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Photo by Robert Fairchild, from the Apt613 flickr pool

CycloFest: A celebration of cycling

By Hannah Manning on May 5, 2016

With over 600 kilometers of bike paths in the National Capital Region, it’s easy to leave the car at home and hop on your bike. From the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River Pathway and everything in between, Ottawa and Gatineau are great places for a ride.

And how great is this? The cities of Ottawa and Gatineau have joined forces with Strava Metro to collect and analyze GPS data collected by users of the free Strava App. User’s rides are anonymously uploaded and will then be analyzed to help plan cycling routes. Citizens for Safe Cycling Ottawa is encouraging everyone to participate and log their rides.

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On Sunday May 8, there’s another reason to hop on your bike. The first annual CycloFest is taking place, transforming Preston Street into a cyclist’s paradise. With the completion of the Trillium Multi-Use Pathway, which runs parallel to the O-Train tracks, Little Italy is now fully connected to all major bike routes along the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal. The Preston Street Business Improvement Association (BIA) is taking advantage of this to showcase the many amenities in Little Italy such as restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and gelato shops that are now easily accessible.

After a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney, a bike parade will make its way from the Millennial Arch and down Preston. Organized by XO VELO, all are invited to decorate their bikes and join in. If you’ve participated in any other events hosted by XO VELO (such as the Velo Vogue Bicycle Fashion Show) or seen photos floating around Twitter or Instagram, you know you’re in for a fun time.

Following the parade, the Mallets of Mayhem Ottawa Bike Polo Club are offering a demo of their sport. Other events include a bike rodeo, Thai boxing fitness demonstrations and fresh air yoga. There’s even a chance to win a bike! OC Transpo will be on site offering demos of their Rack and Roll system and Ottawa Police Services will be providing tips on helmet safety and rules of the roads for cyclists.

Preston Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10am-2pm between Carling and Gladstone, giving people a chance to get out and enjoy the festivities. CycloFest is billed as a celebration of the urban cycling lifestyle and all are welcome to attend. For more information, check out the Preston Street BIA.

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