Canada Day bike valet parking an overwhelming success

The joint was jumping at Canada Day celebrations at Riverside Park. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the popular in-person gathering returned with a roar of delight. The usual events such as onstage music and children’s play areas joined with community and Arts Council displays and demonstrations; all basked in the brilliant sunshine. And did I mention the food? Smells of tasty fare from all around the world wafted delicately through the warm air, bringing smiles to the unusually large attendance of people of all ages and lifestyles.

One additional feature this year was a bike valet parking service provided by the City of Kamloops in one of the tennis courts. Staffed by volunteers with the Kamloops Cycling Coalition (KCC) riders could leave their bikes safely stored and monitored so they could enjoy the event worry-free. Over 125 riders used the service.

Said KCC organizer Deb Alore, “KCC volunteers had a great time meeting people from the cycling community and gathering support for the group through donations and new subscribers to the group’s newsletter, both of which aid the group in its advocacy efforts for safer, efficient, and equitable cycling in Kamloops.”

Kamloops Cycling Coalition’s Deb Alore explains the service to a participant.

Volunteer Ken Gray was amazed how many people used the service; some stayed in the park for an hour or so, others for longer. Some came alone, others in family or friendship groups. People were happy to have the service. Even during slower (and hotter) times of the day, folks just kept coming and going.

“It was such fun to visit with riders, to swap stories and ideas about safe and secure cycling in Kamloops. Much has improved lately but there is so much more to be done to make Kamloops attractive to riders of all ages” Gray said. “A number of mayoral and council candidates took careful note of what we were doing, and why.”

KCC hopes to be able to staff more bike valet parking venues in the future and encourages everyone in Kamloops who has a bike to join the group. The larger the supporter base the more influence we have to effect the changes that are needed to develop a cycling-friendly culture in our city.

While some events such as Ribfest have such a facility as part of their programmes, other events need to add it. Some folks even imagine a regular downtown drop off facility. A number of KCC members are keen to offer this service at other events but the new group will build slowly and sustainably.

Bike valet services align with KCCs mandate for improving security of bikes. We know one of the barriers for riding is a valid concern about bike theft, so being able to provide a secure place to store a bike at an event helps get more people on their bike.

Perhaps some day bike valet will be a normal part of every event organizing plan!

Thanks to Marcia Dick for coordinating this great project and Deb Alore for promoting the KCC. Hooray for bike valets!

Photo credits: Ken Gray

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