Pedal pusher With his bike valet service, David Wieser is hoping more
Winnipeggers will two-wheel it to city events
By: David Sanderson / Roll With It
Revenge is a dish best served cold. And dripping with paint.
Not long ago, regulars at a bar in Livingston, Mont., were being plagued by
a bicycle thief who would nab their wheels while they were inside, tossing
back a few.
One night, some of the victims hid near the watering hole's bike rack, and
waited for the perpetrator to show up. Within an hour, a dark figure
appeared and began sawing the lock off one of their bikes. Before the crook
could make his getaway, however, he was greeted by a barrage of paintball
pellets. (Charles Bronson fans everywhere will be pleased to learn that the
act of vigilantism was filmed by one of the participants, and is now
available for all to enjoy, on YouTube.)
"That was a good video; I watched it last week," says David Wieser, the
founder of Bicycle Valet Winnipeg -- a year-old organization that parks and
protects Winnipeggers' bicycles at events all over town.
The million-dollar question, then: will Wieser now follow suit, and arm his
legion of valets with paintball guns?
"Uh, no," Wieser says, with a laugh. "There are no plans to do that at this
Bicycle Valet Winnipeg is exactly what it sounds like: Cyclists present
their bikes to whoever is on duty at happenings like rock concerts and
street festivals. Valets park the bikes in a cordoned-off area, then hand
out claim stubs. At the end of the event, the bike owners return their
ducats, and the valets fetch their rides. Best of all: it's free.
"People always ask, 'How much?' but thanks to our sponsors and event
organizers, we don't have to charge a penny," Wieser says, adding that
Bicycle Valet Winnipeg is a subsidiary of Bike to the Future, a non-profit
organization whose mandate is to make cycling in the Peg a safe and
convenient transportation alternative, year-round.
Wieser came up with the idea for Bicycle Valet Winnipeg in 2007, after
reading about a similar enterprise in San Francisco. But before he made his
dream a reality, Wieser, a 17-year member of the Canadian Armed Forces, was
redeployed to Edmonton for training, and then to Afghanistan for a six-month
tour of duty.
"It was while I was in Kandahar that I really began jotting down notes,
bouncing ideas off other people, and firing off emails," Wieser says. By the
time he returned to Winnipeg in April 2010, the married father of one was
"pretty much ready to go."
Well, not exactly. At Bicycle Valet Winnipeg's inaugural event -- Bike to
Work Day 2010 at The Forks -- Wieser had plenty of takers, but nowhere to
put their bikes. "It fell on the same day that the Queen was in town,"
Wieser explains. "The city was supposed to deliver a bunch of bike racks,
but they were so busy with the royal visit that they forgot about us."
To make sure that never happened again, Wieser began building his own bike
racks. (Last week, he put the finishing touches on No. 51.) He's also busy
building on Year One, when his valets -- all of them volunteers -- worked at
close to 20 events, including the last six Blue Bomber games. Wieser just
got word that his services will be needed at all of the Big Blue's home
games this year, and Bicycle Valet Winnipeg will also be present at the Red
River Exhibition, Canada Day at The Forks, and the M.E.C. Bike Fest in July.
To date, Bicycle Valet Winnipeg has tended to everything from skateboards to
unicycles to bike trailers. "Last year, we even had a 10-foot-long,
four-wheel car cycle -- it was awkward to park but we did it," Wieser says.
On the other hand, mopeds need not apply. "No, we won't park anything with
an engine. We're trying to encourage people to choose active transportation
to get to their event."
In addition to establishing relationships with organizers of the Manitoba
Marathon, and/or the management of this city's new NHL franchise, Wieser has
one other goal in mind.
"We parked (Hot 103 DJ) Ace Burpee's bike at the Ciclovia festival last
year," Wieser says. "He draws such a crowd, I wish we could have a bike
valet following right behind him wherever he goes."
For more information, and to see where Bicycle Valet Winnipeg will be
setting up next, visit www.bicyclevaletwinnipeg.ca.
IN August, David Wieser will bid adieu to Winnipeg, and to his "baby,"
Bicycle Valet Winnipeg. Wieser, an electrical distribution technician at 17
Wing, is being transferred to a base in Ontario. Last month, Wieser hired
Rosanne Ritchot to take his place as Bicycle Valet Winnipeg's chief
co-ordinator. We recently caught up with Ritchot, and asked her a few
questions about the future of Bicycle Valet Winnipeg, and her own passion
for getting around town on two wheels.
Free Press: Was there a seminal moment in your life when you discovered you
were a serious cyclist and not just somebody out for a little fresh air?
Rosanne Ritchot: I discovered my love for cycling during a bike trip from
Winnipeg to Alaska and back, in 2004. Understandably, it would have been
wiser to discover this love before leaving on a 5,000-plus-kilometre trip,
but fortunately, it worked out.
FP: Just a hunch, but I'm guessing you didn't show up for your interview
with a David Wieser behind the wheel of a Hummer.
