” she says. “Reducing pollution will make the city and the university safe and conducive for cycling.”

On Wednesday, cyclists received safety tips from special constable Rose Briscoe of the Campus Community Police Service, ranging from locking bikes more securely to avoiding traffic offences. Reflectors, bells and helmets for those under 18 are a huge part of bike safety, Briscoe says. She encourages cyclists to register their bikes online with Campus Community Police to help prevent bike theft.

Kari Gignac, secretary for Bike Friendly Windsor-Essex, provided further information on road rules, proper equipment and trails in the city.

“We want people to feel safe on our roads and trails,” she says. “The City of Windsor has provided us with trail maps to help with this cause. We hope to see more cyclists on the road once they are equipped with this information.”

Bike week continues today with a free bicycle check-up by the professionals of Courtesy Bicycles, a sponsor of the event, at noon in the CAW Student Centre. For more information, including a full list of event sponsors, check out the event Web site.

--story and photo by Chantelle Myers