I grew up in Oakville and I explored every inch of it on my bicycle.
Whether it was visiting friends in Bronte or taking swimming lessons at Centennial Pool, I grew up exploring Oakville on two wheels.
When we are kids, cycling is our first chance at freedom and an opportunity to explore the world beyond our immediate neighbourhood. As we get older, car commercials lead us to believe we can better connect with the world around us; better explore our world, by encasing ourselves in a steel automobile with glass windows separating ourselves from the outside world.
For me, I went close to half a decade without riding a bike before I had the opportunity to fall in love with cycling again, oddly enough at a Cycle Oakville Group Ride through Kerr Village.
Now five years later, I ride my bike with my wife to get groceries, to get coffee, meet up with friends at a local pub, and occasionally ride my bike to work.
I look forward to an Oakville of the future, where we have a connected grid of cycling infrastructure that connects not only within Oakville, but with its neighbours Burlington, Mississauga, and Milton.
Oakville can be more than just livable, it can be ridable too!
I started cycling seriously about sixty years ago, when I did my first touring rides around the Devonshire countryside in England.
Since then I have had the opportunity to ride in twenty-five countries on six continents as a result of a number of foreign work assignments, holiday travel, and annual European bike tours.
I’ve collected many memorable adventures on my bike such as riding to the DMZ in Korea, going across the Pyrenees, riding around Canberra in Australia, climbing Mount Ventoux in France, cycling to the Colosseum in Rome, passing giraffes in South Africa and surprising gauchos in Argentina.
As a member of the Oakville Cycling Club, I enjoy road and trail riding and I also bike as a means of local transportation as much as possible in keeping with the motto “Why drive if you can walk or ride?” I value my membership with Cycle Oakville as a means to continue and encourage new support for the cycling advocacy efforts that I have pursued for many years. These areas include improved cycling infrastructures in Oakville and the surrounding regions.
Momo started cycling on two wheels when he was just four years old.
One year later, he took part in his first ever Cycle Oakville Social Ride, trying to race everyone else with his 12-inch little bike. That first group ride was a memorable experience for Momo: first of all, it happened on a rainy day (and he loves the rain!) and second, he felt so proud, at such young age, to be able to share his love for biking with others. He has been encouraged by his family to keep riding ever since, and five years later, cycling is definitely his preferred method of transportation to get to his daily destinations.
Momo is a proud member of a school cycling group. His mornings are as happy as they could be, especially once he touches his bicycle's handlebars and hops on his bike.
His cycling to school group starts from the furthest point of the “bike to school route” and makes designated stops to pick up students on their way to school and drop them off at the end of the day. He realizes that cycling can be dangerous, especially in the area of Oakville where he lives, where no bike lanes of any kind exist, either on the route to and from the schools, to the YMCA or to the Kerr Street Area.
When he is riding his bicycle, Momo tries to stay alert and observe the road safety rules, with the hope that everyone else will! Despite the lack of bike lanes in his neighborhood now, he’s still hoping that things will change for the better soon, and riding with his friends will be much safer.
His enthusiasm for cycling is very contagious, especially when he told us: “I really love biking. It makes me happy, it gives me a feeling of freedom when pedaling, it's a great way to move from place to place almost anywhere around! Riding the bicycle is pollution free and so much fun!
There are two things that I enjoy most about biking: biking in the rain (it is awesome!) and biking with my family and friends (just as awesome!)"
My bicycle has been my favourite mode of transportation since I was a child growing up in London, Ontario. I remember saving up enough babysitting money to trade in my “kid” bike for a CCM Targa 10-speed. I loved that bike and it served me well. It took me work, school and play, and from London to Ottawa as a young staffer to Jack Burghardt, MP for London West. I still remember my first day In Ottawa getting on my bike and riding the Rideau Canal thinking “I'm going to love it here if I can ride like this.”
Now that I split my time between Oakville and Ottawa (as MP for Oakville North-Burlington), I have a bike in each city. Whenever possible, I ride to meetings or the office. There is ls something about the freedom that comes when cycling that I've enjoyed since I was a child. As an elected official, I've strived to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and advocate for enhanced cycling infrastructure has always been a focus.
Why am I so committed to cycling? Aside from the sheer joy that riding on two wheels brings, it is good for our health, the environment and our economy.
I’m a (very new) cyclist. The truth is, prior to May 2018, I hadn't ridden a bike in a decade….
Then I signed up for The Ride to Conquer Cancer with my work place.
Initially, I didn’t want to ride; I didn't even have a bike!
But after hearing about the impact that the funds raised in the Ride to Conquer Cancer has made on the world, I knew that being bike-less wasn’t an excuse. The ride will be hard, but loosing loved ones to cancer is much harder. Ultimately, all I had to do was transport myself from Toronto to Niagara Falls using only man-power, or woman-power in this case! With 1 in 2 Canadians developing cancer in their lifetime, this is a small way I can be a part of something that makes a big impact.
Once I signed up, the list of things I had to do felt daunting. The first step was to buy a bike and a helmet. Second was to start fundraising. Third was to start riding.
Once I got to step 3, the weirdest thing happened. I felt joy, refreshed, and free. The more I rode, the stronger I felt. I thought every ride would be a chore, but instead, it turned into a short adventure that I looked forward too. Of course, I am human - and some days I didn’t want to ride. Those days, I would just so happen to get a new donation on my Ride to Conquer Cancer page. Knowing that your friends and family not only think you can do it, but are putting their money on it gave me the extra push I needed.
Some of my riding hiccups include, not inflating my tires enough (leading to 2 popped tires and needing to be rescued), not re-applying sunscreen, and literally falling off my bike while slowly stopping (and I have the bruises to prove it!). These hiccups happen. And when they do, just get up, and “Just Give’r”.
My ride is coming up at the start of June and I have shattered my $2,500 fundraising goal, but much like my cycling journey, I am not stopping anytime soon!
Anyone interested in donating to Christi's journey can do so by clicking here.