RR: I wouldn't have dreamed of showing up for this job interview in any type
of car! I have to admit, though, that I didn't ride my bike. I walked.
FP: I know you haven't officially started yet, but do you have any ideas re:
your new title?
RR: I don't have any specific plans yet. But I do dream of Bicycle Valet
Winnipeg getting bigger, if only because I dream of Winnipeg being a city
more open and accessible to cyclists.
FP: One of David Wieser's chief tenets is that Bicycle Valet Winnipeg will
never charge individual cyclists to use its services. Do you subscribe to
RR: Absolutely. In my opinion, BVW's purpose is to make taking your bike
instead of your car as easy, as accessible, and as affordable as possible.
Using your bike is a glorious thing, and BVW should help to make that true
for more and more Winnipeggers.
See more here:
As per the article, these curb-protected facilities will be a first for
Winnipeg already has one on Assiniboine...
Winnipeg: 1 .....*+0.5 if you count the Norwood Bridge*
Related note of pride: Thompson is getting its first bike lanes ever, this
year (on Burntwood).
Active Transportation Project Coordinator
Physical Activity Coalition of Manitoba | www.pacm.ca
c.204-294-7027 | activetransportation(a)pacm.ca
*** Please share widely ***
Dear Fellow Winnipegger,
Join us in making an impact by cycling to work on June 24th as part of the
4th annual Bike to Work Day Winnipeg!
By registering for free online, not only will you get a chance to take part
in all of the days events including complimentary snacks, beverages, BBQ,
prizes and parties, you will add your voice to ours and take a stand for
cyclists and a greener, more bike-friendly Winnipeg.
This year is a year to celebrate both the advances in our city's walking and
cycling infrastructure as well as our event plans. Please take a moment to
learn more at www.biketoworkdaywinnipeg.org Even if you are unsure today
whether you can bike on June 24th--register! Your registration and support
of the event will help grow the event each year.
Please see below for a schedule of the day. We look forward to seeing you on
your bikes soon!
*JUNE 24th is BIKE TO WORK DAY*
*6:30-9:00am* Locate a pit stop using our online
Stop along your commute and receive free snacks and coffee (available on a
first come, first serve basis) along with other swag and t-shirts. Find a
buddy and share the ride to work! *Please note that there is NO pancake
breakfast this year; instead we will be hosting a BBQ to bookend the day.*
*4:00- 7:00pm* Manitoba Lotteries BBQ at the Forks. Stop by on your way home
for free music and a great party! Free food for the first 300.
S. Turner, R. Singh, P. Quinn and T. Allatt (2011), "*Benefits Of New And
Improved Pedestrian Facilities – Before And After Studies*," Research Report
436, NZ Transport Agency (
[snipped from the Executive Summary:]
This research, conducted between 2005 and 2009, aimed to investigate whether
the implementation of new pedestrian facilities (or the improvement of
existing facilities) led to increased pedestrian rates, and to record these
changes in a standardised format that could be used in transport planning
and project funding. This study also tried to develop an expected
pedestrian-usage model, based on before and after data analysis, for
planners and funding agents to use when planning new or improved facilities
and evaluating projects. The final part of the project involved developing a
monitoring database containing before and after pedestrian count data for
various new and improved pedestrian facilities, along with a list of
accompanying factors such as safety, delay and directness.
Results from the before and after pedestrian count surveys and analysis of
the individual case studies showed that the implementation of improved
pedestrian facilities resulted in increased usage at seven out of the eight
sites analysed. The magnitude of these changes varied between sites, from 7%
for the Moorhouse Ave signalised pedestrian crossing to 90% for the kerb
extensions at Collingwood St. The reasons for the increases in flows were
analysed in each of the individual case studies, and were found to be a mix
of factors such as safety, delay and directness. Overall, it was observed
that the construction of kerb extensions/refuge islands resulted in the
largest increase in pedestrian numbers, followed by the installation of kea
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave | (204) 925-3772 | Find us
Green Action Centre is your non-profit hub for greener living.
Support our work by becoming a
If you haven't registered yet for the 4th Annual Bike to Work Day
Winnipeg, then please register now!
It's easy and FREE! Just go to http://biketoworkdaywinnipeg.org/ and click
Register in the top right corner then fill in your information. You'll be
entered to win great prizes like a *bike makeover from Natural Cycle*.
Then *on Friday, June 24th*, ride your bike to work. *Locate a pit stop near
you using our online map and stop by between 6:30 and 9 AM for free snacks
and coffee. At the end of the day you can wind down at the Forks from 4-7pm
with a free BBQ for the first 300 cyclists and live music. Please note that
there is NO Pancake Breakfast at the Forks in the morning.*
It is very important for everyone to register as we want to show how
important cycling is in Winnipeg with a great turn-out. Please forward this
on to all your friends, family and coworkers so that we can make this the
most successful Bike to Work Day Winnipeg yet!
There are also volunteer opportunities still available. Please contact *CARA
FISHER programs(a)thewrench.ca * if you would like to help.
