For University of Saskatchewan students, riding a bicycle is an affordable way to get to and from campus. While some students may not realize its viability during the colder months, Ice Cycle is an event aiming to promote the more affordable and physically active commuting option.
On Feb. 27, U of S students along with the general public will gather for an evening of cycling and safety followed by a hot meal and book talk. The event, organized by Saskatoon Cycles, starts at 5:15 p.m. at the Saskatoon Farmers Market. There will be a brief safety talk titled “David and Goliath — On Staying Alive and the Law,” lead by Dave Palibroda, a lifetime cyclist, and accompanied by lawyer Ben Ralston.
The talk will focus on safe cycling and Saskatoon’s cycling by-laws, as well as the places in which they conflict with one another. After attendees have been educated, all will embark on a 45 minute ride around the streets of Saskatoon. The only required gear for attending is weather-appropriate clothing and a working bicycle.
The ride will conclude back at the Farmer’s Market where warm chili and pints of Nine Mile Legacy beer will be for sale. Tom Babin, a journalist from the Calgary Herald, will then give a talk on his new book FrostBike.
Babin spoke about the inspiration for his book, citing his love for cycling as the starting point.
“I’ve been a bike commuter for a long time, mostly in the summertime and like most people, when the fall came, I would park my bike in the garage and drive or take the bus to work. I just really missed riding in the winter time … that was my big question when I set out to the write the book: is riding a bike in the winter viable or for crazy people only?” Babin said.
He assures students and Saskatoon citizens alike that riding a bike in the winter time is not exclusively for hardcore cyclists and, in writing his book, discovered that riding a bike in the winter can be a legitimate and accessible option.
For students looking to take the plunge, Babin says it is a lot easier than it might seem and that it is not necessarily an expensive decision to make.
“I don’t really think there is a need to go out right off the bat and buy a whole bunch of new equipment. I really think the most important part is having this experimental attitude. You need to sort of get out there and figure it out on your own,” Babin said.
Caitlin Taylor, third-year arts and science student at the U of S, as well as a board member for Saskatoon Cycles, welcomes everyone to come out and ride.
“Everyone is welcome to participate. We especially encourage those to attend who many never have tried winter biking before and want to test it out. The group ride is a great chance to get the feel for riding in snowy, icy conditions while staying safe in a group setting. Winter biking in general is a great way to experience your city in a new way, enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise,” Taylor said in an email to the Sheaf. The event is also free of charge for everyone, thanks to event sponsor EcoFriendly Sask.
Taylor encourages students to attend the event and find out how this option can improve their daily commute in several ways.
“For students who are tired of paying for parking or riding the crowded bus to school, cycling is a great alternative. It is also a chance for those who have already discovered the joys of cycling to meet new people and join in on this community of winter cyclists.”