By Steve Hubrecht
Those involved in the healthcare industry in the Columbia Valley are trying to wheel (or run or ebike) their industry toward a greener future.
Staff at the Invermere and District Hospital, the Invermere Medical Clinic and Chisel Peak Medical Clinic have set up teams for a friendly competition during B.C.’s upcoming GoByBike Week. They are inviting other local businesses, schools, organizations, groups or individuals to join in.
GoByBike Week runs from Monday, May 29 to Friday June 2.
The provincial initiative began years ago, and is meant to encourage people to bike or use other forms of non motorized transportation or active transportation to get to and from work, school, around town and for any other trips that might normally be done by conventional vehicle.
Anybody wishing to participate can login to the website, create an account, and then create a team (or join an existing team as an additional rider). You log your kilometres and this is converted into carbon emissions saved.
The idea to have a community-wide friendly contest came from the Invermere District Hospital Environmental Sustainability Committee, which strives to make Interior Health’s operation in the Columbia Valley more environmentally friendly.
“The name says biking, but really we want to see people try out all kinds of carbon-free, human-powered transportation that they might not otherwise try,” committee member Nadine Hale told the Pioneer.
Hale said that “it’s all wins” when it comes to cycling and active transportation. These modes of transport are great for physical fitness and health, mental well being, creating more connection with community, fostering a sense of place, saving money, and helping the planet by reducing carbon emissions.
“We are trying to engage in more climate change awareness, and this is a great way to do that,” said doctor and sustainability committee member Jane Fleet. “We want as many people as possible using non motorized transportation that week. We’d love to see other groups join in.”
The formation of clinic and hospital-based teams has created a friendly rivalry, explained Fleet, which hopefully gets people to pedal, ebike or walk even farther.
Both medical clinics have team names (the Chiseled Peakers and the Invermere Mighty Clinic) and have made a trophy.
“It’s all about looking at how we can modify things to make them better,” said Fleet, adding not all doctors are biking all the way from their homes to the clinics each day. Some, for instance, will drive part way (to make things a bit more feasible) and then bike from there.
Fleet herself will ebike from her Toby Benches home.
Hopefully the week kick starts some long lasting habits, she added. “We are trying to encourage people to make this change on a more permanent basis . . . sometimes climate change can seem like an overwhelming issue, but small changes do add up.”
Lakeside Cycle is offering free safety checks, ebike trials and discounted ebike rentals for the week.
To sign up or find out more, visit: gobybikebc.ca.
You can create your own team or join the Invermere District Hospital team by searching for the team name once you are logged in.