Although VELO has put on an annual Bikeology Festival celebrating all things bike-related in Edmonton for the past several years, it was time for us to recognize we were hogging all the limelight! Be sure to check out the various Bikey Festival in and around Edmonton. We’ll be sure to put them on our calendar for your convenience!
What does this mean for you? Well, we cut back OUR events to make room for YOURS, and the sheer awesome splendour of bikeyness that prevails in June!
Why a Bicycle Festival?
Bikeology Festival and Bike Month activities foster good will and provide knowledge and understanding of what can be done with bicycles in Edmonton. There are activities around transit, ride-in outdoor movies evocative of a simpler time, consistent adherence to local artists, participation by environmental groups—all of which grow our community in a positive way.
These bike-centered activities helps build a vibrant community that encourages active transportation, alternative energy strategies, provides information about community groups, and is accompanied by activities for children and local musicians and other forms of art. The festival is located in the heart of Edmonton, which allows for easy access, uses city park space, and emboldens passers-by to join in. The cross-over of all the various activities, however centred around cycling they might be, melds easily and is very enjoyable.
Each year the Bikeology Festival and Bike Month activities increase outreach to Edmontonians, providing them with information about cycling. We encourage active transportation, active people, and participation in our community. This way, we grow our local economy. Participation from Edmonton and its bicycle community has grown steadily as more and more people begin using their bicycles for transportation, recreation, environmental commitment, and exercise.
As the City of Edmonton moves forward in a new direction, its Transportation Master Plan outlines the need to use existing road space more efficiently — to look at more effective ways of moving Edmontonians than through the use of the single occupant vehicle and to provide appropriate recreational sites. Bikeology Festival and other Bike Month activities are a piece of the larger global movement towards active citizens reducing their carbon footprints. To that end, we welcome you to the most current incarnation of Bikeology, where we celebrate the vehicle of our future in Edmonton.
The Benefits of Celebrating Cycling Culture
There are a myriad of spinoffs (all good) that result from everyday cycling. What might they be, you ask? Here are a few in no particular order:
- health benefits – everyone has heard of concerns around childhood obesity, adult onset diabetes, the gray wave of baby boomers… what easier way to head off a spiralling cycle of ill health than to incorporate bicycling into your lifestyle?
- sense of security – it is argued that, as female cyclists are an indicator species, the more female cyclists there are the more safe your community is. Typically females are still responsible for the majority of household and child rearing tasks, and if they feel secure enough to do this by bicycle, your community is flourishing. This leads into our next point…
- community building – We believe that cycling enables individuals to participate in their community at a level that cannot be achieved through the window of a vehicle, and that there is a tangible benefit to being on your bicycle and being thoroughly integrated into the community. This makes communities safer, promotes activities at the human scale, and encourages density for housing. These benefits in turn strengthen the attraction for other people to join communities in which they may cycle. In this manner, cycling builds community and communities are built by cycling.
- cultural diversity – Our work with community groups and other cycling groups provides both artistic and cultural events to the community at large. When we collaborate with or provide a forum for as many groups as possible, the results are not cycling-centric activities, but activities that provide exposure to a way of life that can be gently and easily integrated into their everyday lives.
- economic viability – would you rather work ~3 minutes a day to support a bicycle or ~3 hours a day to support a automobile? Bicycles cross all socio-economic boundaries, create access to jobs, access to communities, and access to commodities.
- living “la vida local” – more and more, society is looking to find their nourishment, both physically and emotionally from local sources, and what better mode of travel could be used than a bicycle? The bicycle provides the utilitarian transportation required for local shopping, eating and celebrating.
We believe that having a month-long festival year after year, dedicated to cycling – whether utilitarian, racing, trials, fixies etc. – provides the sense of community that builds greater participation in cycling, leading to more intimate participation in one’s local issues and economic decisions, as well as security around learning new skills, exploring other types of cycling, or cooking or playing and expanding one’s endeavours. That means shopping locally for bicycles, or cycling accessories, food, or clothing. That means realizing you can shop by bike, get to work by bike, become healthier, demand more cycling infrastructure, or merely support those who do.
We recognize that not everyone starts at the same level – having learned to ride as a child, the person may not have ridden since childhood. Re-introducing cycling as a skill to adults is very liberating, and benefical not only to them, but to the community, and the environment. We have anecdotal evidence that after driving by our festival, people dusted off the bike they had in the garage, and got it checked over by a mechanic at a local bike shop. Or they took it to Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ workshop, BikeWorks and learned to fix it themselves or they stop by our usual Friday Bike-to-Work Breakfasts where they can get a mechanical inspection and minor repairs done. Either way, they are on their bike, and we can guarantee, money will be spent locally.
Cycling, therefore, has many facets and levels of participation that can drive economic, social and environmental impacts and our festival embraces them all as example, Bikeology: Dialogues are focused on learning to race, or winter cycle, or tour, or fix your bike, rides and events are geared to all participant levels. As one becomes more confident – using the bicycle as transportation or racing – a more expensive bike is purchased, along with the various accessories and clothing that go with that purchase, and on it goes. Whilst cycling about the community, one has the opportunity to check out new shops, restaurants, bistros, services, etc, which leads to learning about our festival, attending it and other cycling events, gaining confidence, spending more locally, etc. which becomes cyclical in nature. As a result, Edmonton’s economy grows apace and becomes secure in it’s turn.