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Win Two Registrations for Ottawa’s First “Tour la nuit”


Capital Velo Fest

Ed: Congrats Stephan, you’ve won the Tour la nuit passes! I’ll be in touch shortly! Thanks to everyone who commented – I’m taking the plunge and I’m going to start biking to work. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I consider myself to be a pedestrian first, and a driver second. I’m lucky to be able to walk to work, and I seldom take the car out during the week. I do not consider myself to be a cyclist, though I do own an old, rusty-but-functional bike. It takes me about thirty-five minutes to walk to work. It would probably take me no more than fifteen to bike in. So why don’t I ride my bike to work? FEAR. I’m terrified of riding my bike on the streets.

So when I first heard about Capital Vélo Fest, I was intrigued. Could this be the event that helps me take the plunge into cycling? I think it just might!

This is Capital Vélo Fest’s first year, but you’d never know it judging by all the great events planned for its debut on Saturday, June 4th. There will be a free Bicycle Rodeo from 11 am to 4 pm at Ottawa City Hall, which will include bicycle polo, bike decorating, and bicycle maintenance and fitting workshops. Citizens for Safe Cycling will be giving seminars on cycling safety – I’m so there! - and Ottawa Public Health will be on hand to help properly fit children’s helmets. Over twenty local cycling providers will be offering seminars on a variety of cycling topics, and each will be offering a prize draw.  (Hubby is so there!)

Capital Vélo Fest will continue into the evening with Ottawa’s first Tour la nuit ride starting at 7 pm. Cyclists will get to listen to live music as they prepare to head out onto closed-off city streets as of 8:30 pm. I just love this part. How often do you get a chance to ride on closed-off city streets at night? I’m looking forward to riding the streets without fear! Tour la nuit registration costs can be found here.

Capital Vélo Fest has graciously provided Frugal Fun Ottawa with two Tour la nuit registrations to give away. The winner will get both registrations so that he or she can attend with a friend. If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below telling me how you feel about riding on the streets, or why you think I should take the plunge and start biking to work. (Seriously, I’m considering it. Maybe.) Comments will close on Saturday, May 21st at 7pm and I’ll contact the winner by email. Please leave an email address that you check frequently – if I don’t hear back from the winner by Sunday at noon, I’ll have to move on to someone else.

Dick Louch, the man behind the Festival, is also working on organizing Ride-In Movies and a Capital Vélo Rally. Information on these events should be up on the Festival website soon.I recently had the chance to speak with Dick about Capital Vélo Fest and how it all came to be – but you’ll have to wait for the winner to be revealed on May 23rd to find out more about that :)

Good luck!

Capital Velo Fest

I have to give a shout-out to Jessical Jackson, a local high school student whose artwork appears in the poster above. Dick mentioned that the poster was terrific, but I hadn’t had a chance to look at it until just now. He’s right – it’s amazing!

  • Stephan Ethier

    I feel great about riding in the streets, and the more accessible the street will become to cyclist, the better we will all be. It changed my life and made me conscious about it. If you need convincing as to why you should consider commuting to work: less concern about gas price, insurance prices, parking, traffic, stress of driving, red lights, other drivers that are occupied doing everything but driving and these are some of the least important points as to why you should ride. How about it is the single most important investment in yourself that you will ever make, your health. It takes so little to achieve so much in health and every day life. It is not always the easiest decision to make specially when the weather is not in our favor, but when it is, wow, we just don’t realize how much we are missing out on life when we are driving. You can see some of the details; perfume of nature, the colors, the animals, the expression on peoples faces, the wind on your skin, less guilt for eating that extra portion, all the little details that are always there, but you have fails to notice cause, well you are going 50kph in a cocoon. Riding your bicycle is like a flower that opens it’s petals to life, if it didn’t, it would die within itself, and for that, no one benefits. The best way to help others, is to help yourself. Besides, what is more important than one own life? Invest in yourself as you have more to gain than to lose. Love yourself and go ride your bike.


  • B. Abma

    I ride to work most of the year. It can be challenging in the winter, but it is delightful from Spring to Fall. I often add to my morning or evening ride several kilometers along the river paths or the canal path, just for the joy of it.

    Riding on the street is interesting. Most drivers are considerate, but you always have to keep your eyes open for the odd one who is angry, self righteous, or simply unaware. I stick with quiet streets when I can. If not, I become aggressively cautious, asserting my right to be on the road, but careful because of the danger. I get where I want to go.

    Cycling to work helps me stay aware of the gentle change in the seasons that we have here. It keeps me in touch with the weather better than any newscast could.

    Another benefit of cycling to work is the feeling of calm on arrival and the sense of separation from the work experience going home. I am not merely a cog in a machine. I am alive and happy.

    I can recommend riding to work. It makes life much better.

  • Holly Richter

    Generally, safety risks are low, your body will thank for you it, and the earth benefits. If you have kids, it is great role modeling.

  • Dave Weatherall

    The more cyclists on the roads, the clearer it becomes to policy makers and city councillors that safe avenues are needed for cyclists that are using bikes as a means to commute, not just for recreation (although they’re great for recreation too!).
    That means more bike lane projects like the one currently slated for Laurier, which means less FEAR for potential cyclists like you!
    If you’re looking for shorter-term rewards, think of an extra fifteen minutes in the morning and take a quick look at the price of gas today…yeesh.

  • http://www.frugalfunottawa.ca Josée

    You guys make some excellent points about the benefits of biking to work. Since I already walk to work, I don’t have to worry about motorists, traffic, etc. (except for the occasional motorist that nearly runs me down!) So far the most compelling argument for me is that biking would save me some time in the morning. I also like the idea of contributing to Ottawa’s biking culture. I found out today that May is bike to work month. Yet another reason for me to give it a try!

  • Hassiba

    I currently do not own a bike, however I am moving to an amazing neighbourhood next week, a neighbourhood where nearly everyone either walks or bikes since every stores and places that are important are a few minutes away. I am already looking to purchase a bike, and can’t wait to make use of it both in exploring the area and as means of commuting. Like you, I fear the dangers of the streets for cyclists, but I am hoping the seminars at the Capital VeloFest will provide me with the tools and knowledge to make each of my future rides safer. Happy Cycling everyone!

  • solemom

    I ride to work every day that it’s above 8 degrees, with my almost 3 year old on the back. I absolutely love biking, and Ottawa streets are much less scary than Toronto streets for cyclists, though there are some definite areas for improvement (Laurier East between Nicholas and King Edward, for one!)
    I highly recommend trying to see if there’s a path that you could take to work that would use the bicycle paths for the most part. We have a 5 km ride and if I chose to go just a little out of my way (about .5km extra), I could stay on bike paths for everything except about 6 blocks! Give it a try, take your time, and have FUN!!

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