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Celebration of all things bicycle happening Sept. 12

Love Your Bike festival gearing up for a good time
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The Love Your Bike event in 2017 was held outside St. Andrew's Church. GuelphToday file photo

The seventh annual Love Your Bike festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 12 on the back patio of the Wooly Pub.

The COVID-compliant event starts at 10:30 a.m. before The Wooly opens to the public.

The event is hosted by St. Andrews Church, 2 Rivers Church and Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT).

"We usually hold it in June (as part of Bike Month) but we had to put it off," said GCAT president Yvette Tendick.

New this year will be bike riders sharing their stories about why they love their bikes and riding it.

"We're going to have local Guelphites tell their stories, that's new this year. People will stand up and talk about what their bikes mean to them and how it's helped them integrate into the community," Tendick said.

The audience will also have the opportunity to share their stories.

There has been a huge upswing in bike sales this year in Guelph and across the country, as people sought simpler ways to exercise and activities they can do with their families. Early in the pandemic it was often hard to find new bikes to purchase.

"Oh my goodness yes," Tendick said of the rise in popularity. "You see a lot of families on bikes out on the trails, more than before. It seems to me you're seeing more people teach their children."

Traditionally the event has included a group adult and a family bike ride around some surrounding neighbourhoods, but in the spirit of social distancing that won't be a part of this year's event.

In the logistics of trying to organize the ride we decided to just keep the spirit of the ride, which is just enjoying community around loving your bike," Tendick said.

The schedule for the event includes: 

  • A moment of silence at 10:45am for fallen cyclists followed by a “Blessing of the Bikes”

  • Free coffee and treats before noon

  • Some local Guelphites will tell their stories of what made them fall in love with their bikes

  • A“wrench-off” at 11:30am featuring Guelph’s best in a friendly flat-fixing competition

  • Prizes for all types of bikes

Next spring GCAT willbe starting a program that will help new Canadians learn about their new city.

Bikes For Community Connection is a program that teams experienced cyclists with new Canadians and their family to help them learn about biking opportunities and their new homes.

The program had been scheduled to start this year but had to be delayed due to the pandemic, said Tendick.

"It was put off because of COVID, but we're organizing a bunch of newcomers to work with mentors to show them around Guelph so that they're comfortable riding around Guelph and help them integrate into the community," said Yvette Tendick, president of the local pro-bike Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation.

"We've been having meetings and we'll start it in the spring. It was supposed to start this year," Tendick said.

The program is modelled on one done in Brampton that has been a big success.

"It's modelled off the one in Brampton. They do it in a huge way and some of the stories are really heartwarming," Tendick said.