For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts of trails infrastructure
development, please see the information on the workshop hosted by the Crow
Wing Trail below.
Active Transportation Project Coordinator
Physical Activity Coalition of Manitoba | www.pacm.ca
c.204-294-7027 | activetransportation(a)pacm.ca
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Crow Wing Trail <cwta(a)voyageur.coop>
Date: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 2:40 PM
Subject: MORE INFORMATION ON TRAIL BUILDING WORKSHOP - PROVIDENCE COLLEGE -
Please find attached cover letter, press release and poster providing
more information about the trail building workshop.
Please print and distribute or forward to your members and/or organizations
that could benefit from this opportunity.
Please register asap to assist us in accommodating everyone.
Crow Wing Trail Association
The grand tour: How bike tourism helps local economies
by Elly Blue <http://www.grist.org/people/Elly+Blue>
6 Jun 2011 10:49 AM
Bike-friendly cities, off-road paths, and scenic country roads where
cyclists can spin along in comfort aren't just good for the people who live
in those places. They also attract tourists. And tourists mean money for the
Tourism is one of the U.S.'s largest industries and biggest employers,
creating millions of jobs and bringing in hundreds of *billions* of dollars
to mention the tax benefits).
Bicycle touring has long had an honored place in the tourism economy and
culture. This doesn't go unrecognized: In Wisconsin, bike tourism is
estimated to contribute $1.5 billion to the state's
It's not just about paths or trails, though the measurable impacts these
facilities have on local economies are a big deal. Bicycle transportation
may not yet be mainstream in the U.S., but recreational bicycling is. More
people ride bikes than ski, and more bikes than cars are bought here every
year -- presumably for the purpose of family rides along the riverside
For communities looking to up the ante, in adventure or economic
development, there are many enticing opportunities for bicycle touring
beyond a short jaunt on the rail trail.
Take, as an example, RAGBRAI (that's the Register's Annual Great Bicycle
Ride Across Iowa <http://ragbrai.com/>), which calls itself "the oldest,
largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world." Now in its 39th
year, the seven-day event follows a different route every year. Participants
and spectators drop plenty of cash into small-town economies along the way
-- buying pancakes, beer, massages, and souvenirs. The ride also has a
longer-term economic impact that's harder to quantify -- in
attractions and even
in job creation<http://www.iowacityareadevelopment.com/news/ottumwaragbrai/>
Rides like RAGBRAI -- few are nearly as large, but every state boasts
smaller supported tours -- introduce participants to the satisfaction and
camaraderie of bicycle touring. And they are ambassadors of mutual goodwill,
paving the way<http://pathlesspedaled.com/2011/05/rough-cut-tara-corbin-rural-communities-…>for
acceptance in communities where a person on a bike on a rural road
otherwise be seen as an inconvenience.
Then there's unsupported touring. It's the same thing you might do with a
car -- strap some basics to your rear rack and take off down the road to
meet people, see sights, and gaze contemplatively at the road ahead.
You can take a bike trip for next to no money by camping and picnicking your
way down scenic country roads, picking up supplies and souvenirs at the same
places locals shop, finding your focus in grueling mountain climbs and your
joy in the long descents. At the other end of the spectrum is what a friend
calls "credit card bike camping": short hops between charming bed and
breakfasts, stopping at every tucked-away restaurant and winery.
Either way, you're expanding your horizons under your own power and putting
your money directly into small, local businesses rather than into your gas
tank or the chain hotels off the freeway.
There's a resurgence of interest in this kind of touring, though few are
embracing it as completely as Russ Roca and Laura Crawford, who a year and a
half ago decided to sell all their possessions and take off across the
country by bike <http://pathlesspedaled.com/about/> without a set
destination or plan. They financed the trip in part with speaking
engagements at local bike shops, which have proven unexpectedly popular.
Roca and Crawford seem to be onto something. The rising price of gas and a
growing disenchantment with cars, traffic, and the sedentary life mean have
resulted in new interest in different types of vacations and adventures.
The hurdle, for local decision makers and business leaders who want to
encourage bike tourism, is to avoid the pitfall of classifying bikes as
purely recreational, a luxury alternative to the classic Sunday drive.
Welcoming bicycle tourists should go beyond a friendly attitude and
amenities from business owners, though those two things certainly make a big
The benefits of bike tourism aren't just for rural communities. In Portland,
with its well-established bikeway network, a survey found that 78 percent of
visitors said that the city's bicycle-friendly reputation played a role in
their decision to travel
Bikeshare systems can change a visitor's experience of a
Bike touring, when it's embraced at a policy level, breaks down the
dichotomy between recreation and transportation. After all, bike-minded
improvements in infrastructure and enforcement create
more economically sound places not just to visit but to live.
Streets and roads where it feels comfortable to ride a bike are good for
residents, tourists, and the economy.
Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist <http://ellyblue.net/> living in
Portland, Oregon. You can find her on Twitter <http://twitter.com/ellyblue>.