Second annual bike festival celebrates Winnipeg’s cycling community

Workshops, a bike swap and Winnipeg’s first-ever cycle-powered concert planned for event

  • Local musician Mike Petkau (right) will perform Winnipeg’s first-ever cycle-powered concert at Bikefest 2010, an event organized by Jared Falk (left). – Matt Schellenberg

All things cycling for all ages will roll into The Forks Sunday, July 18 for the second annual Bikefest.

Organized by Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), this free festival will feature a bike swap, bicycle maintenance and fitting workshops, “Yoga for the Cyclist” sessions by Moksha Yoga, and cycle commuting tips from local advocacy groups.

Work is also underway to build a generator from a combination of old stationary bikes and automotive parts to host Winnipeg’s first-ever cycle-powered concert featuring Mike Petkau, artistic director of the West End Cultural Centre and frontman for local rock band Les Jupes.

The concert, pending generator completion, will take place at 3 p.m. under the Forks Plaza canopy.

“This is a great idea that captures the imagination and possibility of what musicians and environmentalists can do together,” Petkau said by e-mail.

Art City will welcome everyone to decorate their bikes with homemade vinyl stickers, plastic flowers and art cards attached to spokes with clothespins. Kids of Mud will be providing information about their off-road learn-to-ride and learn-to-race youth programs.

There are really two purposes for Bikefest. One is to gather the community and celebrate all things cycling; the other is to inspire cyclists at every level.

Jared Falk, Bikefest co-ordinator

Local riders will also be displaying their bicycle handling skills throughout the day by trial riding over obstacles and performing freestyle or flatland stunts in BMX style. There may even be an opportunity for fest-goers to try out a unicycle.

“There are really two purposes for Bikefest,” said Jared Falk, the event’s co-ordinator. “One is to gather the community and celebrate all things cycling; the other is to inspire cyclists at every level.” 

Organizations like Bike to the Future will provide information about routes, resources and updates on cycling route infrastructure improvements.

“Cycling is a realistic alternative for more and more Winnipegers,” said Rob Cosco of Bike to the Future.

The number of cyclists on the road has gone up with the increase in gas prices, the popularity of healthy lifestyles and the desire to find green alternatives, both Cosco and Falk noted. With the expansion of Winnipeg’s alternative transportation program and more bike lanes being set aside, cycle commuting will become safer and more convenient for those interested in trying it out.

The bike swap will help cyclists buy or sell a used bike or bike parts that they can’t find anywhere else.  Meeting the seller face-to-face gives fest-goers a chance to ask questions and try out the bike or parts first hand. There is no charge to sell at the bike swap.

Those interested in taking part must first reserve a spot or table to display their products by calling MEC at 943-4202 or e-mailing Jared Falk at jfalk@mec.ca. All sales are private sales and have no relation to MEC.

“There will be a wide variety of people at Bikefest, everyone from the experienced cyclist to the person who hasn’t touched a bike in five years,” said Falk.  “Perhaps this event will inspire them to ride that extra 10 kilometres on their next ride or bring out that old, neglected bike and head out to the park for a ride.”

Bikefest 2010 happens Sunday, July 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m at The Forks.

Published in Volume 64, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 30, 2010)

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