Get On Your Bike And Ride

By Fred Larsen – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

Orillia, like many other cities its size, faces a common problem: too much traffic, especially during busy times and when school starts and ends. Most people use cars to get around. Relying so much on cars creates traffic. Traffic – all traffic – is harmful to our environment, contributing to local air pollution as well as a major cause of emissions that lead to global warming.

But there’s hope. Initiatives like On The Move and Sustainable Orillia’s Sustainable Spokes – Healthy Folks 2024 Bike Challenge  are working to make things better. On The Move—a program led by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and joined by schools, the city, and others—encourages kids to be more active, to walk, bike, skate, or scooter to and from school.

Right now only a small number of Canadian kids get enough exercise each day, and very few walk or bike to school. We need to change that so our kids can be healthier.

Walking or biking to school isn’t just good for exercise. It helps kids explore their neighbourhood and learn how to be safe pedestrians and cyclists. More kids walking or biking also makes streets safer for everyone and reduces or slows vehicle traffic. An active lifestyle is not only better for the environment, it makes families healthier.

Orchard Park Bike Rodeo 2024 Winners

Here in Orillia, Orchard Park Public School is doing a great job with this. They’ve been part of On The Move since 2019 and, with help from the city, police and groups like Sustainable Orillia, they’ve been working towards making walking and wheeling to school safer. They have organized fun events like their annual Bike Rodeo and Movement Challenge to get their students and families excited about active school travel.

With Bike to School Week coming up at the end of May 27 – 31 and Ontario Bike Month following in June, these next two months are the perfect time to start biking more often. Every time we choose to bike instead of drive, especially for regular trips like going to school, we’re helping to make the future greener, healthier, and more vibrant. Each biking trip counts—it truly makes a difference!

It’s a win-win situation.

Saturday, May 11 was the starting day of  Sustainable Orillia’s Bike Challenge. Now’s the time to ride. Hop on your bike and ride to school. Ride the waterfront trail. Get the family and some friends together and ride the Uhthoff Trail. Keep those wheels moving!  

No matter where or when you cycle from May 11 to June 8th, every kilometer/trip counts towards Sustainable Orillia’s 2024 Sustainable Spokes – Healthy Folks 2024 Bike Challenge, so be sure to register and let’s pedal together towards a greener future!

And don’t forget that there are other local initiatives aimed at getting healthy while supporting good causes. For instance, plan to join the Soldier’s Ride Sunday, June 2 in support of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

(Images Supplied) Main: Orchard Park Bike Rodeo OPP and On The Move Team


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