Bike Week shows its Portage pedal power

Portage Active Transportation Committee Bike Week Chair Ian Wassink, with a toddler's bike that will be given as a prize June 1 during Bike Week's wrap up party. Mickey Dumont/Citizen photo

Mickey Dumont

The Portage Citizen — Bike Week 2018 is underway and will continue in high gear until the wrap up party on June 1.

Ian Wassink, chair for this year’s Portage Active Transportation Committee Bike Week, says the May 26 to June 1 event has the best pedal power yet.

Wassink and team members kicked off Bike Week Saturday at Stride Place at 10 a.m. with a display, valet parking for those attending the PAW Patrol event or the Farmer’s Market, a wash centre and help from the Greasy Chain with minor bicycle repair and maintenance.

“This is the fourth annual Bike Week organized in Portage la Prairie and it keeps growing every year,” Wassink said. “We have a full slate of events this week with something happening every day.”

Bike Week has grown — a reflection of how biking is growing as a leisure activity here — to include an increasingly diverse and interesting schedule of events.

Wassink was personally handing out information brochures in front of Stride Place inviting everyone to take in one, a few or all of Bike Week 2018 events.

Later Saturday Bike Week events included Bike and Yoga in the park and a Portage mountain bike trails group ride. The ride was hosted by the Junk Yard Dogs Cycling Club.

Sunday afternoon there was a “Gravel Grumble Ride” — a 7 kms ride along dirt and gravel pathways and roads.

The Greasy Chain

“We got some bike repair going on Monday night at the Greasy Chain (160 1 St. NW, corner of Fisher Ave. and 1 St. NW),” Wassink said.

For the uninitiated The Greasy Chain is almost the best thing that has happened in Portage la Prairie for anyone who owns a bike. The best, of course, is having a very comfortable seat, then a good helmet, God forbid you should ever fall or crash and finally the volunteers and expertise The Greasy Chain offers to help you maintain and fix your bike.

Public art tour

Also on Monday, Bike Week features a public art tour that meets at Stride Place and departs at 7 p.m.

It is a one-hour tour of outdoor art installations that finishes with an art project at The Greasy Chain. Participants should bring a light-coloured t-shirt for the project.

Age friendly recreational ride

Bike Week events continue Tuesday evening with a recreational ride and age friendly outdoor equipment launch.

Organizers describe this as an hour long urban ride that will stop by the outdoor exercise equipment for a launch event, demo and equipment trials. Participants are to meet at Stride Place north entrance to be ready to leave by 6:30 p.m. This is an all abilities event. No one will be left behind.

The Portage Active Transportation Committee will be handing out promotional gifts, including copies of the new walking and cycling map at this event.

Family Cookie Ride

“We have a couple of popular events that are back this year. On Wednesday we have the Family Cookie Ride, a self-guided ride to neighbourhood schools,” Wassink said.

The Family Cookie Ride goes from 6 – 8 p.m. Participants choose a route and starting point convenient to them. A map is provided at any of the school starting points. Those who visit all five locations will be eligible to win a prize!

Check in at school stations for a homemade cookie made by Girl Guides of Portage and the Family Resource Centre.

Starting points, water and washroom stations: École Crescentview, Fort La Reine, Yellowquill, and La Verendrye schools. Ice cream at La Verendrye School and Island Park.

Birch Mountain Bike trails Group ride

Also on Wednesday there is a Birch Mountain Bike trails Group ride.

Hosted by Portage Junk Yard Dogs Cycling Club, all riders must register by May 29 by phoning Blair Geisel at 204-856-9352.

Skill level: expert – trails have steep ascents and riders must be very fit to participate.

Mountain bike must be in very good working condition and a helmet is mandatory. Birch Mountain is located south of Portage la Prairie near Roseisle.

Cycling Grub Crawl

The May 31 Cycling Grub Crawl is the only ticketed event during Bike Week.

Meet at Splash Island parking lot for a 6 p.m. departure, the $25 ticket plus money for ice cream (optional) at Northside Market on 8th St NW available at the Portage la Prairie Regional Library

Cycle the designated route (18 km) or create your own as you stop along the way to enjoy a light meal at each of the following locations: Café on Prince, Tornado’s Restaurant & Lounge, and Northside Market.

Wrap up

June 1, the final day to celebrate Bike Week 2018 in Portage la Prairie, will feature a wrap-up party on the Red River College Portage Campus lawn starting at 4 p.m.

It is also Bike to School/Work Day.

All schools and students in the Portage School Division are encouraged to bike to school and register to win your school a bike rack! Did you bike to school or work? Come to the wrap up party to be entered to win an individual prize.

The wrap up party

New this year this family friendly event offers loads of activities and fun to help celebrate the end of Bike Week.

“We’re really excited about the wrap up. It’s new this year and to end the week we’re having a big party,” Wassink said. “BBQ, activities for kids, we’re going to have short workshops related to cycling and we have all kinds of prizes to give away.”

BBQ and salads will be offered for $5, activities and 10-minute bike workshops, bike valet, and more! This is not just your typical face-painting party – there’s something for everyone! Kids: bring your coins for the Quarters, Loonies, and Toonies Fair!

“The Bike Week organizing committee thanks the Girl Guides, Tupper Street Family Resource Centre, The Greasy Chain, a great core of Bike Week volunteers that helped organize the many events, Stride Place for allowing us to host events and the many community individuals who gave of their time. We really appreciate all of the help to make this possible.”

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