Winter Bike to Work Day will be held Friday, despite snow in the forecast

The 7th annual Winter Bike to Work Day is being held on the morning of Friday, February 8th, and will go on even if there's 5 centimetres of snow.

The international event to celebrate winter cycling will be held at the Janion Plaza at the corner of Pandora and Wharf streets, from 7 to 9 am.  It's being joint hosted by the City of Victoria, the CRD, bikemaps.org and the Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society.  Janion Plaza will be home to a "celebration station", where riders who are out battling the cold can grab a snack, warm beverage, get some tips on winter riding, and potentially win a give away, or even a Valentines surprise.

Executive Director for Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society, Amelia Potvin, says she doesn't expect there to be any fair-weather riders out at the event, but would still like to see a good turnout.  She also offers tips for riding in the snow, which, along with being properly dressed for the weather, includes some tricks for bike tires.

"If it's an option to have a set of tires that has more tread, that's always favourable.  Switch out your tires, or just ride year round with a tire that have more tread, and more grip, like sort of a hybrid style tire.  And then in terms of the PSI, if you look at the side wall of your tire, there will be a recommended pressure, and in winter conditions it's a good idea to lower the recommended PSI by just a few pounds, which just gives you a bit of a wider footprint and slightly better traction."

She also advises riders give themselves more space, especially when in traffic and next to the curbs.

"As always, we recommend that when people are riding on the road, you give yourself about a metre from the curb.  That is so you have room to manoeuvre should you need to.  Additionally, in these types of conditions, that's where water tends to pool, and things tend to pool right by the edge of curb.  So staying away from that and giving yourself space is a good way to ride when there's debris or snow or things like that."

She adds that there's a possibility of black ice and slippery conditions, and advices that people ride to their comfort level.  She also says riders should go slower, take precaution, and be alert and cautious when on the road.

She says about 8% of Victorians bike year round, but Potvin says we have a great climate for cycling, and we should have more people riding in our communities.  She hopes to see a turnout of about 120 riders tomorrow, even if the forecasted 5 cm of snow falls before the event begins.  

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