Get your costumes ready and your bikes all decked out for Barrie’s inaugural Bike the Night event going on Saturday, Sept 17.
The initiative, a 30-minute guided ride through downtown Barrie and the lakeshore path, is hosted by the City’s Active Transportation & Sustainability Committee and Living Green Barrie.
Ann-Marie Kungl, Barrie City Councillor of Ward 3, and one of the organizers of the event, says the purpose is to invite residents to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
“It’s a low-impact exercise, which can improve health and enjoyment,” Kungl told Barrie 360. “We want individuals to start looking at leaving their cars behind. And from an environmental impact and a sustainability benefit, and even to one’s own health, is getting around the city through using transit, or buses, cycling, or walking.”
There will be pre-ride festivities beginning at 5 p.m., including music, free bike tune-ups, games, giveaways, prizes, and Barrie Transit bike rack demonstrations.
Bikers will then meet at Meridian Place, 30 Simcoe Street, at dusk (around 7 p.m.) and the ride will commence.
Kelly Patterson McGrath, a Committee member, says the goal is education.
“We want to get folks on their bikes using the bike lanes and seeing what it’s like, and hopefully educating not only cyclists but also motorists,” said Patterson McGrath. “That was part of the whole idea of drawing folks out on a fun night and getting them to decorate their bikes and engaging.”
To bring some excitement and enthusiasm to the event, organizers say participants can get dressed up in costumes and accessorize their bikes … which could result in prizes.
“We are welcoming all kinds of lights and costumes,” said Patterson McGrath. “We’ll have prizes for the best efforts of what people are decorating their bikes with. The sky’s the limit for sure – as long as it’s safe – we don’t want dangling streamers in spokes. So, we’ll ensure that safety is also a priority.”
Kungl noted safety as well and that in the promotion of active transportation, part of the route along the lakeshore will be interacting with traffic, and riders should bring helmets.
She also says that only bikes are allowed on the route this time around. No skateboards or pets on leashes to join.
Enthusiasm for the first-time event in Barrie is already evident as the 200 rider limit has been reached, and the online registration closed.
Organizers say they are excited to welcome the public to ride together and to remember to check in at the registration table at Meridian Square by 6:30 p.m. before the ride starts at 7 p.m.
For more information about Bike the Night, visit their Facebook event page.
And to learn more about active transportation in Barrie, visit barrie.ca/ActiveTransportation.
Banner image – file photo – Barrie 360