Mayors George Peary and Mission Mayor Atebe at a bike event last Spring
Last month CityCaucus.com promoted the Civic Leaders Car-Free Week. Of the city councils around Metro Vancouver we contacted, only four brave souls were the first to stop driving their cars for a week. We're very pleased to have this account of the experiences of George Peary, Mayor of Abbotsford, BC.
The round trip from home to work is approximately 25 Km. I live up on Sumas Mountain in a sub-division called Auguston while my office is located close to Clearbrook on the west side of town. There is quite a change of elevation down and up through the center of town so it is a good cardio work-out, especially coming home.
My ride to work starts with a trip down Clayburn Creek Trail and through Clayburn Village. This is the best part of the commute because it is a beautiful creek-side mountain trail with no vehicular traffic – just lots of birds, rabbits and an occasional deer. The remainder of my ride through town is largely on the roads and sidewalks. The city is just completing some country-side bike lanes that will actually make the commute safer but they are not quite ready.
The joy of the ride is one of communing with nature. Even on the Mission Highway with the traffic rushing by, there is a sense of exhilaration. My twenty-four speed mountain bike offers me a great range of gears so I never have to dismount, although I did make a couple of involuntary deposits of skin when I accidentally tumbled off my bike a couple of times. I did not break any bones but I did bruise my ego.
We have a great set-up a work for storing bikes and a spacious shower/change room for freshening up before work. I managed to take a change of clothes. I actually enjoyed “dressing down” for a week by wearing more casual duds than my usual shirt, tie and jacket. The Abbotsford News did a flattering article on my week of cycling and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who commended me for my efforts.
Now that I have met the challenge, I will likely seek opportunities to use my bike when I do not have a series of off-site meetings. I usually jog in the mornings but a bike ride generally eliminates the need for my normal morning aerobic routine.
My wife and I try to cycle ever Sunday as a cross-training exercise. We do enjoy it and I am sure that we will do it more often once I “retire” again.
I'm glad that CityCaucus.com are promoting the "car-free" cause. It is a most noble one!