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Photo: Alex Tétrault courtesy of EnviroCentre.

The difference a bike ride can make

By Apartment613 on May 16, 2018

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Guest Post by Jesse Wetzl at Ottawa’s EnviroCentre.

Ever think it’s not worth riding your bike just to save the meagre amounts of money, or offsetting a barely noticeable amount of greenhouse gases? Think again.

May is Bike to Work Month, and has been organized in Ottawa by EnviroCentre, in partnership with the City of Ottawa, for nine years. Since its inception, the goal of the campaign has been to get people to hop out of cars and on to a bike to get to and from work. We know that once they try, many are sold on the idea! Riding is cheaper, more fun, and the special opportunity to win some great prizes are all pretty good incentives, too.

Over 3,000 new cyclists hit the streets of Ottawa

We measure success not only in the number of people who sign up for Bike to Work Month, or the number of kilometres logged, but by the number of new cyclists that have started commuting by bike. We started measuring this in 2014 and since then, we’ve had over 3,000 new cyclists hit the streets of Ottawa through the Bike to Work Month campaign.

During its short life, Bike to Work participants have logged over 1.5 million kilometres, which equals out to 37.5 times around the world, and have offset an equivalent total of 384,662 kg of CO2. That is only during the month of May and only reflects the commuters who have signed up for the campaign. If that concept is a bit hard to grasp, buckle up for some sweet numbers.

So far, the impact of Bike to Work Month has equated to:

  • going on a road trip and driving continuously for 623 days,
  • leaving a 13-watt lightbulb on for 3,378 years,
  • sitting on your couch, flipping on your 42” LCD TV and watching The Bachelor for 263 years,
  • powering your entire house for 29.6 years,
  • taking 75 cars off the road for a full year, or,
  • supplying your favourite taco place with 28.92 tons of beef.

Hopefully that adds context to the difference that can be made by a relatively small number of people in a short span of time. Adding cycling into the mix is an easy way to make the shift to a more sustainable and healthy way of living, it also means you can offset the amount of reality TV you watch without feeling guilty.

So pump up those bike tires, hug a tree and bike to work once or twice this May, you won’t regret it. Plus, think about how many tacos you can offset!

And since EnviroCentre really wants you to bike, sign up and log those commutes at biketoworkottawa.ca. There are prizes being given away every day in May.


May 14–18, 2018 is #ottbike takeover week on Apartment613. Tag #APT613 to be featured on Instagram.


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