Rosslander ride-a-bike-to-work commitment

They are the thrill-seekers, fitness-fanatics, ‘rubber heads’ and environmentalists who ride their bikes to work.

The Kootenays are full of them.  They are the thrill-seekers, fitness-fanatics, ‘rubber heads’ and environmentalists who ride their bikes to work. But, what is it that motivates these riders to leave their motors behind and make the challenging daily ride?

Isaac Saban is a regular cycle commuter and also President of the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society.   Like many Kootenay residents, Saban wanted to give up city living, keep his career on track and be able to bike to work.  Saban found it all in Rossland and Trail.

“I’ve been cycling to work for most of the ten years I’ve lived here,” said Saban. “For two summers I was part of a bike carpool, where each person took a turn at driving everyone else (and their bikes) back up the hill.”

From April (or whenever the snow goes) until mid-November (when it returns), Saban commutes on his mountain bike, living for the fresh air and freedom. He feels good that he’s not adding to the negative effects automobiles have on the environment.

But off-road bike riding, even on established trails, comes with its own set of challenges.  Recently, Saban met a moose on the trail. Although he stopped a couple of times to let it move on, each time he went around a bend, the moose was still there.

”I had to turn around and go back up the hill,” said Saban.

Saban rides rain or shine. It is just a “mindset” he says, having ridden in Vancouver, where rain was practically part of the daily routine.

“It’s never as bad outside as it looks,” said Saban. “It’s establishing a habit. Once you’re into it, it just happens.”

Saban is committed to riding safely. His helmet is always on. He says it’s part of the lifestyle, like wearing a seatbelt. He also has mountain bike shoes, soft-soled to better connect with the pedals. And, he always carries a spare bike tube. These are all things he recommends to anyone contemplating commuting by bike.

Saban is not alone. There are dedicated cyclists who ride both down and up the hill between Rossland and Trail, on-road and off-road. According to Teck Metals Trail Operations, their bike parking lot is full most of the spring, summer and fall. Riders come to work from all directions.

Saban’s family lifestyle is typical of the Kootenay region: work in a neighbouring town, take the kids to activities, summer trips to the lakes. So, his family also has a car and a truck, to go along with their fleet of six bikes.

“It kills me to drive,” said Saban, but he acknowledged that it is also a necessity for active families with children in rural communities like Rossland.

He also dreads the on-road portion of his ride, describing the Warfield to Trail  section as his “least favourite.”  When unaware drivers cut him off, he has been known to report them to police. Rural road riders don’t have marked bike lanes like their urban counter-parts and must share the roads with motorized vehicles.

However, the Kootenay’s growing network of trails and peaceful backroads provide a great opportunity for cycle commuting.  A sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative to driving to work may be just a bike away.

For more on sustainable transportation initiatives in Rossland, visit the Rossland Sustainability Commission website at www.visionstoaction.ca, Kootenay Carshare Co-op at www.carsharecoop.ca or Kootenay Columbia Trails Society www.KCTS.ca.

Ann Damude

Communications for Rossland

Sustainability Commission

250-362-5617 or

adamude@telus.net

 

Just Posted

Discussion centres on the future of English Grade 8 at RSS

Parents met with the principal to discuss the future of English Grade 8 at Rossland Summit School.

Rossland St. Andrew’s United Church planning for restoration

Rossland’s United Church has received a CBT grant to support a restoration of the Red Roof Church.

Interior Health facilities score high in housekeeping audits

Housekeeping audits for health facilities in the region show most are above the auditor’s benchmark.

RCMP urge drivers to be more cautious

The top causes of accidents in the West Kootenay are distracted driving, impaired driving and speed.

FortisBC explains rate change proposal

FortisBC met with customers in Castlegar to explain their new time-of-use rate proposal.

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

All 19 events are underway across Kamloops, where five to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Maritimes want their own CFL team

Their biggest hurdle is getting a stadium commitment in place

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Internet questions PM’s fashion choices in India

The Trudeaus’ eight-day visit has been dogged by various controversies since it began Feb. 17

Adopted potbelly pig killed and eaten on Vancouver Island

Animal had been adopted out from the SPCA in Duncan; staff are devastated by news

WATCH: Walking from Argentina to Alaska one step at a time

Holly “Cargo” Harrison is in Williams Lake, resting a pulled hamstring before he continues on his 15,000-mile walk to Alaska.

Most Read